Peñafrancia Festival

posted on Wed, 14 Sep 2005 12:00 AM


All of Region V will flock to Naga City in Bicol to take part in the Peñafrancia Festival, the biggest Marian celebration in the nation. It is also deemed as one of the premier festivals combining religion, culture and tradition in a 9-day lineup of festivities that include civic and military parades, sports fests, trade fairs and exhibitions, regattas, cultural shows, beauty pageants, and other vibrant contests.

The festival is the Bicolanos’ devotion to the miraculous image of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, whom they tenderly refer to as “Ina nin Kabikolan.”

This year’s celebration will be all the more special as the “Gayon Bicol Fiesta III sa Peñafrancia,” a yearly cultural/trade exhibit, will be brought over from Intramuros, Manila where it has been on show for a couple of years now. It features the Ibalong Festival of Legaspi City, Tabak Festival of Tabaco City, Tinagba Festival of Iriga City, Lapay Bantigue Festival of Masbate City, the Catandungan Festival of Catanduanes, Pili Festival of Sorsogon, and the Pineapple Festival of Camarines Norte--all of which will be brought closer to the devotees who traditionally descend on Bicol’s chief commercial city for September’s highlight.

In Naga, the whole month is abuzz with preparations for the multi-hued festival while the religious observance starts nine days (the second Friday of September) before the feast day itself (third Saturday). The first highlight of the festival is the traslacion during which the image of the city’s patroness is transferred to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. The festival reaches its climax during the fluvial parade down the Bicol River, where a raft (pagoda) bearing the Holy Image then brings it to the Basilica. Escorting the pagoda are canoes, other bamboo rafts and decorated motorboats. As the sky turns dark, candles are lit which lend sparkles like that of jewels dotting the blanket of darkness. All the while, resounding shouts of “Viva La Virgen” and “Viva El Divino Rostro” meant for the Holy Images (the second being a framed image of Jesus) are heard.

Only male devotees called voyadores who are on barefoot and who sport colorful headbands are allowed to share the burden of the Image’s carriage. The female devotees instead pray novenas and the rosary. Everyone is unmindful of the unprotected feet and the crush of tourists and pilgrims who wave their hankies to the Holy Images or hold candles and get down to their knees to murmur prayers. The rain is anticipated as it is seen as a blessing.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, Senator Richard Gordon, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Villafuerte, Jr., and Archbishop of Caceres Most Reverend Leonardo Legazpi shall grace the opening ceremonies of the “Gayon Bicol Fiesta III sa Peñafrancia.” During the event, Bicol’s key cities will hold mini-shows exhibiting their respective tourist attractions, cuisine, arts and crafts, plus entertainment.

Getting There
Naga may be easily reached by bus. There are terminals for Naga-bound buses in Cubao and Pasay. Isarog Lines comes recommended because they have La-Z Boy recliner seats for the eight-hour ride.

Schedule
Sept. 17: CAMARINES NORTE DAY
7AM - Regatta sa Peñafrancia, Landing Arch (Danlugan) Area
9AM - Cultural Market & Regional Exhibits
- Bicol Travel & Trade Fair, Plaza Rizal
10AM - Food Festival, Plaza Rizal
- Festival Watch, Plaza Quezon
- Mabini College Bicol Ambassador's Band
- Tanghalang Mabini
- Bantayog Festival
- Pineapple Festival
1PM - FLUVIAL PROCESSION along Bicol River
5PM - Kids & Teens Fashion Show, LCC Parking Area
6PM - Cultural Presentation, Plaza Quezon
- Tanghalang Mabini
- The Mabini College Performing Arts & Cultural Group
- Bicol Ambassador's Band
- The Camarines Norte Chorale Society and Folklore Dance Troupe
- LCC Nightly Show, LCC Parking Area
7PM - Karangahan Philippines Dance Co., Plaza Quezon
- Rave Party@Spice Island, Grand Imperial Plaza
8PM - Handog ng Bombo Radyo at Star FM sa Peñafrancia 2005, Plaza Quezon
- Side A Concert, Metro Naga Coliseum
- Fiestamazing Concert Tour featuring Bamboo and Tanikala, UNC Gymnasium

Sept. 18: SORSOGON PROVINCE/CITY DAY
9AM - Cultural Market & Regional Exhibits Bicol Travel and Trade Fair, Plaza Rizal
- Pinukpok Weaving II
- Nito Craft (c/o Gubat)
- Pili Cooking
- Timitim Food Demo
- Tahong Chips/SeaWeeds (c/o Kolping Society)
10AM - Food Festival, Plaza Rizal
- Launching of Pasyalan 2006 Tiriladan sa Dalan, Plaza Quezon
2PM - HOLY MASS, LCC Central Mall
- LCC Bonga Bulilit Idol Final Day & Awarding, LCC Activity Center
4PM - Festival Watch, Plaza Quezon
- Pantomina sa Tinampo
- Pili Festival
- Pastores
6PM - Cultural Presentation, Plaza Quezon
- CBTG Bukawel
- Sorsogon City Chorale
- Kundiman
- LCC Nightly Show, LCC Parking Area
7PM - “INTENSITY G” Karangahan Philippines Dance Co., Plaza Quezon
9PM – local ban, Plaza Quezon

For complete schedules, you may log on to naga.gov.ph.
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