Manila Bulletin published this article on September 8, 2012, Luzon News. It can also be accessed at: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/372744/1st-marian-regatta-draws-thousands
|One of the 300 boats carrying a Marian image (San Nicolas, Batangas)|
By YFUR PORSCHE P. FERNANDEZ
SAN NICOLAS, Batangas — Thousands of Marian devotees gathered at the break of dawn on Saturday for the first-ever “Marian Regatta: A Fluvial Procession for Peace, Family and Life” held around Taal Lake here, in celebration of the birth anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Organized by the joint efforts of the local government, the Archdiocese of Lipa, the private and civil sectors, the religious event saw 300 boats carrying the images of the Virgin Mary, each representing all coastal towns surrounding Taal Volcano, including key communities of Sta. Teresita, Cuenca, Agoncillo, Labac, Alitagtag and San Nicolas.
Lipa Archdiocese media director Leonido Dolor regarded the fluvial event an “appropriate birthday gift” for the well-revered Mother of Christ.
“We attribute our relatively good fortune [to Virgin Mary] as far as the recent calamities are concerned. [This] Regatta is our way of thanking Her,” Dolor said in an interview.
“Regatta” is an Italian word, which refers to a series of boats rowed for a prize. [more]
Citing the significance of environmental awareness and accountability in protecting Taal Lake, the regatta paraded around the waters of Taal Volcano as devotees recited their prayers of salvation.
“The effects of the recent widespread fish kill and torrential rains in Batangas are still marginal when compared with the deaths and damage in other cities and provinces; however, Batangueños should not take these [environmental issues] lightly,” said Dolor.
Aside from raising environmental awareness, the religious event called for unity and evangelization, according to Dolor.
He considered Taal Lake as the right place for the Marian celebration, as it is “the heart of Batangas and the identity of all Batangueños.”
“I think this event will also establish Batangas as the Marian capital of the Philippines. We hope to make this a yearly affair, as much as Governor Vilma Santos-Recto would want it to be,” Dolor said.
The event’s over-all chairman Rev. Fr. Eleuterio Ramos said that 13 municipal mayors governing communities surrounding the lake agreed to promote the cause, as they would also “benefit from local and foreign tourists that would witness the historic and first-ever regatta.”
Batangas Police Provincial Office Supt. Manuel Javier Abrujena confirmed to Manila Bulletin that at least 2,567 Marian devotees from different age groups, who participated in the event, not to mention unaccounted tourist arrivals, registered for the event.
Seventy-five-year-old Mila Mortel of Barangay St. Theresa, a Marian devotee for 60 years now, shared her views about how the event would help believers deepen their religious faith.
“A historic event like this truly strengthens one’s devotion. There is still hope for non-believers to be touched as they see this, and later on embrace this religious consecration,” Mortel said in an interview with this writer.
The historic Marian Regatta served as a prelude to the 9th National Marian Pilgrimage to Lipa on September 12, with the theme “Mary’s Faith: Our Faith for the Evangelization of Asia.”
Meanwhile, on security and safety, Coast Guard Commander Gil Moises Villamaria, assured that while insufficient, manpower and equipment were prepared, including 40 divers, seven rubber boats and ambulances.