Devotees Urged: Go Green on Black Nazarene Feast


Environmental advocates gathered near Quiapo
Church to intensify their call for a clean and safe celebration of the annual
feast of the Black Nazarene on Wednesday. 

The EcoWaste Coalition adopted the
theme for this year’s feast  and called
on the devotees to espouse ecological devotion through its slogan: “Debotong
Mapagkalinga: Nananalig, Sumasaksi”

(Caring Devotee: Believing, Bearing Witness). 

In a serene action today, EcoWaste
Coalition and the Samahang Pagkakaisa ng
mga Tindera sa Talipapa
(SPTT) held miniature images of the Nuestro Padre
Jesus Nazareno (NPJN) and lit green candles urging devotees to celebrate the
religious festival with the good of the people and the environment in mind. 

After singing the NPJN hymn, the group
recited an environment-themed “Panalangin
ng Bayan
” (prayers of the faithful) touching on some burning problems of
ecology facing the Filipino nation.
The group specifically prayed for the
victims of last month’s typhoons hoping that “ang mga komunidad
at pamilya na nagdurusa sa nangyaring paghagupit ng kalikasan, laluna ng
bagyong Pablo sa Mindanao, ay makabangon sa kanilang pagkakalugmok at
makapagsimulang muli

The group also rendered prayers for
the safety of all devotees who will participate in the upcoming feast so that “ang
nalalapit na pista ay maging ligtas sa anumang kalabisan o sakuna na maaaring
makapinsala sa tao at kapaligiran
,” while consequently wishing that “ang bawat
deboto ay maging huwaran ng mabuting pagkalinga sa sarili, pamilya, pamayanan
at kalikasan

The green activists paraded through C. Palanca Sr., P. Gomez, R.
Hidalgo and Villalobos Streets and Quezon Boulevard requesting the public, especially
the faithful devotees and the enterprising vendors, to observe an ecological fiesta.
To further reiterate their point, a “Basura Monster” clothed in
a wardrobe of plastic trash joined the parade brandishing a mock shield made of
garbage with a text that reads, “Huwag mo akong gayahin” (Do not imitate

In his homily during the Feast of Black Nazarene last year, then
Archbishop and now Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila challenged
the faithful to show their utmost reverence for the Black Nazarene by respecting
the environment.

Patunayan natin na hindi na natin
hihilain si Poong Nazareno at ang kalikasan pababa dahil sa ating kawalang
malasakit. Kakain kayo ng candy, pagkasubo ng candy, huwag ka namang
napakayabang na parang ang buong Luneta ay iyong basurahan, na ang papel tapon
mo lang, ang yabang mo kapatid. Hindi mo basurahan ang buong siyudad ng Manila.
Magpakumbaba, huwag tayong mayabang
,” Cardinal Tagle declared in his homily last year.

Echoing the Cardinal’s plea, the environmentalists reminded the public to “express our
reverence and devotion for the Black Nazarene sans shameless littering.” 

“The religious feast is not an excuse
for litterbugs to have a field day defiling the streets of Manila without fear
of being admonished and punished,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner,
EcoWaste Coalition.

“As followers of the Black Nazarene,
we expect the devotees to fulfil their sacred vows in an environmentally
responsible manner,” she added.

“Littering affects the quality of the environment and can even threaten the
health and safety of the devotees,” she said.

For instance, improperly discarded bamboo skewers have been blamed for foot
injuries among devotees many of whom walked barefoot during the procession,”
Vergara said.

After a historic 22-hour procession
last year, tons of garbage were left by a record eight million devotees,
particularly in Luneta and Quiapo.
To address the expected bulk of fiesta
garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to various sectors to commit
themselves in an eco-friendly and practical waste minimization efforts. 

A. For the devotees: 1) refrain from smoking to avoid
cigarette butt litter; 2) if you smoke, please don’t toss butts on the ground;
3) if you chew gum, do put it in a bin after you’re done with it; 4) do not
spit on walls and other spots; 5) do not urinate on the streets, 6) return used
food and beverage containers, including bamboo skewers, to the vendors; 7) put
your discards into the designated bins; and 9) bring a reusable bag if you are
planning to buy some “pasalubong” from Quiapo.

B. For food and beverage providers: 1) pack meals in
biodegradable packaging such as banana leaves and paper or serve meals, as well
as drinks, in reusable containers; and 2) collect all food leftovers for
“kaning baboy.”

C. For vendors: 1) refrain from using single-use disposable
containers; 2) bring your own “sako” for your discards; and 3) make a final
sweep of your vending area before you leave.