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Batangas folk pay tribute to Virgin Mary with fluvial parade

Catholics in Batangas held a Marian regatta around Taal Lake on Saturday to pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary on her birthday. Some 30 bancas bearing images of the Virgin Mary left San Nicolas town before dawn to take part in the regatta, according to a report on "Balitanghali." Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the activity is meant as a gesture of thanks. "We return to God, we recognize his loving rule over us," he said. Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto added the regatta would promote tourism at Taal Lake, saying this is part of the province's tourism program. The report said the bancas went around Taal Lake, even as residents were to hold a lantern show in honor of the Blessed Virgin in the evening. Taking care of environment Earlier, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said the regatta also aimed to remind people of their responsibility to take care of nature and the environment. “Highlighting the significance of environmental awareness and responsibility in protecting Taal Lake, the regatta will move around the volcano as devotees recite prayers asking God ‘to spare Taal from destructive activities of the very people to whom this was entrusted for them to use and enjoy,’” the CBCP said. Arguelles said the fluvial event is not only a reminder to all Batangueños of their duty to protect the lake but also a means of evangelization. The CBCP noted illegal fish pens have been built around the lake to farm tilapia and bangus. It said the provincial government and the Lipa Archdiocese had sought to dismantle the fish cages, which threaten the water’s freshness and the survival of fish like tawilis and maliputo. “We should learn how to take care of the lake and its resources,” Arguelles said as he reiterated his appeal for fish cages to be dismantled and for the re-cultivation of the indigenous species that could only be found in Taal Lake. “We will storm heaven with prayers during the fluvial procession, which will have the two Lipa Marian images prominently participating — the Lady of Caysasay and Mary Mediatrix of all Grace,” he added. On the other hand, the CBCP said the Marian fluvial parade will also be a kick-off event for the 9th National Marian Pilgrimage to Lipa which will be held on September 12.  — LBG, GMA News