Q: How is Mary venerated in the Philippines?

A: In May we do not practice the May coronation. What we do practice is the Flores de Mayo or the rosary and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the singing of Salve Regina, every afternoon for the whole month of May. Then little girls (and now, even boys!) aged four to ten, dressed in white, sometimes as angels, march from the church door and lay flowers before a chosen image of Our Lady (usually the Immaculate Conception), and on the last day of May, or on the last Sunday, a grand procession is held with the image and the children.

In the Philippines, the most popular devotion to Our Lady is that under the "Perpetual Help" title. In 70-80% of our parishes, a Wednesday novena is conducted and in the Redemptorist churches, an hourly mass/novena is conducted on the same day. The second most popular is that of Our Lady of Fatima.  Then Lourdes and the Miraculous Medal would be on equal footing. The generic title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also quiet popular, specially the indigenized forms of "Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag," "Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval," etc.

Among the indigenous titles, the "Virgin of Antipolo" tops the list in Luzon island, then the "Virgin of Peñafrancia of Naga" in southern Luzon, "Virgin of Visitation of Piat" in northern Luzon, the "Virgin of the Rule" in Cebu and the Visayas group of islands; the Virgin of Candlemas in Iloilo province, and the Virgin of the Pillar in Zamboanga peninsula. Interestingly, the first four mentioned above are what might be called Madonna Bruna, except for the Virgin of the Rule which would qualify as a Black Madonna. The last two are white-complexioned. As The Mary Page mentions in your Black Madonna series, these brown images are perceived to be miraculous, hence the popularity. I used to think that the main reason for this was the identification the Filipinos have for brown-complexioned images but your article which narrates that in Europe, the Black Madonnas are also perceived to be miraculous, struck me. Maybe, there really is a connection.

[Mary with dark complexion]

Nuestra Señora de la Sierra
Partona de Villarrubia de los Ojos y de las 18 villas que intergran la Orden de San Juan de Jerusalén

A contribution from a The Mary Page reader.

See also Marian Shrines in the Philippines

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