By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Sixty-four-year-old Anthony Francisco has been joining the annual Traslacion since he was young.
But what made this year’s procession very special is the fact that this was the first time his wife, Nenita Francisco, 65, joined him in walking alongside the blessed image of the Black Nazarene.
The two came all the way from Antipolo, Rizal just to pay respects to the dark wooden image of Jesus Christ kneeling underneath a cross.
Both donned maroon and yellow clothes while Nenita carried a small replica of the Black Nazarene.
Since this is her first time, Nenita wore slippers during the procession while Anthony went barefoot.
Although exhausting, Anthony said the journey was worth it.
“Para akong naglalakad lang, nawawala ‘yung sakit ko sa katawan (It feels like I’m just walking, my body pain is disappearing),” he said.
Anthony shared that he became a devotee in 1972. At the time, his mother was ill with a kidney infection.
He regularly called out to the Black Nazarene for his mother’s healing, and after a few months, he claimed that his mother miraculously healed.
“Tinulungan Niya ko (He helped me),” he said.
“Binigyan niya ng buhay ang nanay ko, kaya habangbuhay akong magpapasalamat sa Poong Nazareno (He gave my mother life, that’s why I am forever grateful to the Black Nazarene).”
But he said that was only the first of many favors granted to him.
He met Nenita during his five-year stint as a boxer. After his matches, she was the one who tended to his wounds and bruises.
Not too long after, they started dating and became a couple. On December 1974, they got married.
Forty four years later, they have six children and 28 grandchildren, and up to now, all of them are in good health, Anthony said.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa Kanya na ginabayan niya kaming tumanda ng ganito (I’m thankful to Him for guiding us to grow old together like this),” he added.