River procession during the Penafrancia Festival
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!
Magsingal Church Belfry
The Magsingal Church (San Guillermo Church) in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur province, northern Luzon, is among the region’s treasured Baroque Catholic churches. Magsingal Church became a parish 1676. The church itself is dedicated to St. William the Hermit. It is famous for its wooden altar, a very intricately-carved gold and green retablo, which is still in use. The facade of the church is wonderfully preserved but the belfry is the church’s main attraction.
Beside the church is a rectory (also built in 1676) which was converted as a branch of the National Museum. The rectory’s strong foundation of bricks, lime and stone withstood disastrous calamities like fire, typhoons and earthquakes. The rectory was also used as a school building during the early American regime. During the Japanese occupation, the museum served as an interment for the residents of Magsingal who were punished for the murder of a Japanese captain. (Source: Various Internet postings)
Long live Baroque Philippine churches!
Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City Wikipedia photo
The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan
The Dinagyang is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis, the original settlers in the island. The festival began after Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Galindez of a local Roman Catholic parish introduced the devotion to Santo Niño in November 1967. In 1968, a replica of the original image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was brought to Iloilo by Fr. Sulpicio Enderez as a gift to the Parish of San Jose. The faithful, led by members of Confradia del Santo Niño de Cebu, Iloilo Chapter, worked to give the image a fitting reception starting at the Iloilo Airport and parading down the streets of Iloilo.
The Confradia patterned the celebration on the Ati-atihan of Ibajay, Aklan, where natives dance in the streets, their bodies covered with soot and ashes, to simulate the Atis dancing to celebrate the sale of Panay. It was these tribal groups who were the prototype of the present festival. (From: Wikipedia)
Long live Pinoy festivals!
San Agustin Church is known as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the Philippines. One of the few churches that survived fires, earthquakes and the World War 2 in Manila, the San Agustin is a landmark in Intramuros, the city’s old Spanish district.
This 17th century Spanish Baroque church has survived a British invasion in 1762, an American attack in 1898 and the Japanese and American liberation war in 1945. The very first San Agustin Church was the first religious structure constructed by the Spaniards on the island of Luzon. Made of bamboo and nipa, the church was completed in 1571, but destroyed by fire in December. Succeeding incidents of fire and earthquakes prompted the Augustinians decided to rebuild the church using stone, andconstruction began in 1586.
The facade is unassuming but it has notable baroque touches, particularly the ornate carvings on its wooden doors. The church courtyard is decorated by several granite sculptures of lions, which had been gifted by Chinese converts to Catholicism. The Cathedral is popular for weddings and the lovely churchyard is often used for wedding receptions.
Much of the church has been restored and a wing now serves as a museum of church artefacts, relics, and religious paintings from all over the Philippines. In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period which were designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Mabuhay ang San Agustin Church!
The Manila Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Manila, is one of the city’s iconic Catholic basilicas. The current building is the sixth in the basilica’s 400-year history after having been destroyed by natural disasters, fires , earthquakes and war bomdardment.
The current structure standing was completed in 1958 after American forces carpet-bombed Manila particularly Intramuros, the Sapnish walled city where the Manila Cathedral is located. The first cathedral built by Spanish priests in 1582 was made of nipa and bamboo. It was damaged by a typhoon in 1582 and razed by fire in 1583. Subsequent buildings were made of stone but natural disasters such as the earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and more recently the bombing of Manila in 1945 reduced the magnificient old cathedral to rubble.
An favorite wedding venue of Manila celebrities and the elite, the Manila Cathedral is also the resting place of the Manila’s archibishops including Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. The Cathedral was also the venue for the wake and requiem mass for former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, who died on August 1, 2009. Aquino’s funeral broke protocol when Aquino’s remains was allowed to lie in state at the Cathedral, making her the first woman to be interred in the basilica.
Mabuhay ang Manila Cathedral!