I've been to Naga City for so many times now. In fact, it's been barely a month when I went to the city to finish some transactions in the municipal office. But it's the first time that I have ever witnessed the famed fluvial procession of the Virgin of Peñafrancia : Mother of Bicol. My husband warned me about the crowds but I am super thankful to Ina that I was able to brave my way through the throngs of people duriung the procession.
We left my sister-in-law's house after lunch because the fluvial procession was scheduled last September 18 at 3 PM. My brother-in-law had to park and leave the van in Bagumbayan Sur because some roads leading to the Naga Cathedral have been closed already. So from there, we walked to the Naga Cathedral.
Since the 1 PM mass had already started when we arrived, we were not able to go inside the jampacked cathedral. In fact, the photo shown above would not have been possible if not for our cam's zoom lens. We decided to walk around the vicinity and capture some shots instead. The Porta Mariae caught our attention because it was only built in time for the 300th anniversary. My husband wanted to go up the arch so we can shoot an aerial view of the cathedral but we were not allowed during that time. I guess it's allowed in ordinary days because there's a passage way within it.
My brother-in-law suggested that we walk to the river banks instead so that we can capture photos of the boats while we can still squeeze through the crowds. Then, we walked back to the plaza and stayed inside Caby's Cabana Restaurant in front of the plaza. We were lucky to have found a place near the window so we had the perfect view when the procession started.
My sister-in-law, who was with her childhood friends at that moment, called in time to tell us that they were in a house with a view of the river where the pagoda of the image will pass by. From the restaurant, we walked again going to the place where they were. It was then that I experienced squishing through the crowd just to make my way through. Now I fully understand what the Filipino idiomatic expression di mahulugang karayom really means. Everyone was basically skin to skin with one another that not even a needle can fall through.
Nevertheless, I do not regret a single moment of that experience. The mood was festive and, at the same time, solemn. We were shouting "Viva" in honor of the Virgin every time! And besides, the house we went to really had the view I needed. I felt lucky that we were allowed to go in and watch the fluvial procession even though we are total strangers. I believe, it was Ina who intervened.
We did not follow the procession to the Basilica anymore because we knew we wouldn't make it through the throngs of people walking that time. We decided to head back to the van and we reached it after what seemed like almost an hour of walking. Nope, I'm not complaining. The experience was all worth it.
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