La Naval: A special Marian devotion among SNdMFI members
Every second Sunday of October, the entire country celebrates the feast of Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary), also known as La Naval de Manila. The feast memorializes the promise of the people to Our Lady in 1646 to walk barefoot going to the Old Santo Domingo Church for the victory of the Philippines against the Dutch invaders. The original wooden image of Our Lady of the Rosary, which came from Acapulco, Mexico, was brought to the Philippines by the Dominicans in 1587. Unfortunately, it was gutted by fire during World War II. The present image, affectionately called La Naval, was commissioned in 1593 from a Chinese sculptor, who converted to Catholicism later on. It was supervised by the then Spanish governor general to the Philippines, Don Luis Perez Dasmariñas.
The special devotion to La Naval extends to many members of the Sto. Niño de Malolos Foundation, Inc. (SNdMFI). Some of them serve as the camareros of certain santos that accompany the image of the Santo Rosario during the solemn procession. For decades, Ulay Tantoco, chairman of SNdMFI, serves as the camarero of San Martin de Porres while the late Rei Gana Nicolas tended the image of San Jacinto de Odrowatz. Corporate Secretary to SNdMFI, Arnualdo Macapagal, has been tending the image of San Pedro de Verona for many years. In recent memory, the Tengco family of Baliwag, Bulacan, former hermanos mayores of the Sto. Niño fiesta, assumes the role of camarero to the image of San Lorenzo Ruiz. Meanwhile, Manny Castro of Carcar, Cebu, former hermano mayor, has been assisting the camarero of San Pio V in decorating the carroza of the image.
About the author
Assistant Professorial Lecturer at De La Salle University in Manila; Content Creator on Arte Sacra Ph; and Archivist and Editor-in-Chief of the Sto. Niño de Malolos Foundation, Inc.