Devotees hold fluvial procession for ‘Inang’
“Inang” is how devotees call Nuestra Señora Virgen del Rosario, whose image, mounted on a raft, navigated a 3-kilometer stretch of the Pampanga River from Barangay (village) Magpapalayoc to Barangay San Anton here in an act of supplication and thanksgiving.
The river became unusually swollen in the aftermath of Typhoon “Quiel,” triggering floods as high as 16 feet in villages abutting the bank.
“It was a petition to Inang to prevent a repeat of that huge flood,” Mario dela Cruz, a barangay council member of Magpapalayoc, said in Filipino. He had helped build the bamboo raft used in the procession.
It is this stretch of the river where rainwater from other river tributaries in northern Nueva Ecija drains before flowing into Pampanga and Bulacan. “About 15 houses were swept away by floodwaters but we are thankful that nobody died in our village,” Dela Cruz said.
The image was carried by men on barefoot from the church in Barangay Adorable early Saturday afternoon and taken to a spot 2 km from where the fluvial procession started. The image was returned by the same men to the church.
At dawn, women, also on barefoot, carried the image in a procession in the village proper of Adorable. Bishop Sofronio Bancud celebrated Mass.
Fr. Armando Tipones said he broached the idea of holding the procession to start a tradition in the seven villages composing his new parish of Saint John Marie Vianney.
“The rightful way to commemorate the feast of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary is by way of a fluvial procession,” Tipones said.
A nine-day novena in honor of the patroness was held before the procession. Fifteen bancas carrying the devotees accompanied the image.
Mayor Froilan Nagaño assigned tourism officer Armand Bernardo to coordinate and prepare the event.
“We hope we can build a pagoda for next year’s procession. We will invite devotees from other towns to participate every time we hold it,” he said.
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