by Joey Natividad
Business people are hopeful that with the ongoing Penafrancia Festival in Naga City, Camarines Sur, they can recover their losses from the two years pandemic lockdown and non-celebration of the festival.
Business expects sales up to Php 3 Billion pesos for the weeklong activities, if the anticipated a million visitors spend at least P3,000 each.
Expecting a visitors’ turnout of at least a million visitors and religious devotees coming from the Bicol provinces and the National Capital Region, Naga’s wholesalers and retailers expect jumps in their sales charts, while entrepreneurs in the service and recreation sectors are enjoying the clatter of cash registers, already a melodious tone of profits.
The Penafrancia festival week started on Friday, September 9, with the traditional Traslacion Procession with the clergy leading a solemn procession around Naga’s “centro”, amid a large crowd of pilgrims, devotees, tourists, and curious onlookers.
The succeeding days are followed by combined religious and civic activities, as orchestrated by Church, civic organizations, schools, and the City Government, leading to its zenith on Saturday, September 17 for the traditional, famous Fluvial Procession along the Naga River participated by dozens of colorful regalla of boats escorting the icon of the Lady of Penafrancia.
Naga City, a bastion of Roman Catholicism, has been the center for religious activities in the Region, with the Archbishop of Caceres wielding a considerable influence over the people and City Government affairs.
With the current thousands of visitors turnout, hotels already reported full occupancy despite a 30% markup over the regular room rates owing to the holiday peak season.
The Festival week sales may reach to some P3 Billion owing to visitors and residents spending. An average visitor may spend a minimum of P1K up to P10K or more, if they come from the NCR, and booked at the local hotels.