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Penafrancia Festival From Tidewater, Virginia
by: Teck Perillo

Virginia Beach, VA — Like a relative who has worn out the welcome mat, Hurricane Dennis lingered on. Dennis’ presence brought on the rain, high winds, and flooding in parts of Hampton Roads. Cancellation of the land and fluvial procession seemed eminent due to the high winds at Lake Bradford, Naval Amphibious base – Little Creek, Norfolk, VA.

In Naga City, a little wind nor rain will not cancel the procession of our Ina. “We will go on as planned” said Norma Rubio, president of the Bicol Association of Tidewater (BAT). As scheduled, Sept. 4, the Bicolanos from various states and Ina’s devotees continued their wet and cold trek towards the lake. Echoes of Viva La Virgen rang as the Lady sailed on the choppy waters. Dennis’ fury delivered torrential rains and high winds, but the Lady and Her voyagers were back safe in the chapel for the benediction, testimony of Her protection

Rev. Angel Dy, a native of Bacon, Sorsogon who is now in Kansas, concelebrated the fiesta with Fr. Leo Manalo, Spiritual Director of BAT, Sept. 5, 1999. In his homily, Fr Dy said “Like a big family reunion, we all go home to our mother.” Labor Day weekend, visitors and guests from out of state and Hampton Roads all “Went home” to San Lorenzo Ruiz Spiritual Center in Virginia Beach to visit with our “Ina.”

The Bicol Youth participation was very visible during the nine days of novena and the fiesta. It is to be noted that they were finally getting comfortable with the idea of community service and preservation of their heritage and culture… The passing on of the torch has begun. The community leaders of BAT thank all the parents, Bicolanos and friends for their encouragement and support.