The devotees crowded around the carriage – pulled by ropes and pushed from behind – bearing the statue, known as the Black Nazarene, which is believed to have healing powers, as it crawled through the narrow streets.
The faithful reached out towards the icon in the hope that even the slightest touch would bless them, heal their illnesses and those of their relatives.
“My purpose here is to give thanks to the Lord for all the blessings He has given me and my family every day,” Jimray Bacomage, 37, said, adding the Black Nazarene had healed his broken arm.
The Black Nazarene, a life-sized wooden statue of Christ kneeling with a cross on his shoulder, is also paraded through the city on Good Friday to commemorate his crucifixion.
“The Lord solved all the problems that came our way ever since I started attending the Feast of the Black Nazarene 16 years ago,” said Roilo Damiucon, 72.
About 4,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers were on duty for he procession but police said there were no serious incidents.
Up to 15 million are expected to pay their respects, church officials said.