ILIGAN CITY (PIA)–Approximately 50,000 fervent devotees converged on the streets of the city for the annual ‘Pagpakanaug’ procession for the city’s patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel.
Every September 20, thousands of devoted residents flood the streets, displaying their unwavering faith and gratitude to their patron saint.
The ‘Pagpakanaug’ is a spiritual event that holds a special place in the hearts of Iliganons and involves the ceremonial descent of the statue of St. Michael from its usual pedestal to a platform closer to the people, symbolizing the archangel’s presence and protection within the community. This profound ritual takes place every nine days leading up to the grand feast of St. Michael.
𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐢𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐬
Anna Liza Lluch, portraying St. Michael the Archangel and a devotee for 32 years, expressed how participating in the procession from a young age had instilled in her a profound sense of everlasting devotion. She also recounted how she had faced adversity, including a serious accident at a mall staircase that left her unable to walk for five months. Through it all, her faith in St. Michael had brought her healing, happiness, and a deep sense of empowerment.
“Whenever musayaw ko sa iya, I feel very young and healthy. Dasig kaayo ko. Happy ko kaayo sa akong kabuhataon para kay Sr. San Miguel [Whenever I dance for him, I feel very young, healthy, and very motivated. I am very happy with what I am doing for St. Michael],” she said.
Elmer Sabayle Pagamaspad, 60, who has been a part of the procession for 55 years, has embraced a life of sacrifice because of his unwavering belief in God’s role in his existence. This commitment has endured over the years, even as he faced challenges like recurring hospitalizations due to high blood pressure. Through his unwavering faith, he found healing and strength to endure life’s challenges.
“Ako jud ning sakripisyo nga gumikan sa akong pagtuo nga ang Diyos ra jud ang makatabang sa akong tibuok kinabuhi. Kay ug wala siya, wala pud ta [I make these sacrifices because of my belief that only God can truly help us throughout our entire lives. Because without Him, we are nothing],” he said.
Similarly, Hector Ricaplaza, aged 74, has experienced multiple mild strokes over the years. Despite these health setbacks, he believes that St. Michael’s intervention has sustained his well-being.
He initially began as a warrior in this devotion but switched to the role of Lucifer. Hector remains dedicated to St. Michael, vowing to offer his devotion and participation in the procession until the end of his life, in gratitude for the saint’s blessings and mercy.
“Niagi kog mild stroke, pero kalooy sa akong pagsampit ni Sr. San Miguel bisag in-ani akong costume na dili siya, pero wala man jud ko naunsa, wala ko naunsa sa akong lawas [I have experienced mild strokes, but through the grace of St. Michael, even though I wear this costume that is not him, I have not suffered any ill effects, and my health remains unaffected],” he said.
𝐌𝐢𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫
Devotees and residents firmly believe in St. Michael’s protective presence, especially during times of threats and crises faced by Iligan City.
Pura Saladumpa, 62, a resident of Barangay Mahayahay, has been joining the tradition in the city since her elementary school days. She has witnessed significant changes in her life and believes in the power of prayer and miracles through St. Michael and Sto Niño for healing, especially related to her kidney health. Presently, she is active in hiking and jogging.
For her, if a devotee makes a request, miracles will occur and divine manifestations will happen. She continuously prayed for peace to be sustained in the city over the years.
“Naay kausaban sa among kinabuhi, kung naa kay ihangyo, sama kalinaw sa Iligan, mag-milagro siya [There have been changes in our lives. If you have a request from him, such as peace in Iligan, miracles will happen],” she said.
The ‘Pagpakanaug’ procession remains a testament to the enduring power of faith, unity, and devotion of Iliganons, providing a sense of protection, healing, and miracles to its devotees and residents. (LELA/PIA-10/Lanao del Norte) by Lou Ellen L. Antonio