A few years ago, I joined Maita’s family in their devotion to the Black Nazarene. I had only seen it on television, photos and in Jim Libiran’s film Tribu. It has always intrigued me and I still remember the very first time I witnessed the carriage pass in front of me. I got up on the fence and waited. You knew when it would come. You could feel and hear the energy of the people as it came closer. First you hear a loud bang, it is a signal that it is near. You see it 500 meters away, it is tiny, turning the corner, thousands of people up on their feet, and most of them carrying a white good morning towelette waving them in the air. Everyone is cheering it. The feeling in the air is palpable. I don’t know what it is. I imagine it to be the same energy when you attend a famous iconic musician and they play their biggest hit and the stadium explodes and you feel that energy, you can almost touch it. I remember being teary-eyed when the carriage passed. Whatever that is, it is both real and surreal. Again, I don’t know what it is.
When Maita was born, she was premature and the short of it is that she was in danger. Her dad, who grew up in Quiapo pledged his devotion to the Black Nazarene promising to be part of the carrying masses all his life, as long as he is physically able, if God spared Maita. It’s been 30 straight years their family has kept this devotion. I joined them 2 years ago so this year was my 3rd. No, I just take pictures and watch. Ofcourse for me, I love Quiapo. It’s always a great side trip. It’s one of my most favourite places in Metro Manila. Apart from Hidalgo and the camera equipment, I love buying fruits and vegetables there and visiting Raon street. So many gems in Quiapo, actually. But that is another blog.
I had given up on photography for a few years. When the DSLR’s took the independent film movement by storm, I would change cameras every 5-6 months. That went on for years. Then the Lumix series of Panasonic arrived and I loved that series. Bought one, then changed every 4-5 months. Eventually I said enough. Stop. I started taking photographs with my iPhone the last 2 years. Until the Sony a7 series came out. One year I waited and looked from afar how the series would develop. So this Christmas, I got my Sony a7r primarily because I wanted to go back to photography.
This is my very first series of photos.