One festival that I am most fascinated of is the Feast of our Lady of Peñafrancia or fondly known as Ina by the locals. This image is one of the most popular images of Mary. Her festivity is celebrated every month of September at
Like the Black Nazarene (Nazareno) of Quiapo, thousands or even millions of devotees all over the country gather to celebrate the festivity. I was lucky enough to be able to cover Her 300 years of devotion. Highlights include the image’s translacion, novenas, and fluvial procession.
Do not forget to visit the churches of Ina. The Peñafrancia Church (the original home of Ina), The Basilica Minore (currently the home of Ina) and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Just in front of the cathedral is the Porta Mariae-a structure constructed in commemoration of the tercentenary of the devotion to Ina. The second floor of the Porta Mariae has a small museum. You may also want to visit the Peñafrancia Musem (not in the picture) just near the Peñafrancia Church.
Travel and Coverage Tips:
- You can get to Naga via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Or you may opt to engage yourself in a long trip via major bus lines. My preference will always be Cagsawa Bus Tours with terminals at Cubao (beside Ali Mall), Ermita (near Robinsons Manila), and Alabang. Bus fare, P750-P800.
- Book your accommodation, flights, and bus tickets early. Our Lady of Peñafrancia has millions of devotees. Even bus lines are fully booked during this festival.
- The parish only releases limited no. of IDs for non-media people. You can check the availability and procedures by contcating the person-in-charge.
- For journalists and photographers, always find and sturdy spot to take pictures esp. during the translacion and fluvial procession. The crowd tend to be balistic during these activities.
- For more information, you can visit the basilica site by clicking this link, http://penafrancia.net/