Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PEÑAFRANCIA FESTIVAL 2014: Schedule of Activities

Peñafrancia festival is a well known festival in the Philippines particularly in Naga City which took place every September of the year. Unlike to any other common festivals in the country, Peñafrancia Festival is both a religious and civic occasion purposefully to honor Mother Mary in the image of Peñafrancia whom in thousands of years celebrated historically by bicolanos and tagged as the “Ina nin Kabikolan”-mother of Bicolandia.
Historically, Virgin of Peñafrancia was named after the place in France where the image was found by a certain Simon Vela, a heir of a very rich French family who turned himself into a service of God. It was Peñafrancia because the place where the image was conceptually found was at the mount of Peña de Francia in France. From the moment where the image was discovered until at present, Peñafrancia believed to be performing great miracles. It cures different kind of illnesses and some other forms of miracles and that probably the reason why an ever-increasing number of devotes are coming forth in Naga City every September for the Peñafracia festival celebration. And because of this, Bicolandia thru INA has been one of the best Marian Pilgrimage site in the world.

For this year 2014, here are the lists of activities for Peñafrancia Festival:

Among these schedules of activities, the highlight is the Traslacion or the procession of the image of INA from her home in Basilica Minore going to Archdiocese of Caceres Metropolitan Cathedral. Traslacion marks also the starts of the 9 day novena masses in preparation for Peñafrancia Festivities. Another highlight of event that culminates the festival is the Fluvial Procession wherein the image of INA is brought back to Basilica Minore from the Cathedral thru procession in the bicolandia river. INA is joined by the bishops, priests and numbers of religious voyadores inside a Pagoda during procession at the river while devotees are cheering for "VIVA LA VIRGEN" and praying the rosary.

Friday, August 8, 2014

TRAVEL NOTES: Visiting the Most Bombed Country on Earth, Laos

I was privileged to be given a chance for an international work engagement in Southeast Asia and was commissioned to assist some people’s organizations there particularly in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Lao (most known as “Laos”) in their pursuit for community development works. This time my work brings me to another area of concern and I am happy indeed to nurture my travel fashion while in work at foreign land. I stayed in Laos for a number of months and very fortunate to explore some historic places and fugures of the country.   

LAOS, or simply the Peoples Democratic Republic of Lao is one of the smallest country in Southeast Asia with a population of 6.5 million (data as of 2012). Its land area is big to have this number of population so distance from one house to another is defined by a number of meters.  It is a landlocked country covered by the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and China. I am lucky to set foot into some of these neighboring countries whenever I am renewing my visa.  Laos, politically wise, is a single-party socialist republic and run by a communist movement since 1975.  

Laos as compared to other countries in Asia can be regarded as “started-to-grow country” in terms of economy, modernity and some aspects of advancement. It’s already a member of some world organizations but only be joining to WTO (World Trade Organization) by the year 2015 as expected.  Its current condition can be attributed into a one lone province in the Philippines. However Lao people have an extra kind breeding in terms of discipline and following rules. They are quite, kind and respectful as correlated to their religious behavior Buddhism.

With regards to some places and historical facts, Laos has a lot to offer. Mostly of the countrie’s significant places and historic figures are found in the provinces of Luang Prabang, Champasak and Vientiane for these are the great areas of the country that were considered as the three major kingdoms during the French protectorate period in 1893. Currently, Vientiane is the capital of Laos and Luangprabang and Champasak is one of the most improved provinces in the country.

The Laos flag is so simple similar to the simplicity of lifestyle of Laos people. It was designed with three horizontal bands with symbolic colors of red, blue and white. The horizontal band color red recalls the bloodshed in fought for the Laos liberation. Another horizontal band in color blue represents the Mekong River and prosperity. Mekong River plays an important part of Laos existence because Mekong river becomes the major source of daily survival to most Lao people. The white circle symbolizes the full moon and the unity of the people under the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and also the country’s bright future.


Patoxai is a war monument in Laos situated in particular at the Lang Xang Avenue in the heart of the City of Viantiane. Patoxai literally means “Victory Gate” from the original meaning of a two words “Patu means ‘door or gateway’, and “Xai” which means ‘victory’. This victory gate was built in 1957 and is dedicated to Laotian soldiers who fought for Laos liberation from French dictatorship. It is also called “Arch of Triumph or Arc de Triomphe de Viantiane.

This historical symbolic is typically Laotian in design and decorated with mythological creatures by the famous Laotian architect (Tham Sayasthsena). It has five towers that represent the Five Principles of Coexistence and the Five Buddhist Principles of Thoughtful Amiability, Flexibility, Honesty, Honor, and Prosperity. Along with this monument is the National park with musical fountain that add color and value to the white house which is just ahead of Patoxai Monument.

That Luang:

Another great infrastructure that will surely capture your interest is the Pha That Luang or the Great Buddhist Stupa. Stupa is a very important Buddhist structure containing Buddhist relics and the ashes of Buddhist monk. It is also a holy place of Buddhist for their meditation.  Pha that Luang is situated almost 500 meters away from the Patoxai park. It is one of the most important national monuments in Laos considering the country’s religion, Buddhism. Pha That Luang is also the Laos national symbol.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...