Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes | Binuangan, Misamis Oriental
The veneration for the Our Lady of Lourdes is everywhere in the world. In fact, even in a small town like Binuangan in Misamis Oriental, townsfolk adores her divinity. And every 2nd week of February, her pilgrims break into revelry at the annual Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes Festival.
Binuangan doesn’t only celebrate the Blessed Mother as their patronal saint but also the coming together of many pilgrims to this quiet coastal town through Her miracles. Devotees & not, they come far & wide to ask for blessings, offer prayers as well as to seek healing.
Understanding Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes
As they say, in order to understand Filipino spirituality, one has to know their Mama Mary.
Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes is a ritual of healing officiated by women healer devotees of Binuangan. To add, Patunob is a Visayan word for “to be stepped on”. It is a rite where the image of the Blessed Virgin is lightly placed on the person’s shoulders & head.
As it happens, the folk healer says her prayers, intermediating your intentions with the Birhen sa Lourdes. Devotees believe that the healers’ speaking in tongues or glossolalia is a gift of interpretations that intercede prayers too deep for utterance by common faithfuls.
Moreover, this folk ritual of the Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes goes all the way to late 19th century. The locals found the image by a spring inside a cave in Daang Lungsod of what is now known as Binuangan.
For a long time, the image was under the care of the Salvañas & the Zagados where they received throngs of devotees in their home. After World War II, an altar was built for her where she was found. Then improved to a chapel & finally today into a massive shrine.
Beside the shrine are pools of mineral-filled & quiescent water. Above all, devotees believe it to cleanse the body, purify the soul & cure the sick.
Because it’s fun in Binuangan too!
Pilgrims traveling to Binuangan not only get their dose of deliverance but also fun times. Because yes, celebrating Mama Mary doesn’t only come with processions & pilgrimages but also songs, dances & a lot more!
Among the highlights is the Drum & Lyre competition. It is at this time when schools from around Misamis Oriental surprise everyone with their best marching band antics. Flags, baton exhibitions & heart-thumping drum beats surely wowed the crowd.
And just like in all fiestas, street dancing is always the most anticipated event. Participated by neighboring towns, dance groups battle it out with the pageantry of choreography, costumes & props. Truly, it’s a spectacle of sorts & entertaining.
Patunob sa Birhen sa Lourdes is Binuangan’s expression of their cultural & spiritual devotion to the Blessed Virgin. However, it is also every Filipino Catholic’s joy, as our affection for her transcends beyond reasons as the mother of all devotions.
And to her we cry, Viva Birhen sa Lourdes!