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Naga city, September 9, 2011. This afternoon, the official religious festivities on the closing celebration of the tercentenary of Peñafrancia in the region kicks off at Peñafrancia Shrine.
Earlier in the morning, the revered images of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro was transferred from the Basilica Minore of Peñafrancia in barangay Balatas, quite a short distance from the shrine via a procession.
It should be remembered that the images used to be housed at the Peñafrancia shrine, in the avenue of the same name, up until the construction and dedication of the new Basilica Minore years ago. The basilica is situated on the opposite bank of the Naga river, facing the shrine.
2:37 P.M.: Mass is being celebrated at the Shrine’s Plaza Miguel de Covarrubias, being attended by thousands of devotees. Pelting rain has started early in the afternoon, prompting people to open up their umbrellas. Many times in the past during this occasion, rain has been observed to fall . Observers likened the rain to be a blessing, the afternoon heat cools down.
3:05 P.M.: Mass is now over. As per the announced schedule, procession shall commence at exactly 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
3:14 P.M.: The image of Divino Rostro is being mounted on the “andas,” a special carriage for the purpose.
3:24 P.M: The procession led by the Divino Rostro is now in the vicinity of the Camarines Sur Polytechnic College Foundation. We note here that the traslacion went back to its original route, from the Peñafrancia Shrine to the Cathedral during the September 11, 2009 procession. The order of procession was organized in ways to give more time to students and religious organizations to actively participate. Today is the beginning of the 301st year of the Bicolano’s devotion to the Virgin.
Despite the rain, devotees still mill about the side streets waiting for the procession to pass. The Divino Rostro is now by the Naga College Foundation area.
3:34 P. M.: Viva La Virgen!! Viva La Virgen!! The resonating sound being heard around the area where the Divino Rostro was passing. Even the devout voyadores join the chant. This procession will pass seven distinct stations, representing the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary.
3:35 P.M.: The image of the Virgin is being ushered out of the Plaza aboard the special carriage. A sea of umbrellas and heads and people is a moving sight to behold! Voyadores now wear color coded t-shirts to identify the group they belong. Those in the Cofradia de San Jose wear yellow, Sta. Ana, wears pink; La Porteria, blue; St. Anthony, red; St. Raphael, brown; and the military wears black.
3:49 P.M.: The procession is flowing smoothly, in a faster pace.
3:53 P.M.: The image of the Virgin is now at the vicinity of the old Bicol College of Arts and Trades. The image is almost unmoving, sometimes going back then forward. Voyadores are pushing back and forth.
4:00 P.M.: We have witnessed many traslacions, and every time, we are always amazed at the great devotion of Bicolanos to the Virgin.
4:08 P.M.: The Divno Rostro is now at the vicinity of the infamous Colgante bridge. We will post a short note about Colgante in the coming days.
4:16 P.M.: The image of the Virgin is nearing the gate of the Camarines Sur National high school. Voyadores and many devotees have joined the procession on foot. We sighted the Philippine secretary of department of interior and local government, Jesse Robredo, soaking wet and on foot, joined the voyadores and attempting to come near the Virgin’s andas!
Devotees are throwing kerchiefs to voyadores which are rubbed on the carriage and thrown back. Just to clarify, kerchiefs are rubbed on the “foot” of the image. The kerchiefs are kept by devotees in the belief that it carries the healing power for ailments and afflictions bestowed by the image.
4:48 P.M.: The image of Divino Rostro has arrived near the archway, Porta Mariae. The image was received by Msngr. Sañado, in front of the altar. Once the image arrives, a mass will be officiated by the Archbishop of Caceres.
4:56 P.M.: The image of the virgin is now at the side of the San Francisco church.
4:58 P.M.: Few minutes from now, the image will reach its final destination, the Metropolitan Cathedral grounds.
5:09 P.M.: More than two hours now, the procession is almost near, the image is fronting the Plaza Quince Martires.
5:21 P.M.: The concelebrated mass will start at approximately 5:30 P.M. The main celebrant is Arhbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., D.D., S.T.D. It would seem that majority of the priests of the archdiocese has gathered on this occasion.
5:30 P.M.: The image of the Virgin stopped infront of the Porta, then removed from the carriage by priests and carried inside, towards the dome with an altar. Later was placed at the right side of the quadri-centennial arch.
5:39 P.M. All set to start the mass as the rain has stopped a few minutes and before the arrival of the image.