Tens of thousands of pilgrims, devotees, tourists come to Naga City, Bicol province, Philippines every September for a nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Patroness of Bicol, endearingly addressed by Bicolanos as “Ina” (Filipino for ‘mother’).
The festivities begin with the famous Traslacion procession during which the images of the Lady of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro (Holy Face) are brought by barefooted male voyadores from the Basilica through the main streets of the city to the Cathedral. This procession, which usually lasts for four hours attracts thousands of devotees from all over the country. A colorful fluvial procession is also one of the highlights, with thousands gathering by the river banks to witness the river crossing.
The devotion started 300 years ago, in 1710, when Fr. Miguel Robles de Covarrubias had an image carved, a chapel built and processions held in honor of the miraculous image of the Virgin of Peñafrancia due to the many favors he received through the help of the Virgin. Since then the devotion has grew and has even reached abroad. Devotees’ accounts of healing and favors received through her intercession helped spread the devotion. 2010 marks the festival’s 300th year.
Long live Philippine Festivals!