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Penafrancia Festival

             The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday of September in Naga City, Bicol. The feast day is preceded by a novena, nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin. On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route. The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from devotees in boats escorting the image. When the barge reaches its destination, the devotees shout "Viva la Virgen" (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is brought back in a procession to the cathedral. .
             According to locals, a Spanish government official from Peñafrancia, Spain, settled with his family in Cavite in 1712. One day, his daughter fell ill and the family prayed for her recovery to the famous Madonna of Peñafrancia, a picture of whom was in their possession. When the daughter recovered, the father vowed to build a chapel in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Manila. However, since he was being detained in Nueva Caceras, he built the chapel in that city, now known as Naga, instead. .
             The famous Madonna is believed to have miraculous powers. On her feast day, pilgrims gather at her shrine to pay her homage for favors received.
             HOW IT BEGAN .
             The Bicol Region, composed of six provinces in southern Luzon, namely: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Masbate in recent times have almost been identified, if not synonymous with the Lady of Peñafrancia, the almost 291 years -old Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is enshrined in her sanctuary in Basilica Avenue, Naga City. .
             The popular and intense devotion to this image is said to have started with a seminarian from the University of Sto .Tomas, named Miguel Robles de Covarrubias who, when he was invited by the 17th century Bishop of Nueva Caceres in Naga City, experienced and received many blessings and miracles from the Lady of Peñafrancia.

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