Pia and I had a wonderful experience at the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Penafrancia. We just walked from the Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf Naga Chapter Convent to the Basilica (but when we were near there, Daddy Boyet gave us a ride). Upon arrival, we visited and venerated Our Lady (take note, venerated, not adored or worshipped), then we went down to offer some masses, bought some candles (actually, Pia bought everything...I was supposed to pay her, but after an incredible experience, she just gave the candles as gifts), then looked for the place we were to light them. We started to look around (FYI, there was a wedding (the church is very beautiful) so I wasn't able to take pictures inside). Finally we were able to find the place, but we didn't have any matches (both of us don't smoke) or a lighter. We went to the souvenir shop and was able to do so. We tried lighting the candles, but to no avail (it was verrrrrrrry windy). Then a man came out of nowhere, assisted us, then disappeared after his mission was accomplished...was he an angel? Only God knows. =)
What can you do there?
Pray, get married, be baptized, have yourself confirmed, buy souvenir items, plan a pictorial, attend catechism class, have a picnic (but I guess you have to ask permission first), etcetera, etcetera
There's so much to discover here...the nearby school (Sta. Isabel)...the neighboring seminary...the Archbishop's palace (Good Shepherd)...a park where you can have a picnic...a wide jogging ground....a romantic nook...etcetera, etcetera.
How do I describe this place?
It is a beautiful strip filled with restaurants, other types of dining places, music bars/lounges, a beauty salon and so much more.
It is pleasing to the eyes and the hippest thing in town.
It's not as posh as the strips in Manila and other places, but it's a fun place to go to in Naga City.
"The Other Website"
The most celebrated event in Naga City is the 9-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia, the patroness in Bicol. The Penafrancia festival is celebrated every 3rd week of September where thousands of pilgrims and tourists go to Naga City. Our Lady of Penafrancia is a replica of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Salamanca, Spain. The bikolanos call the Virgin Mary as “Ina” (mother) or “mahal na ina” (loving mother).
I heard a lot of miracle stories about “Ina”. They say that when you go and celebrate the festival, whatever you pray and wish will come true and ofcourse you should hold on to that faith.
I was invited many times by my good friend so I can experience the festival in his hometown but only this year of 2012 I became available to join them. At first, I came here just to watch and experience how this was celebrated but when we were in the event, I felt different… I really can’t describe how I felt at that moment when a lot of devotees gather in the streets and shout “Viva la Virgen” as the pagoda of the image of the virgin passes by. There are people crying and shouting their devotion to heavens while they wave their white hankies in the air. It’s totally a different experience when you find yourself in live action.
Who is Our Lady of Peñafrancia? Why is she so lovingly venerated and revered by the Catholic faithful?
My aunt, a resident of Naga and devotee of "Ina" related to me the story of Father Miguel de Cobarrubias, a Spanish missionary originally from San Martin de Castañar in Spain who, with the intention of propagating the devotion and faith to the people, had a religious icon made in the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. When the sculpture was finished using the blood of a dog as preservative and color agent (as was customary that time), Father Cobarrubias saw that the dog’s body was just thrown into a nearby river. Old folks reportedly heard the priest remark that Our Lady would work her first miracle in Nueva Caceres, and instantly, the dog allegedly started swimming until it reached the river banks and ran fast to its owner's house. Like wildfire, news of the miracle spread and in no time, the faithful believed the miracle, making the patroness famous beyond the boundaries of the town.
The miraculous image had been the target of evil robbers. Deemed very precious for its antiquity and high value due to its legendary stories, it was stolen from the Peñafrancia Church on August 15, 1981. After a massive search, the icon was found a little over a year later and returned to its original place. The image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is now enthroned at the Basilica Minore, but is transfered to the different churches of the province for novenas before its feast day in September.
Built in 1985, the Basilica Minore was constructed as the new home of the miraculous image of "Ina", the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia. The Basilica was intended to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims from all over the country, as well as devotees from overseas who come for pilgrimage just to visit, pay homage and venerate the Our Lady during the annual September celebration of her Feast Day.
The Basilica Minore is where "Ina" is brought and enthroned after annual fluvial parades in her honor.
When we visited the Basilica, renovations to the tabernacle were ongoing, in preparation for the 2010 celebration which is very special, being the 300th year of devotion to "Ina".
Incredibly 15 years in the making, being constructed from 1816 to 1831, the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral is the biggest church in Bicol, and was seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres for many years. Under the archdiocese are the six Bicol provinces.
The miraculous image of "Ina" is transfered to the Cathedral for the customary nine-day novena.
Formerly named Colegio de Santa Isabel, this educational insttitution is said to be "the first college for women in the Orient". It is considered one of the top schools in the country being sought not only by Bicolano students, but by residents of other provinces as well..
The brick and tile structure beside the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral is the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary built in 1785 as a vocation house and center of ecclesiastical education in the Bicol region. Though it had undergone renovations, it has retained its distinct colonial style and ambiance. Thus, the National Historical Institute declared it as a National Historical Landmark on January, 29, 1988.
It is said that many national heroes and patriots including Tomas Arejola, Jose Maria Panganiban and Jorge Barlin had walked the corridors of this vocation house.
At the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary is a museum showcasing memorabilia of prominent Bicolano bishops, as well as old scholastics records and books originally owned by first Filipino bishop Jorge Barlin who is a native of Baao, Camarines Sur. Archival and archeological materials such as artifacts and ancient burial jars of early Bicolanos are also on display.
San Francisco Church looks like a modern church in downtown area, but it is rich in history. Only the bell tower of the old church building remains as silent witness to the historic event on September 17, 1898. That day, Filipino rebels led by Felix Plazo and Elias Angeles besieged Governor Vicente Zaidin and the remaining Spaniards in Bicol who were at the church premises for the Peñafrancia fiesta. It is said that though there was a siege, none of the Spanish women and children was harmed by the rebels. As a result of the seige, the Spanish governor signed the papers of capitulation marking the end of Spanish rule in Bicol.
We almost missed the Jubilee Pavilion at the Basilica Minore compound. We were at the grounds taking shots when it suddenly rained hard. We saw the construction workers run to a pavilion so we followed suit. It was a pleasant surprise to see that it wasn't an ordinary pavilion in the middle of the garden; it was the Penafrancia Diamond Jubilee Pavilion. I learned from a marker posted that the construction of the Penafrancia Diamond Jubilee Pavilion was "a collective gift of all Bicolanos of good standing and of the devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia from all over the world".
What makes the Jubilee Pavilion unique is its beautiful dome with stained glass murals depicting significant historical and religious milestones in the devotion of "Ina".
The Archbishop's Residence is just across the street of Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. I didn't go to explore the place anymore because I didn't see anyone, I wasn't sure if it was open to the public, or if you needed to be a member of the Parish, or if you had to know someone from the City to be able to go there.
Aguirangan island is a must place to visit! It’s one of the isolated islands in the country. If you want to experience to be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… well, this island will answer your wish
It’s good to be here at dawn so you can have a sight of the sunrise which I always admire; also, so you and your friends can have the island solo before other tourists come in.
Reminder: Make sure to bring sunblock, snacks, food for lunch, bottled water, etc. since there’s no store situated here (it’s an islandXD).
How to get there:
From Naga, you have to get to Sabang Port. You can ride the air-conditioned van in the public terminal, infront of the mall, SM Naga. First trip starts at 430-5am. As far as I can remember, maximum travel time is 1.5 hours. Fare costs, 120Php. The van will start its trip once passengers are able to fill in all the seats.
Once you arrive in Sabang Port, locals will be waiting for you to offer help with your things, boat rental, etc. Don’t mind them; just get to the shore where you’ll see a number of fishermen’s boats parked. There will always somebody who will offer you a negotiable boat to rent. We were able to bargain the rent of the boat for 1,200php (good for 2-4 passengers) which was initially 1500php. The local fishermen will wait for you in the island so you can take all the time you want to stay there. My friend and I decided to stay until 1030am only since the sun was already scorching hot by that time.
The museum is where religious artifacts collected through the years in commemoration of the yearly Feast of the Our Lady of Penafrancia. The museum is located by the river since it serves also as the garage of the massive boat that carries the Our Lady of Penafrancia for the fluvial parade along the Naga River.
Magsaysay Drive, Naga, 4400, Philippines
Good for: Business
Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City 4400, Philippines
Good for: Business