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Amazing Travel in the Philippines -Better Be Here in Naga City, Bicol every September for Peñafrancia Fiesta

TRASLACION 2010 (Photo courtesy of Mariner's Polytechnic Colleges Alumni Association)

TRASLACION 2010 (Photo courtesy of Mariner's Polytechnic Colleges Alumni Association)


Most of my former classmates and batchmates in high school 1988 here in Naga City requested me to show them photos of the religious activitues of Peñafrancia fiesta starting with Traslacion on the second Friday of September which falls on the 10th day, also coinciding with the Eid al (Eid'l) Fitr of Muslim brothers and Ganesh Festival in India, this year 2010. One even requested me to tag him in Facebook to keep abreast with the activities. This is the most important date among Bicolanos because of the tricentennial, 300 years anniversary of commemorating "Ina" or Mother Mary of Jesus Christ via Virgen de Peñafrancia.

All roads lead to Naga City, the so-called "heart of Bicol", not only due to its shape but for the series of activities that will occupy the whole month of September.

So, let's synchronize our watches, fellow hubbers and off we go to my beloved place.

Commemorative Photo of INA-Virgin of Peafrancia (Photo by Travel Man)

Commemorative Photo of INA-Virgin of Peafrancia (Photo by Travel Man)

The Peñafrancia Shrine

Basilica Minore @ Balatas, Naga City

Basilica Minore @ Balatas, Naga City

Our Lady of Peafrancia Museum, corner Magsaysay Bridge & San Felipe, Naga City

Our Lady of Peafrancia Museum, corner Magsaysay Bridge & San Felipe, Naga City

Peafrancia Shrine, Naga City

Peafrancia Shrine, Naga City

Travel Man's sweaty but satisfying journey during Traslacion

I decided to witness the 300th years of INA commemoration, usually held with a religious mass at the Naga City Cathedral.

The icon of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia is housed at the Basilica Minore in Balatas, Naga City and will be carried by the voyadores (all Bicolano men with fervent belief) who will help carry the icon situated at the makeshift pedestal barefooted that ends at the Naga City Cathedral in Elias Angeles street. (During ordinary days, the icon of INA is always situated at the Peñafrancia shrine along San Felipe highway).

But when the Marian celebration starts on May every year be transferred at the Basilica Minore.

My part as half-hearted devotee

I left home from town of Minalabac,a half-hour public jeepney ride going to Naga City top witness the procession which started around 3 in the afternoon. Since it's a religious holiday, regular school day was suspended, giving time to all devotees to participate, including me.

I met my cousin, Luningning at the Plaza Quince Martirez and urged me to go with her to hear the con-celebrated mass held at the patio of Naga City cathedral. People in all walks of life gathered, occupying most of the road (routes were diverted by police authorities) just to be the witness of the tricentennial celebration of INA.

Amid the sweats and swelling temperature around, we were able to finish the afternoon mass until past 6 in the evening.

THE HISTORY OF PEÑAFRANCIA and its Effects to the Bicolanos

Rev. Dr. FLORENCIO C. YLLANA made a detailed account on how the icon of Peñafrancia landed at the Philippine shores during the Spanish regime. It was also retold by our forefathers until our generation comes and presently celebrating its 300th year of existence in our Catholic belief.

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I don't want to complicate your inquiring minds how this part of Catholic Christian faith paved the way to other believers to form religious sects. You have to decide whether it's right to celebrate its existence or just stamp it as form of idolatry.

300 YEARS AGO...

Contrary to what its name seems to indicate and the claim of some writers, the Peñafrancia devotion is not of French origin. History tells that the primitive image of the Virgin of Peñafrancia as now venerated in Bicolandia was found on the slopes of Sierra de Francia, a mountain range situated between Spain's two famous Provinces; Salamanca and Caceres. It is a noteworthy coincidence that while the primitive image was found near CACERES, in Spain, it's a carbon copy has come to stay in NUEVA CACERES, in the Philippines.


The Spanish era here in the Philippines left us the Roman Catholicism belief wherein Mother Mary is believed to be the intercessor with his Son, Jesus Christ, who happens to be our Way to the Father.

Adopting the name of Virgen de Penafrancia, it was brought here by the second group of Spanish conquistadores who greatly influenced the native inhabitants of the southern archipelago of the Philippines, which is now known as the Bicol region.

The pagans who were called as 'cimarrones' or stubborn that usually lived in caves of Mount Isarog (overlooking Naga City) became the last converts that bravely fought the Spaniards, just to fight for their ancestral domains that were grabbed by the foreigners.

With the teaching of Christianity, the natives adopted the faith but still incorporated the rites they usually did when praising the gods of the air, forest, water, mountains or even the sun (as in animism).

My grandfather retold us that the non-believers were converted due to the most 'unforgettable incident that the dog whose blood was used to paint the replica of the original icon from Spain was resurrected when the painter had thrown it on the Naga River. They also called the place barangay Penafrancia (where the icon of INA is situated).


I don't know but I am skeptic about the so-called miracles being attested by the presence of INA's image or Mother Mary's icon. It contradicts the teachings from the Bible about idolatry.

In high school, I still didn't questioned my teacher in catechism because the songs were so inspirational and I forgot momentarily my doubts about INA whenever I got carried away with the church hymns. I even joined the shool choir to serve the church where my religion came alive.

When I was in college, it was the time whern I got the courage to question my instructor about it. He (being a former priest) didn't like the way I questioned the dogma of Catholicism. I was cautioned by the other religious subject instructor, who happened to be my friend, to just ignore what happened.

I know in my heart that Mother Mary is so important in the 'humanization' of the Son of God who personally taught us the plans prepared for us by the Father.

When the Popes of Rome issued a declaration that Mother Mary will be the intercessor to Jesus Christ, most of the priests questioned the so-called Vatican II. The breakaway priests also formed a Reformation Church in the Philippines.

Even the changes happened, the belief to INA of the Bicolanos, especially those who are in Naga City didn't falter. Protestants ridiculed the practice but after 300 years the devotion grow stronger.


Three church edifices are involve in today's celebration, especially during the tercenary (300) of TRASLACION, the re-enactment of the 'cimarrones' or now called the 'voyadores' carrying the icon along with the divine face of Christ (DIVINO ROSTRO) in a handkerchief (believed to belong to Saint Veronica when she wiped the bloody face of Christ during His way to Golgota where he was Crucified at the Cross by the Roman soldiers).

The images will be carried from the Basilica Minore then to the Naga City Cathedral for a special mass. Before, INA's icon is usually housed at Penafrancia church, but due to its disappearance in the 80s (believed to be hidden by known personality during Marcos regime), it is now permanently secured inside the Basilica church.

A week after, usually third Sunday of September, a fluvial procession will culminate the weeklong activities, voyadores carrying the icon and images of INA and Divino Rostro at the Naga River's port then it will be transferred back again at Basilica Minore with the help of voyadores, now riding sets of wooden boats  amid the singing and prayers of the devotees.


Why do we still do it, after 300 years? I'm half-hearted to answer but to let the answers be revealed here on my hub, most of them will's called FAITH.

The situation here in Bicol region, often ravaged by typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (courtesy of Mayon volcano in Albay) made the Bicolanos cling to a tangible comfort, the presence of the so-called INA.

When you go to one of the Catholic churches here in Naga City, there are various paraphernalias or pamphlets promoting the faith for Mother Mary.

WIth the scenarios like these and the reported 'miracles', more and more converts who have personal 'mission' to fulfill actively participate during this weeklong religious activities.

Most critics call it FANATICISM and more people cling to this kind of showing their faith to God, Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and the saints who risked their lives spreading the faith of Christian Catholicism or the 'universalization' of Christian faith.




Traslacion of INA in Naga City c/o andiboiski

Where to stay in Naga City during fiesta

There are lots of hotels and accommodations that surely jive to your budget if you like to witness the highlights of activities for the Peñafrancia fiesta.

Ordering food will  depend upon the wants of customers. Although, menu books are a standard set-up in many hotels and restaurants, you can also request for a specialty that you crave for if the ingredients are available. Even exotic foods.

You can rely on the "Filipino hospitality" at all times. Although, I'm just saddened by untoward incidents that often dubbed our country as "unsafe for tourists".

Well, I still believe that the mistake of one should not be blamed to his innocent countrymen. Life must go on and enjoy the blessings we receive from the Almighty.

So, have you already made your reservations?

Some of the Best Hotels in Naga City

Golden Leaf Hotel

Golden Leaf Hotel

1. Golden Leaf Hotel

If you're staying only overnight in Naga City, you can consider Golden Leaf Hotel. For the price (less than P800), you can bear with the thin mattress, flat pillow and thin sheets. After all, the airconditioning unit is running fine; the private bathroom/comfort room has hot & cold shower; there is a table, chair and mirror in the bedroom; the staff are helpful and always smiling

Location is good, near SM and bus/van terminals.

Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City (Photo courtesy of

Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City (Photo courtesy of

2. Avenue Plaza Hotel

Avenue Plaza Hotel is the only hotel that satisfy my great expectation. A hotel that truly meet the standard of a classy hotel. Nice Place, Good Ambiance, Great food! Plus Staff are warmth & accommodating! Value for your money! When in Naga it should be The Avenue Plaza Hotel only. their website: email them at: Call them: +6354 4739999 or +6354 8117888.

Naga Regent Hotel (Photo courtesy of

Naga Regent Hotel (Photo courtesy of

Naga Regent Hotel map (

Naga Regent Hotel map (

3. Regent Hotel

Naga Regent Hotel has so many types of rooms to choose from, budget room less than P900, de luxe for those who have budget P1,080 with wifi and suite rooms. Chinese restaurant at the ground floor. I stayed at de luxe room, very well maintained, good enough for one, with wifi, but no windows, but I can have my comfort time organizing my articles on HubPages

. Limited parking space in front of the hotel.

Billiard and bowling center at the 3rd floor.

24-Hours Contact Numbers:
Tel: (632) 910-4203 up to 05
Fax: (632) 910-4206

Toll Free numbers:
Call from the USA: 1-877-347-5239;
Call from UK: (44) 800-014-8008

Villa Caceres Hotel (Photo courtesy of

Villa Caceres Hotel (Photo courtesy of

4. Villa Caceres Hotel

I've been into one of the suites of Villa Caceres Hotel as we celebrated the wedding aftermath of our friend. The Sessionista Group of Minalabac (I'm one of them) frequent the Bistro Roberto (at the ground floor) last summer. Hotel frontliners are accommodating, and the owner, Mr. Robert Lee Obiedo is a public figure in Naga City.

Visiting tourists frequent the bars and live-bands add to the popularity of the hotel.

It is often used for corporate functions, weddings, among others.

For inquiries/reservation:
Telephone Nos. (054) 473-65-30 to 33
Mobile No. 0918-9342285
Fax No. (054) 473-93-27
Toll Free No. 250 - 8118
Web Address:
When you’re in Manila
call toll free line at 250-8118


Food and Dining

Well, we're good at that. Asians gave Europe its pasta (through Marco Polo) and the magic of cooking in wok. I can proudly say that you'll like the adaptations of any leading cuisine around the world here in Naga City.

You can choose to some of the lists of Restaurants in Naga City and eat anything you like at affordable prices. With the competitions going on, there are promos to avail by expectant gourmets and food connoisseurs the whole year round.

My personal recommendations:

  1. Bob Marlin Restaurant and Grillis the talk of the town. It's an all-Filipino cuisine but the Bob Marlin Platter will make you wishing to be back for more and the specialty of the house, Crispy Pata (crisp fried pork leg).
  2. East and West Jazz Barwill suit your mood while hearing soft jazz music while waiting for your order of International cuisine and sandwiches in the house. I will also include it's location, the Crown Hotel, for being one of affordable and pioneer hotels in Naga City, just right in front of Plaza Quince Martirez, overlooking Jollibee Fastfood and San Francisco Church. I've been able to savor that feeling during one of my radio days, late 90s. And they're still there.
  3. Gasthof is a bold move to introduce German cuisine among the locals. I'm sure, tourists from Europe will surely crave for these, especially Germans (it's obvious, haha!):German Sausage, Baby Back Ribs, Camembert Kaese, Gasthof Platter, Baked Oyster, Spicy Chicken Fingers, Norwegian Salmon Salad, Pig Knuckles and German Wurst among others.
  4. Max's Restaurant is the best place to dine with your family and friends at an affordable prices. There are two franchises here in Naga, but I like going at the SM City, inside the Central Terminal. It's like dropping by with all the amenities you can enjoy in one venue only.
  5. Wok Food Garden changed its location to Magsaysay Avenue. It offers authentic Chinese cuisine being cook in the signature cooking utensil...wok (as the name suggests).

Note: Magsaysay Avenue in Naga City is the latest food and dining, hotel and bar and entertainment destination these days. I didn't mention other establishments; but you'll have to discover for yourselves, guys. It's worth to tell that you had an unforgettable adventures in Naga City this September. Happy Fiesta, everyone!!!

If you don't like a too formal setting when eating, you can look for more affordable venues, like fastfoods centers (McDonalds, Jollibee) and street food outlets. Always be careful with your health, though.

I'll say it again...let's toast and drink to that!

(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

Cousins-in-Crime ...Ning and Ino (aka travel_man1971) taking a  refresher while hearing mass at the jam-packed facade of Naga  City Cathedral

Cousins-in-Crime ...Ning and Ino (aka travel_man1971) taking a refresher while hearing mass at the jam-packed facade of Naga City Cathedral

Travel & Places Recommendation

  1. Travel Philippines will offer you opportunities to let your discover the country beautiful spots at your own pace. We, islanders will give you the leeway to be one of the "Asians" you want to be...God-fearing, free-spirited and happy-go-lucky...without hurting anybody. Please, believe me with that phrase.
  2. You can expand your Naga City's impressions if you will explore other towns and cities in Camarines Sur. There are still plenty of time to enjoy nature's flora and fauna in Mount Isarog, Mount Iriga and Mount Asog. How about exploring the islands of Caramoan.

Is it worth a try, exploring my place. Leaving a comment doesn't hurt so bad. Love lots!!!

Naga City Astrodome - located at the Central Business District 2, Triangulo Naga City

Naga City Astrodome - located at the Central Business District 2, Triangulo Naga City

SM City in Naga City

SM City in Naga City

Ecological Park (Eco Park) in Naga City

Ecological Park (Eco Park) in Naga City

Mini Hydro Spring Resort at Pacol, Naga City (Photo courtesy of

Mini Hydro Spring Resort at Pacol, Naga City (Photo courtesy of

Westpark at Magsaysay strip, Naga City

Westpark at Magsaysay strip, Naga City