Catanduanes' Peñafrancia Festival: The Happy Island Celebrates Marian Feast
Choose Philippines | Sep 08, 2015
Bicol Region's grandest festival and one of the world's biggest Marian pilgrimages is the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. Naga City is at the center of its celebration but nearby provinces, like Catanduanes, partake in its various activities to venerate the Marian image.
Bicolandia's devotion to Ina started more than 300 years ago when Spanish priest Miguel Robles de Covarrubias had the same image carved after a statue found by Simon de Vela in Peña de Francia, Salamanca, Spain. It was also through the Spanish priest that a chapel was built by the bank of the Bicol River.
In Virac, the capital of the island-province also dubbed as the "Happy Island," the fluvial procession and traslacion starts from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral to the shoreline of Brgy. Concepcion and onto the shores of Brgy. Francia.
(Photos from Catanduanes Tourism Promotion Facebook.)
How to Get There
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Virac every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday morning (travel time: 1h 10m).
Numerous bus lines operate air-conditioned coaches from Manila to Tabaco, Albay (travel time: 9-10h). From the seaport of Tabaco, hop on either at MV Calixta 2, 4 and 5 or MV Eugene Elson to reach the island of Catanduanes via Virac seaport (ETD: 0630; travel time: 4h; aircon: Php 310; non-aircon: Php 240).
Jeepneys and buses ply from Virac to the island's various municipalities.