Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Black Nazarene fiesta and Filipinos' fascination with crowding

Ain't it quaint how 1.7 million people would troop to Manila for a chance to catch a glimpse and possibly -- hoping against hope -- touch the "revered" Black Nazarene figurine. I don't get it. How is this crowding around a relic different, say, from the 30,000 Filipinos who trooped to the ULTRA stadium to see an episode of Wowowee live and, later, stampeded all over one another and literally trampled the shit out of 78 such hopefuls?

What is it about Filipinos and clambering all over one another in large numbers? Our most famous seminal events almost always involve crowding. The much-touted 1986 Edsa "revolution" was a crowding exercise as much as its astoundingly embarrassing sequel, the 2000 Edsa "Dos" "revolution" that bumped up to power the much-loved President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Similarly, the most infamous disasters in Filipino history involved crowding too. The worst peacetime maritime disaster in history happened when over-crowded Sulpicio inter-island ships sank and dragged down with them thousands of Filipino souls.

Indeed, one of the biggest issues that defines the Philippines today is -- in general -- literal macro-level overcrowding. An overcrowding of a land rapidly wasting away right under Filipinos' feet is the single biggest risk to the health and economic security of future Filipinos -- maybe even the region, considering that the Philippines is becoming one big humanitarian disaster just waiting to happen.

The Black Nazarene fiesta and its crowd of 1.7 million people epitomise this infestation of small spaces by immense numbers of Filipinos. That it is one of our most cherished traditions says a lot about the character of our people. At least Wowowee promised something to those who died chasing their hopes. The Black Nazarene represents a belief system that promises nothing in life and everything in death.

3 comments:

  1. Yes, and one wonders if the number "cured" in Quiapo exceed the number who will certainly be crushed, and perhaps killed, during the procession.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kind of like how betting on the Lotto is the preferred investment strategy of Da Pinoy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just in:

    Black Nazarene procession leaves tons of trash

    The group estimated that the scattered discards could easily fill up 200 to 250 garbage bags. Calls made by ecology groups, the Church and the local government since Monday, appealing for devotees to pick up their own trash, were apparently left unheeded. "Let's get real. Our prayerful devotion to the Black Nazarene should be complemented with the highest respect for God’s creation and not by dropping litter anywhere," said EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez.

    Pinoy nga naman talaga...

    ReplyDelete

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