The street leading to the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat was tight. Drenched in sweat, pilgrims were not complaining about muggy weather.
One of the oldest Marian images in the country and most revered by the people of the Cagayan Valley Region, Our Lady of Piat has found a home in Piat following several transfers since her voyage from Macau to Manila.
For two days, July 1 and 2, masses and novenas are held by the hour to celebrate the feast of Apo Baket, a 16th-century black Virgin Mary and an icon of influence in the Christianization of the Itawes tribes of Tabang, Malaweg, Tuao and Piat in Cagayan.
It was one of her astonishing miracles that I did not feel exhausted during spiritual moments some friends and I shared with a thousand other people from all walks of life.