The Peñafrancia Festival is Asia’s biggest Marian festival. A 300-year old devotion rich in stories (miracles and stories of healing, stories of theft on several occasions, and a tragedy) draws hundreds of thousands of tourists, devotees and families each year in September.
More than all of her colorful past, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia is the beacon of motherhood in the many lives of Bicolanos.
Breathtaking footages of the festival celebrating Ina (Bikol term for mother; Our Lady of Peñafrancia) have been captured on film by young filmmaker Arjanmar Rebeta.
Best of Bicol: Take us back to the beginning of this project. What inspired you?
Arjanmar: Poon pa kan 2012, nagso-shoot na ako nin Penafrancia Festival (I’ve had stock footages of the festival since 2012).
In 2017. Globe Philippines launched the contest The 5-Min Video Challenge: Connecting Lives.
An mga Bikolano, biglang nagkakaigwa nin pag-intindi asin koneksyon bilang mga magturugang sa sarong Ina(Bicolanos instantly forge connections as brothers and sisters, children of Ina, Mother), napagkakasararo tulos kita (we are instantly unified).
Maski ngani bako na Bikolano basta deboto ni Ina, biglang nagiging tugang sa pagtubod (even non-Bikolano devotees become our brothers or sisters); igwa tulos nin koneksyon na nahihimo (a connection is formed).
It is in this context that we decided to submit the entry Motherly Connection, Connecting Lives.
BOB: Motherhood/Maternal love is an important arc in the Bikolano narrative. In your own words, why is that so?
A: Napag-adalan ko sa panahon kan sakong tesis sa kolehiyo na parte na kan kaisipan asin buhay kan mga Bikolano an konsepto nin sarong ina (It is apparent in my undergraduate thesis studies that motherhood is very much a part of the Bikolano psyche and life): kita dayupot sa ina (we are close to our mothers).
Pwedeng sabihon na dakulang inpluwensya kaini si Inang Penafrancia lalo na ta 300 na taon na siya sa Bikol (This could be a 300 year-old influence of such faith to the Our Lady of Peñafrancia).
Fr. Gorospe, S.J. and Javellana writes, “the relationship is intimate. She is a mother,” in the book Virgin of Peñafrancia: Mother of Bicol.
An Ina nya mismo an saiyang modelo asin giya sa saiyang pagkabuhay bilang aki nin Dyos asin bilang tawo. (The mother becomes the Bikolano’s role model, both as a human being and as son of God).
Ini man patungkol ki Inang Penafrancia o sa biological na ina niato, nagpapahiling man sana ini na an mga Bikolano dakula ang paggalang sa saiyang Ina(Such respect and adoration proves the Bikolano’s innate attachment to mothers, biological or otherwise.)
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BOB: Your call for understanding, respect, and love depicted in the narration of the video (great job by the way) is timely and relevant. What else would you like to say?
A: Iba-iba man kita nin paniniwala alagad kun aaramon ta an pinakaugat kan pagtubod kan kada saro, ini pasiring man giraray sa paghanap kan katotoohan asin karahayan para sa kada saro (we may have different beliefs but if we know that the roots of our belief stem from the search of truth and the good, something that unites us all).
An papel kan sarong ina, siya ang tagapagpatuninong (the role of the Mother is the mediator, the peacekeeper).
Pinapagkasurundo nya an mga magturugang (she mediates among siblings).
Dahil sa paggalang sa ina, nagpopoon ang pag-orolay (out of respect, conversations happen).
Nagkakaigwa nin pagkaburunyog asin paggalang ta an lambang saro igwa nin parehong eksperyensya nin sarong ina (There comes a sense of unity and respect out of this experience of having a Mother).
An Ina an simbolo nin “pag-ataman asin pagkamoot (A mother is a symbol of love and care). ■
Watch the video below.
Arjanmar Rebeta is a photographer & filmmaker and is a native of Cabusao, Camarines Sur. His films have been selected & awarded in film festivals worldwide. He is a recipient of “Harvest of Honors” Award (NCCA), Film Ambassador (FDCP) & Indie Bravo (Inquirer PH)