September is a festive month for the people of Naga as they celebrate the yearly Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. The biggest Marian event in the country, this festival is definitely one of those you need to see and experience for yourselves.
The festival honors Bicol's patroness, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, whose image (a copy of the Madonna) was believed to have miraculous powers and has healed devotees. During her feast day, people gather in the province to to thank and pay her homage for the favors received.
A lot of things happen during this month-long festival, with the most important ones held on the third week of September: the 9-day novena, the traslacion, and the fluvial parade which happens a week later.
The celebration of the feast day starts with the traslacion which takes the image of Ina (Our Lady of Penafrancia) from her shrine in Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to the Naga Cathedral where the novena will be held. From the procession to the days of prayer, thousands and thousands of devotees would flock to Naga to pay their respect, pray, and show their gratitude to the Virgin.
After 9-days of prayer, there will be a Fluvial Procession that would take Ina from the Cathedral to the Basilica via the Naga River. Just like the traslacion, this is attended by devotees shouting the words "Viva La Virgen" and "Viva El Divino Rostro" as a sign of their respect to their patrons.
Aside from the processions and the novena, there are also a number of things going on during the month. There's the coronation of Miss Bicolandia, art exhibitions, street dances, marathons, and concerts, so you would always have an event to check out no matter what date you visit.
You may check out the schedule for the coming days in Naga City Governement's official Facebook page.
Getting there: The best way to get to Naga is through an 8-10 hour bus ride from Cubao aboard a Bicol Isarog bus. You may check the ticket prices and bus schedules here.
Tip: As the festival approaches, getting bus tickets and reserving a hotel room may get a bit tricky as a lot of tourists go to Naga during these days. It's best to do these ahead of time so you're sure to have your schedule followed and your plans fulfilled.