September is the first of the four “ber” months. September ushers in the last quarter of the year and the start of the longest Yuletide season in the world – Philippine Christmas. This is the month wherein the 100 days to Christmas countdown is started. Yuletide tunes are also first heard from the radios come this month. Before you get busy planning for the events in December, here are Catholic feasts from two different regions this month that you may want to witness.
The Feast of Turumba in Pakil, Laguna (Region IV-A)
The longest novena in the Philippines is first prayed before the feast. Prayers last for 63 days wherein there are seven sets of nine-day novenas called lupi. The highlight of the feast is a dancing procession in Pakil. During the procession a replica of the Virgin of Sorrows is carried up by the devotees (Javellana, 1999).
This is a good opportunity to visit the impressive structure that is San Pedro de Alcala Church of Pakil. In my opinion, the interior of Pakil Church along with its retablos (altars) is one of the most ornate that I have seen.
The feast is celebrated in Naga City every third Sunday of September, this is one of the “moveable” Catholic feasts in the country. Each year devotees from the different parts of the Bicol Region, other parts of the country, and even from overseas gather in Naga City to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary known as the Our Lady of Peňafrancia. The traslación and the fluvial procession are the highlights of the festival. The replica of the statue of the Blessed Virgin is accompanied by a sea of devotees as it is transferred from the Minor Basilica to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Naga. The fluvial procession, on the eve of the feast, marks the return of the image from the Cathedral back to the Basilica Minore which is located along the river bank.
These feasts show the strong Catholic side of our country and the love of Filipinos for celebrations. Travel to Pakil, Laguna and Naga City, Camarines Sur to witness great stories of faith and know more about our interesting country, the Philippines.
Javellana, R.B., S.J. 1999. Pinoy Almanac and Planner. Manila: Tahanan Books.