Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica and the Peñafrancia Festival

Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica

The original home of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia was made of local materials in 1710 after Fr. Miguel Robles de Covarrubias brought the devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia to Bicol. The construction of the present structure was completed in 1750. Its bell, donated by a wealthy Chinese trader Don Simon Tuangqui during its reconstruction in 1864, still tolls on its belfry today.

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Our Lady of Peñafrancia Festival

Bicolano faith and piety take center stage every September during the grand celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival, dubbed as the biggest Marian celebration in Asia. Hundreds of thousands of devotees, guests, and tourists flock to Naga to witness a sea of humanity overflowing the city’s main streets for the annual procession.

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday & Sunday of September in Naga City, Bicol Philippines.

All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from both Bicol and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region.

Bicolanos from all walks of life will be in Naga City to meet their relatives and partidarios, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. They will shout “Viva la Virgen” to the high heavens.

The feast day is preceded by a novena, or nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin.

On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route.

The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from followers in boats escorting the image. When the flatboat reaches its destination, the devotees shout “Viva la Virgen” (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is carried back in a procession to the cathedral.

Millions of Bicolanos will once again show to the whole Christian world their strong faith and loyalty to their Heavenly Mother. amongst triumphant sounding shouts of Viva la Virgen, Bicolanos and pilgrims, with lighted candles in their hands, will kneel on the ground and bow their heads in prayer as the colorful fluvial procession carrying the Virgin plows through the Bicol River in downtown Naga.

Peñafrancia Festival

Bicolano faith and piety take center stage every September during the grand celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival, dubbed as the biggest Marian celebration in Asia. Hundreds of thousands of devotees, guests, and tourists flock to Naga to witness a sea of humanity overflowing the city’s main streets for the annual procession.

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday & Sunday of September in Naga City, Bicol Philippines. All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from both Bicol and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region. Bicolanos from all walks of life will be in Naga City to meet their relatives and partidarios, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. They will shout “Viva la Virgen” to the high heavens. The feast day is preceded by a novena, or nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin. On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route.

The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from followers in boats escorting the image. When the flatboat reaches its destination, the devotees shout “Viva la Virgen” (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is carried back in a procession to the cathedral. Millions of Bicolanos will once again show to the whole Christian world their strong faith and loyalty to their Heavenly Mother. amongst triumphant sounding shouts of Viva la Virgen, Bicolanos and pilgrims, with lighted candles in their hands, will kneel on the ground and bow their heads in prayer as the colorful fluvial procession carrying the Virgin plows through the Bicol River in downtown Naga.

Barely an hour by plane from the nation’s capital Manila, Naga can be reached by a variety of transportation modes from airplanes, buses, and the newly-refurbished trains of the Philippine National Railways. Local tour operators can also arrange special chartered trips from their place of origin to Naga.

For information on these and other transportation options, please send an email to[email protected]

BY AIR | The City of Naga is also accessible by air through the Naga City Airport (WPN) in Pili town. Six (6) flights arrive daily, operated by Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific. From the airport, one can hail a taxi to Naga City. Guests who reserve rooms at hotels in Naga can avail of free airport transfers. Flight time from Manila to Naga City is only 50 minutes from NAIA Terminal 3. For available flights and airfare rates, please refer to this link below.

https://www.cebupacificair.com/

BY BUS | Naga City can be reached by buses from Manila.  Bus terminals have booking offices at Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City and EDSA in Pasay City.  Travel time is between 8 to 9 hours from the country’s capital, including stopovers during which the buses refuel and allow passengers to take their meals in terminals along the way.  Buses from Isarog Lines, RSL, Raymond, Peñafrancia Tours, Amihan Bus and Philtranco operate daily going to Naga with departures starting as early as 4:30am and last trips at 10 in the evening.

Peñafrancia Basilica Minore

Construction on the home of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia Basilica dearly called by her devotees as “Ina” (Mother) started in 1981 and was completed in 1985. The original image sculpted in 1710 was commissioned by Fr. Miguel de Covarrubias who, after moving to the Philippines from Spain and surviving an illness after praying to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, devoted himself to the Virgin Mary. Millions of devotees around the world visit this church every September to celebrate their faith and devotion to the blessed Virgin.

According to locals in what is now Naga City, a Spanish colonial official from Peñafrancia, Spain (a native of San Martín de Castañeda) settled with his family in Cavite in 1712. One day, Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, a son of the official and a seminarian studying at the Universidad de Santo Tomás in Manila, fell seriously ill. He and his family prayed to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, whose picture Miguel clutched to his breast as he hoped for recovery. Miguel vowed that if cured, he would out of gratitude construct a chapel on the banks of the Pasig River in Manila.

Miguel was miraculously cured, and ordained a priest not in Manila but in Ciudad de Nueva Cáceres (now Naga City) by Bishop Andrés González. To fulfill his vow, Miguel (who was the first diocesan priest ordained in Naga), did two things. First, he mobilised natives along the slopes of Mount Isarog to build a chapel from the local nipa and bamboo, at a site by the banks of the Bikol River and not the Pasig as he earlier desired. Second, he ordered a local artisan to carve an image patterned after the picture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia that he always carried with him.

Stories of miracles surrounding the image began circulating immediately, beginning with the account of a resurrected dog. The animal was killed for its blood, which was to be used in painting the newly carved image of Our Lady, and the carcass was dumped into the Bikol river. The dog suddenly came back to life and began swimming; hundreds allegedly witnessed the event. News of many other miracles spread quickly, as did public devotion to the image. A letter sent by Miguel to the Dominicans in Salamanca, Spain in 1712 reported numerous miracles through the intercession of Our Lady. The number of devotees eventually increased beyond the Diocese of Nueva Cáceres, which comprised the Bicolandia and Marinduque, and in modern times the devotion has reached other parts of the world along with the Filipino diaspora.

The image is known to devotees by the title Ina, a local term for “Mother”.

Churches in city of Naga

The top four churches usually visited by Pilgrims are Basilica Minore, Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine, Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and San Francisco Parish Church. There are other churches that you could visit while in Naga, they are all equally important in the Archdiocese of Caceres.

Starting from the South of Naga:

A. Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus – Concepcion Grande
B. Carmelite Church – Carmelite Monastery Concepcion Pequena
C. Immaculate Conception Parish Church – Concepcion Pequena
D. Holy Cross Parish Church – Tabuco
E. Our Lady of Fatima Church – The only Chinese Catholic Church in Naga City located in Brgy. Tabuco, walking distance from Holy Cross Parish
F. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel – University of Nueva Caceres Campus (might be closed for the Holy Week), J. Hernandez Avenue, Naga City
G. San Francisco Parish Church – Brgy. San Franciso
H. Naga Metropolitan Cathedral
I. Christ The King Church – Ateneo de Naga University Campus, Bagumbayan
J. Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine – Penafrancia Avenue
K. Penafrancia Basilica Minore – Balatas Road
L. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Brgy. Carolina

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