Thousands join La Virgen del Pilar procession PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 14:07

by Sheila Covarrubias


Amid the scorching sun, throngs of people from all walks of life joined the grand procession from the Metropolitan Cathedral in La Purisima to the Fort Pilar Shrine in Rio Hondo in celebration of the feast of Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar.

Mayor Beng Climaco, District 1 Cong. Celso Lobregat, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and some members of the City Council together with Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz led the devotees in marching the streets in prayers. The grand procession was culminated with the concelebrated mass with the archbishop as main celebrant.

The religious activities kicked off with the Diana/holy rosary at 4am followed by masses at the Fort Pilar Shrine the whole morning yesterday. The traditional procession started 3pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral in La Purisima St. and ended up at the Shrine.

Bearing rosaries, images of the La Virgen del Pilar and other religious icons, the devotees braved the scorching heat demonstrating unceasing devotion and reverence to the patron saint. The feast day was preceded by the 9-day novena masses religiously attended by thousands of devotees coming from different parts of the city.

Mayor Climaco applauded the residents — Christians, Muslims and Lumads — for their fighting spirit and for continued reverence to the Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar. She urged the residents to continue to stay united and strong, as the city continues to face challenges amid the city’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

The fiesta was ushered in by the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2015 which kicked off October 1st and will continue until the end of the month with various activities sponsored by private groups. Tomorrow, October 13, the city will hold the Sardinas Festival that will be capped by the sardine eating spectacle at the Paseo del Mar.

The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival is the city’s grandest celebration annually and is observed with great zeal, fervour and devotion to the La Virgen del Pilar. Devotion to the La Virgen keeps Zamboanguenos—living here and elsewhere, united and strong.

The Fort Pilar or Real Fuerza de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza in Spanish, is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government. It is  now an outdoor Roman Catholic Marian shrine and a museum and a symbol of the city’s cultural heritage. — Sheila Covarrubias