Sept. 19, 2004 3rd
Naga City, Camarines Sur
considered the biggest Marian celebration and one of this nation's premiere
festivals, this is a month-long, city-wide, fun-filled, multi-cultural,
family-oriented celebration as different events lined-up such as - the civic and
military parades, a sports fest, exhibits, a regatta, cultural shows, a beauty
pageant, and other colorful competitions - it's the biggest celebration and the
greatest community benefit. It combines religion with culture and tradition,
packing it all in a 9-day fiesta of biblical proportions.
devotees and guests stay until sundown for stirring climax: the fluvial parade
as it makes its way down the river, surrounded by a sea of glowing candles - a
fitting end of this truly spiritual occasion.
religious observance starts nine days before the feast day, that is the second
Friday of September. Male devotees carry the statue of one of the most adored
Marian images in the Philippines to the Metropolitan Cathedral.
a nine-day novena is held before the returning of the statue to her shrine down
the Bicol River. Once the statue reaches the river, it is placed carefully
aboard a detailed pagoda and rowed down the river by an all-male crew.
pagoda is escorted by canoes, bamboo rafts and brightly decorated motorboats. As
nightfall approaches, brightly lit candles provide light giving a magnificent
sight of sparkling jewels in a sea of darkness.