(Updated. January 5) Students studying in the City of Manila will have a three-day weekend beginning this coming Friday, January 9.
Former president and current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has declared the suspension of classes for the said day in observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Estrada made the declaration through Executive Order #1, a copy of which has been uploaded in his official Facebook page, citing the unanimous recommendation of the city’s Traffic Management Committee, the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau, the Manila Police District, and the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
There will also be a work holiday in all departments, offices, and bureaus under the city government. However, this does not include employees involved in the maintenance of peace and order (e.g. police officials and traffic enforcers), disaster and risk management, issuance of business permits and tax collection, as well as health and sanitation.
The mayor added in his announcement that work suspension in private and national government offices located in Manila is up to the discretion of their respective managements.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the major festivities organized by the Philippine Catholic Church annually. Clad in maroon or purple and often barefoot, millions of Black Nazarene devotees from all over the Philippines flock to Quiapo, Manila for this festival.
People come as early as the evening of January 8 while the procession (known by the Spanish term ‘translacion‘) usually lasts until the wee hours of January 10.
This year’s Black Nazarene Feast poses a critical challenge for both the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and the local government of Manila. Their management of the occasion will serve as an acid test of their preparedness for the coming five-day visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines next week.