There is no doubt about it, the Peñafrancia festivities is the acknowledged “Queen” of all in the Bicol region.
The religious tableau commences with the Traslacion, the processional transfer of the images of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus and the Divino Rostro from the Basilica Minore in barangay Balatas as it winds through the streets of Naga city and into the Metropolitan Catheral about three o’clock in the afternoon on the second Friday of September.
Mostly characterized with novenas and veneration of the images but more towards the Virgin of Peñafrancia are made during the barely nine days stay at the cathedral otherwise known for its official title of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
The culmination of the religious observation ends with the transfer of the images back to its permanent shrine via a street procession followed by a pious but highly intense fluvial procession about the Naga river.
If the hundreds of thousands of attendees during the processions, mass celebrations, devotees, and the presence of guests and tourists, is a barometer of how Bicolanos revere the Virgin of Peñafrancia, the regional Patroness of the Bicol region, at the Archdiocese of Caceres, then there is no other religious festival that is worthy of mention or comparison.
In the past 2010 Tercentenary or 300th celebration, the religious event reached fever pitch, authorities estimated the aggregate number of people to have witinessed some or all of the events that unfolded to the conservative number of over three million.
We covered some of the events in previous years via live blogging. Check out our past postings for more information.
See you all at the fluvial this afternoon of September 15 and be prepared to get wet just in case it rains. Many times in the past, rain pours generously and adds volume on the waters of the shallow Naga river. Perhaps, another simple “miracle” of the Virgin.
Viva la Virgen de Peñafrancia! Viva Il Divino Rostro!
[Note: A traslacion scene as photographed by Tony Ablayaan.]