For our next sight, we’ll go to the heart of Bicolandia and zoom in on the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine in Naga City. As many Filipinos know, Our Lady of Peñafrancia is the patroness of the whole Bicol Region. Devotion to her started in 1710 when the image of her was constructed and there will be a grand celebration of the 300th year anniversary this coming September 2010. Preparations started three years ago and various activities and events have been held since and will continue until the 20th of September.
The image of the Virgin Mary, also known as the Nuestra Seqora de Peña de Francia and locally called “Ina” (Mother), is not located inside the shrine. It is currently enshrined in the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia several blocks away from the shrine and on the other side the Bicol River. The image used to be housed in the shrine but the growing devotion quickly outgrew the cramped location of the church and this is why the newer Basilica was constructed starting in 1976 (and completed in 1982).
For the tercentenary celebration, the image will be again brought to its original place at the shrine and the week-long celebration in September will start with the Translacion where the image will be brought from the shrine (instead of the Basilica) to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres. On the feast day on September 18 (the third Saturday of the month), the image will be brought on a fluvial procession along the Bicol River back to the Basilica.