As the breeze of the coming fall season filled the air and the bright summer sun brought joy and cheers to a throng of enthusiastic devotees, the feast of Bicolandia’s patroness, Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia (Ina) and the Divino Rostro (Divine Face) was successfully commemorated on Saturday, September 20, 2008. Ending the nine-day prayers in Ina’s honor, the celebration was held in a new venue at the CRRNJ Terminal Building, Liberty State Park, 1 Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ, USA.
Sparked with a colorful fluvial procession and rosary recitation, the event was followed by a solemn concelebrated mass officiated by Bicolano priests headed by Msgr. Jeremias B. Rebanal. With Ina’s message of unity and love, Msgr. Rebanal underscored the continued intercessions of God’s Mother venerated by Bicolanos for centuries.
In keeping with Ina’s celebrations worldwide, the Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association (OLPDA) of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut under the leadership of Virgie Jacobson and in cooperation with the Bicolandia Association of the Eastern Seaboard made sure the event was meaningful and memorable. The festivity was capped with a grand reunion and salo-salo followed by a brief, but exciting cultural program emceed by Fiorel Salvo and Erlinda Requejo-Arellano.
The occasion was highlighted by kurumustahan and pabiristohan—the renewal of friendships and hospitality expressed among kababayans. Notable followers of Ina who helped in making the day a success were Peng Pena, Thelma Silerio, Fe Manibay, Lulu Menor, Genevieve del Rosario, Adela Quisumbing, Amado Cabaero, Chi, Tong and JL Pilar, Nancy Candenilla, Tessie Maghacut, Tita Esquivel, Annie B. Santos, Roselyn Sapalico, Vic Idava, Lydia Mendez, Jun Torrente, Josefina Surban, Laida Centeno, Nelly Asis, Gloria Salen, Claire Pormento, Melodina Cabaero, Dolly Zagada, Chito & Cora Velasco, Efred Zagada, Norma Rivera, Edmund Arellano, Tony Rojano, Nicol Miraflores, Myrla Rueda, Francia Banzuela, Lily Cantuba, Rudy Alcantara, Zeny Prado, Moises & Linda Sia, Carmen Oliver, Rebecca Dorosan, Victoria Datar, Boy Pangan, Bert Celera, Dina Briones, Jojo Borja, Clemenia Rueda-Cayetano, Ely Mabeza, Lourdes Rada-Madrid, Diety Avila, Lita Ferrer, Celeste Reside, Sylvia Kurt, Josie & Allen Nidea, Aida Ragragio, Raquel Ragragio, Aida Santiago, Lillian Villafuerte, Ato & Susie Enojado, Bodjie Amador, Rene & Lily Villegas, among many others.
A brief historical profile of OLPDA was prepared by Ben A. Silerio who recalled the organization was started in 1990 by Lulu M. Menor and Lita L. Pena. Since then, leaders who keep the group strong include Erlinda R. Arellano, Marfo T. Manibay, Ben A. Silerio, Liliana F. Lacap, Gidget C. Revilleza, Josephine A. Mendoza, and Virgie C. Jacobson. =0=