IN JUST the first 15 hours of the “Pagpupugay,” over 6,000 devotees have lined up at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the opportunity to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene.

Data from the Quiapo Church Command Post showed that over 6,000 devotees have queued at the Quirino Grandstand, where the iconic image is stationed, since the Pagpupugay started at 1 a.m. of Saturday, January 7.

“The crowd estimate at Luneta (Quirino Grandstand) is 6,245, as of 4 p.m.,” said Quiapo Church.

The Pagpupugay was introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, wherein the devotees are only allowed to wave and venerate the Black Nazarene from afar.

This replaced the traditional “Pahalik,” wherein devotees are allowed to touch, wipe with cloth and kiss the iconic image.

For this year’s celebration, the devotees are already allowed to get near the image, touch it, wipe it with cloth, but not to kiss it.

“Pagpupugay” started around 1 a.m. Saturday after the midnight Mass held at the Quirino Grandstand and will continue until Monday, January 9.

But aside from the over 6,000 devotees at the Quirino Grandstand, the Quiapo Church also welcomed nearly 25,000 faithful.

“The crowd estimate at the Quiapo Church is 24,863, as of 5 p.m.,” said Quiapo Church Command Post.

Several Masses are also being held at the Quiapo Church since 5 a.m. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)