Dungaw is the ritual where the Ándas (carriage pulled by devotees) momentarily halts so that the image of the Black Nazarene could “view” and “acknowledge” the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at the balcony of the San Sebastian Church. The tradition was observed again on Monday evening as part of the yearly Traslacion procession in Manila.
According to the CBCP, Dungaw, which roughly means to view someone or something intently from a window, aims to “recreate a touching scene from the Fourth Station of the Cross in which the Virgin meets Our Lord on His way to Calvary.”
The practice also honors the Augustinian Recollect friars who are considered as the faithful custodians of both the images of the Black Nazarene and the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
While much is already known about the revered image of the Black Nazarene, here are some facts to know about the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel according to the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation Inc.:
1. The image has a history that dates back over three hundred years ago.
It is said that an ivory image of Mt. Carmel was given as a gift to Recollect missionaries traveling to the Philippines by the Carmelite nuns in Mexico back in 1618.
2. . San Sebastian Basilica is the home of the first image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
While it may be known that the National Shrine of Mt. Carmel is in New Manila, the first shrine was in Quiapo. The Recollect order instituted the first shrine of Carmelite devotion, and the said image was enthroned in the first San Sebastian Church on May 5, 1621.
3. The same year the image was enthroned, a miraculous recovery was attributed to the Marian image.
Also in 1621, Manila Cathedral Dean Msgr. Juan Velez, who was said to have a fatal illness miraculously recovered and rose from when the image was brought to his home. This miraculous event paved the way for the creation of Cofradia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen (Confraternity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel). Set up by Msgr. Velez himself, the group became instrumental in promoting Carmelite devotion, including the use of the brown scapular.
4. Devotees wear the scapular as a reminder to be like Jesus’ mother.
For some Filipino devotees, the scapular is considered as a talisman. But the use of the scapular was originally intended as a reminder to emulate the Blessed Mother in their daily lives in order to receive the promise of eternal salvation.
5. The image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has survived wars and destruction.
The foundation said that in the course of 399 years, the image was able to survive two wars, and the destruction of the previous four San Sebastian Churches. Currently, the parish of San Sebastian Basilica continues to promote the Carmelite devotion, and is set to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the image in 2018.