Peñafrancia Festival 2021: Everything to Know About the Biggest Marian Event in Asia

penafrancia festival

Every year, on the third Sunday of September, the miraculous image of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia also known as Our Lady of Penafrancia or Ina as lovingly called by devotees is taken out of her shrine and brought in a procession along the Naga River. This annual festivity is called the Peñafrancia Festival.

During this time, Naga becomes much like a pool of people who attend the more than 300-year-old festivity in the hopes of having an answered prayer, for healing, or simply to give thanks. Learn more about this sacred festival as we tell you everything you need to know, from history and date to the activities to experience.

*Cover photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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About Peñafrancia Festival

penafrancia festival fluvial procession

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Peñafrancia Festival is a religious festival honoring Our Lady of Penafrancia, Patroness of the Bicol Region. The main highlight of the event is the fluvial procession along the Naga River where the Our Lady of Peñafrancia original image is transferred from its official home at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and vice versa. This festival is the biggest religious event in Bicol and is considered to be the biggest Marian event in Asia where it draws millions of tourists, pilgrims, and devotees every year.

Penafrancia Festival Place of Origin

The feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia is celebrated in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Date of Penafrancia Fiesta

The celebration of the feast at the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine is held every 3rd Sunday of September.

Peñafrancia Festival History

The Peñafrancia Festival History can be traced back to somewhere 300 years ago when Fr. Miguel Robles de Covarrubias commissioned a small chapel at the foot of Mt. Isarog, and a small Our Lady of Penafrancia image to be enshrined in it in 1710. 

Originally, he has pledged to build a stone Our Lady of Peñafrancia Church in Manila near the Pasig River as he has received many miracles of healing through his devotion to the Our Lady of Penafrancia. Under Most Rev. Ysidro de Arevalo, the stone Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia was erected, not in Manila but in Naga. Many people since then are flocking to the Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia to show their devotion and has since grown to become the largest Marian Devotion in Asia.

Then on August 17, 1981, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia original image was stolen. Many Bicolanos were in disbelief. More than a year after the image was stolen, Msgr. Florencio Yllana, a former rector of the old shrine, received a box containing an image in pieces said to be of Ina (what locals lovingly call the Lady of Penafrancia). It was later confirmed that it is the Our Lady of Penafrancia image.

The love and devotion that many people have for Ina gave birth to the most-awaited and biggest Marian event in Asia: The Penafrancia Fiesta.

Activities on Penafrancia Festival 2021

penafrancia festival parade

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The theme for Penafrancia Festival 2021 is “Sharing the Gift of Faith in the Spirit of the Faithful Obedience of Mary and Joseph.” However, due to the restrictions and health risks posed by the current pandemic, the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia is canceled this year. There will be several activities and masses held though:

  • LIVE Broadcasts for the Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia
    See the schedule here
  • Liturgies
    Masses in Honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia (Bikol)
    Volume 1: Missal
    Volume 2: LectionaryMasses in Honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia (English)
    Volume 1: Missal
    Volume 2: Lectionary

    Masses in Honor of the Divino Rostro (Bikol)
    Volume 1: Missal

    Masses in Honor of the Divino Rostro (English)
    Volume 1: Missal

How to Get to Naga City

By bus
From Cubao, Pasay, or Alabang, ride a bus going to Naga City. The good thing about traveling to Naga is that you can find buses that will bring you straight there. This is the most affordable option, too. Travel time is about 8 hours.

By plane
If you don’t have much time to spare, you can also travel by air. There are two main airports in Bicol: one in Naga, and one in Legazpi City. The travel time is around 1 hour only.

Frequently Asked Questions About Peñafrancia Festival

Q: What is the Penafrancia Festival about?
A: The Penafrancia Festival description is a religious festival honoring Our Lady of Penafrancia, Patroness of the Bicol Region. The main highlight of the event is the fluvial procession along the Naga River where the Our Lady of Peñafrancia original image is transferred from its official home at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and vice versa. This festival is the biggest religious event in Bicol and is considered to be the biggest Marian event in Asia where it draws millions of tourists, pilgrims, and devotees every year.

Q: When is Peñafrancia Festival celebrated?
A: Peñafrancia Festival is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of September.

Q: Where is Peñafrancia Festival celebrated?
A: Peñafrancia Festival is celebrated in Naga City, Camarines Sur in Bicol Region, Philippines. Millions of people go to Naga to witness this Marian event yearly.

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