The image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel first arrived in the country through the waters four hundred years ago with the third batch of Augustinian Recollect missionaries.
The image, a gift by the contemplative nuns of Mexico to the Augustinian Recollects, arrived in the country on May 4, 1618.
It is but fitting, therefore, that festivities commemorating the quadricentennial anniversary of her arrival also began at the waters in a re-enactment of the image’s arrival and the warm reception of her by the Filipino natives.
At 4 a.m. last May 4, Friday, the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel was placed on board a white Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP CAPONES (MRRV-4404) and paraded through the still waters of Manila Bay.
Before the image was mounted on the vessel, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto Parish Youth Council performed a dance presentation, Pandanggo Sa Ilaw and the San Sebastian Rondalla played Marian songs.
The Mexican national anthem was also played, in reference to the image’s Mexican roots.
As the image was departing aboard the Coast Guard vessel, Soprano Althea de Guzman of Our Lady of Loreto Parish sang O Sanctissima, a Marian hymn from around the 18th century, accompanied by violinist Noel Galinato.
The Augustinian Recollect Prior Provincial, Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR, along with Provincial Councilor Fr. Edgar Rubio, OAR and the Rector of San Sebastian Basilica, Fr. Antonio Zabala, OAR accompanied the image during the fluvial parade.
On board BRP CAPONES (MRRV-4404) were also over 120 devotees and security staff, and 8 other boats tagged along the sea procession as devotees prayed the rosary back on the shore.
The fluvial parade lasted for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Upon docking on the port at around 5:54 a.m., the Philippine national anthem was sung.
The Recollect priests who accompanied the procession then took the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel out of its encasing glass and brought to some select devotees who were allowed to kiss it to dramatize the Salubong.
From there, the Hijos del Nazareno mounted the image to its carroza, and the foot procession to the nearby Quirino Grandstand began.
Upon arrival at the Grandstand, the image was received by loud cheers and applause by the waiting devotees who numbered to the thousands, and holy mass followed.