By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo prayed for guidance for all Filipinos in her personal petition to the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of Bicol whose feast began on Friday.
Keeping her devotion to Inang (mother) Peñafrancia, Robredo came home to Naga City to celebrate with her fellow devotees and pilgrims the religious feast this week.
“Ang ating dasal, patuloy na mamayani ang diwa ng ating pagkakapit-bisig sa gitna ng maraming pagsubok na hinaharap natin,” she said in her official Facebook page.
(Our prayer is the spirit of our unity will continuously prevail in the midst of the many challenges we are facing.)
“Nawa’y parati nating alalahanin, lalo na sa pinakamahirap na sandali, na mas pinagtibay tayo ng mga bagay na nagbubuklod sa atin. Patuloy na sana tayong gabayan ng ating mahal na ina,” she added.
(May we always remember, especially in the most difficult times, we are more strengthened by the things that unite us. We hope our beloved mother will continue to guide us.)
The annual Peñafrancia festivities started with the procession, called translacion, the transfer of the image of the Virgin Mary from the Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral with Robredo among the crowd.
Barefoot, all-male devotees carried the image of Ina on their shoulders from the shrine to the cathedral, with devotees trying to touch her garb in the belief that their petitions to God through her intercession will be answered.
Phone and internet signals were cut from 12 noon to 6 p.m. as part of security measures for the festival which drew about two million devotees and tourists to Bicol’s pilgrim city of Naga.
Robredo appreciated the devotion of fellow Filipinos who had been going every year to her hometown to take part in the religious event.
“Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, parati akong namamangha sa lakas na dala ng pananampalataya, at kung paano tayo pinagkakaisa nito,” the Vice President said.
(In such a situation, I’m always amazed with the power the faith can bring, and how it can unite us.)
The image will be again brought to its permanent home at the Basilica Minore on September 21 in a fluvial procession on the Naga River. It will be the culmination of a nine-day prayer for the most revered religious icon in all of Bicol.