NAGA CITY---“I call on the voyadores to abstain from alcohol to keep the solemnity of Peñafrancia Traslacion and fluvial processions.”
Police Colonel Felix Servita, Naga City police director, said as preparations are up for a peaceful and orderly conduct of the fiesta celebration that whose religious activities will start with the Traslacion, a foot procession, on Friday next week, September 13, for the 9-day novena in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia.
Servita admitted that despite the security plans being laid out by the security and public safety cluster of the Joint Operations Center as called for by Executive Order 2019-036 issued by City Mayor Nelson Legacion for the safer and peaceful conduct of the fiesta, the problem on alcohol-reeking voyadores (male devotees that traditionally lead the religious processions) will remain their major concern as in the past traslacion processions.
Selling and imbibing alcoholic drinks have been banned within and along the route of the traslacion and those who are found to be reeking with liquor or are heavily drunk will be asked to move away or participate in the procession or be locked up in cells provided for the lawbreakers.
Brawny and liquor reeking voyadores have been part of a tradition that dates back to the voyadores of the colonial times, as these voyadores were originally the wild people (cimarrones) of Mt. Isarog who have been implored to be absolved for their sins and for them to ask for the Blessed Virgin’s mercy by allowing them to carry her image and that of the Divino Rostro from the chapel in the old village of Penafrancia down to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Naga (then known as Ciudad de Nueva Caceres).
At the cathedral, the people in downtown Naga will hold the 9-day novena, or vigil, as they prepare for the celebration of the fiesta. After the novenario, the Virgin and the Divino Rostro are returned to their home in the chapel in Penafrancia via a fluvial procession along the Naga River. Her homecoming is welcomed with another fiesta in the village she calls home.
Meanwhile, Servita confirmed that the color-coding (through the t-shirts to be worn) among the voyadores this year will be re-imposed by the Archdiocese of Caceres as a scheme for all voyadores representing various sectors and coming from other places to have chance to participate in the procession, particularly in carrying the image on their shoulders, through an more orderly manner.