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About UBLA

UNITED BICOLANDIA LOS ANGELES is a California tax-exempt Non-profit Public Benefit Corporation. It was founded in 1974 by a group of Bicolano immigrants. UBLA is regarded by many as the mother organization of most Bicolano associations around Los Angeles county. The primary objective of the organization is to preserve, promote and practice the religious traditions of the Bicolanos. In keeping with this mission, the organization spearheads the well-attended Peñafrancia fiesta celebration at the Lincoln Park near downtown Los Angeles.

The secondary objective is to provide assistance (financial or otherwise) to needy families, senior citizens, disabled or handicapped. Every time there is major calamity in the Bicol region UBLA is quick to respond and allocate funds for relief. UBLA is also seen as a network of Bicolanos helping each other in different facets of life in greater Los Angeles. A good number of members have embraced the organization and made it the center of their social lives. Many have found lasting friendships and even lifetime partners. In addition to the annual Peñafrancia fiesta, UBLA sponsors regular social affairs such as summer picnic, Christmas party, and other social functions


Promote, serve, embrace, and preserve the Bicolano Culture and Traditions. To provide spiritual needs and social outreach. Affirming the devotion to "INA, OUR LADY OF PENAFRANCIA in Los Angeles, keeping our heritage alive for future generations to come. 

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the Sunday after the Octave (8 Days) of September 8 (The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary) that usually falls on the second or third Sunday of September in Naga City. All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from both Bicol and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region. Bicolanos from all walks of life gather in Naga City to meet their relatives, friends, and fellow devotees, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. They will shout "Viva la Virgen" to the high heavens.


The feast day is preceded by a novena, or nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin. On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route. The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from followers in boats escorting the image. When the flatboat reaches its destination, the devotees shout "Viva la Virgen" (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is carried back in a procession to the cathedral. Millions of Bicolanos, year after year, show to the whole Christian world their strong faith and loyalty to their Heavenly Mother. Amongst triumphant sounding shouts of Viva la Virgen, Bicolanos and pilgrims by the thousands, with lighted candles in their hands, will kneel on the ground and bow their heads in prayer as the colorful fluvial procession carrying the Virgin plows through the Bicol River in downtown Naga.

A multicolored pagoda carrying the images/icons of the Virgin of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro will pass through the Bicol River. Male, sunburned devotees of the Virgin will adhere to the huge pagoda in a heartwarming display of faith and devotion. Actually, the fluvial procession marks the return of the Virgin from the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral to her home shrine at the Basilica. Upon its arrival, the Virgin will be received in formal religious rites by Roman Catholic dignitaries of the Bicol Region led by the Archbishop of Nueva Caceres, which is its home diocese.

Considered the biggest and most popular religious event in the Philippines, the Peñafrancia fiesta is, in fact, a one-week affair that starts on the second Friday of September when the miraculous Ina is transferred from her shrine to the centuries-old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral where a nine-day novena and prayers are held in her honor. Ranking government officials, Cabinet members, ambassadors, provincial governors, and board members, mayors, senators, congressional representatives of the Bicol Region, business/industry leaders, landlords, employees of the government and state firms, etc., vie for the distinct honor of sponsoring novena masses and prayers at the Naga Cathedral during the novena period.

History In the Philippines

According to locals in what is now Naga City, a Spanish colonial official from Peña de FranciaSpain (a native of San Martín de Castañar) settled with his family in Cavite in 1712. One day, Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, a son of the official and a seminarian studying at the Universidad de Santo Tomás in Manila, fell seriously ill. He and his family prayed to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, whose picture Miguel clutched to his breast as he hoped for recovery. Miguel vowed that if cured, he would out of gratitude construct a chapel on the banks of the Pasig River in Manila which is now called Paco. Miguel was miraculously cured and ordained a priest not in Manila but in Ciudad de Nueva Cáceres (now Naga City) by Bishop Andrés González.


To fulfill his vow, Miguel (who was the first diocesan priest ordained in Naga), did two things. First, he mobilized natives along the slopes of Mount Isarog to build a chapel from the local nipa and bamboo, at a site by the banks of the Bikol River and not the Pasig as he earlier desired. Second, he ordered a local artisan to carve an image patterned after the picture of Our Lady of Peñafrancia that he always carried with him. Stories of miracles surrounding the image began circulating immediately, beginning with the account of a resurrected dog.


The animal was killed for its blood, which was to be used in painting the newly carved image of Our Lady, and the carcass was dumped into the Bikol river. The dog suddenly came back to life and began swimming; hundreds allegedly witnessed the event. News of many other miracles spread quickly, as did public devotion to the image. A letter sent by Miguel to the Dominicans in Salamanca, Spain in 1712 reported numerous miracles through the intercession of Our Lady. The number of devotees eventually increased beyond the Diocese of Nueva Cáceres, which comprised the Bicolandia and Marinduque, and in modern times the devotion has reached other parts of the world along with the Filipino diaspora. The image is known to devotees by the title Ina, a local term for "Mother".

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I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

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