The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has begun the restoration of the revered image of El Divino Rostro, which is included in the Traslacion and Fluvial Procession of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in Naga City, Camarines Sur, to preserve its historical and cultural value.

Devotion to the El Divino Rostro began in Naga City in 1882 during a cholera outbreak similar to the one in Spain.

The image was brought to the city by Rev. Fr. Pedro de la Torre and has since been an integral part of the annual Peñafrancia festivities alongside the image of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

This is the first time the image will undergo restoration after more than 140 years.

"Ini si first na obligasyon ta na atamanon — we have to preserve and take care of the image which has become the center of devotion to Divino Rostro. Through the years nagkaigwa nin deterioration si painting syempre si pag nagta-traslacion o fluvial na mauran, o minsan na dae man mauran, pero pigpaparasiwagan nin tubig [kaya] nagkaigwa siya nin molds," Rev. Fr. Juan Pablo Carpio, Vice Rector of the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, said.

Aside from molds, the image has suffered disfigurement due to exposure to elements. 

In addition to the restoration, several relics associated with the image are on exhibit at the Basilica Compound until July 3, 2024. The exhibit included a candelabra from the 1960s and parts of the original float used in processions.

"Tanganing for people to have a deeper knowledge on the devotion, lalo na para sa mga Bicolano, ta kitang mga Bicolano bako lang kita debotos kundi kita man [an] garo co-journeyer kan mga Pilgrims ta," Carpio said.