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Barefoot hordes arrive for Philippines' top Catholic feast

Published on Jan 9, 2014 6:43 AM

GUTIERREZ MANILA (AFP) - Barefoot devotees poured into the Philippine capital Manila early on Thursday for one of the world's biggest Catholic parades honouring an ebony statue of Jesus Christ they believe has miraculous powers.

Schools declared a holiday and police went on full alert as thousands of male and female pilgrims battled for position at dawn to get near the Black Nazarene statue hours before the parade starts.

"This is my way of saying 'Thank You' to the Lord and asking Him for safe delivery of my second child," heavily pregnant housewife Kaye Morales, 32, told AFP.

"My eldest, a 13-year-old boy, met an accident last month and we believe it was the Nazarene's help that he recovered quickly," she said.

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