& Festivals 2001
magnificent festival celebrated in this country is the Penafrancia Festival
in Naga on the third weekend of September. This festival is held in honor
of Our Lady of Penafrancia, patroness of the Bicol Region, South Luzon.
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. Then,
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. This 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.