Our Lady of La Naval de Manila

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary - La Naval de Manila (Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario - La Naval de Manila; Tagalog: Mahal na Ina ng Santo Rosaryo ng La Naval de Manila; commonly known as Our Lady of La Naval de Manila, Santo Rosario, or La Gran Señora) is a venerated title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with the same image in the Philippines.

The Grand Lady of the Philippines
Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario - La Naval de Manila
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary - La Naval de Manila
Our Lady of La Naval de Manila.jpg
LocationQuezon City, Philippines
TypeIvory, wood statue
Approval5 October 1907 by Pope Pius X
ShrineNational Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines
PatronagePhilippine Navy
Quezon City
Feast daySecond Sunday of October

Filipino Catholics claim that the Virgin's intercession under this title helped successfully repulse invading forces of the Protestant Dutch Republic during the Battles of La Naval de Manila, in a fashion similar to the Battle of Lepanto of 1571. Pious believers also credit the Virgin through the icon with maintaining the Catholic faith in Philippines, which has the religious moniker "El Pueblo Amante de María" ("The Nation in Love with Mary").

Pope Pius X granted the image a canonical coronation on 5 October 1907. The Philippine government in 2009 designated the icon and its shrine as a National Cultural Treasure, making it one of the country's Cultural Properties.


The statue enthroned above the main altar during the month of October.

Measuring approximately four feet and eight inches high, the body is made of hardwood in the cage or Bastidor style. The face and hands, as well as the entire Child Jesus, are made of solid ivory. Since its creation, the statue – considered the oldest dated ivory carving in the Philippines – has always been decorated with elaborate garments and a crown.[1]

Some 310,000 individuals led by professors of the University of Santo Tomas, donated their heirloom jewels, gemstones, gold and silver to the image for its Canonical Coronation in October 1907. These now form part of the icon's vast collection of elaborate regalia, with some pieces dating to the 18th century.[2]

Pontifical approbationsEdit

The statue has merited several papal honours, namely the following:

"...Go to the temple of Santo Domingo, to the sanctuary of the excellence of the Most Holy Virgin of the Rosary in the Philippines, to the place where your elders bent their knees to give thanks to her who liberated these Islands from Protestant heresy, to the spot consecrated by the piety of one hundred generations who had gone there to deposit their piety and confidence in Mary most holy...
Leone XIII, P.P. "

The Santo Rosario wearing her canonical coronation jewels and the famed Manto de la Coronacion much known as the Numero I.


Procession before the enthronement of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval.

In 1593, the new Spanish Governor-General Don Luis Pérez Dasmariñas, commissioned a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary for public veneration in memory of his recently deceased father. Under the direction of Captain Hernando de los Rios Coronel, the sculpture was made by an anonymous Chinese immigrant, who later converted to Christianity; this is the commonly cited reason for the statue's Asian features. The statue was later given to the Dominican friars, who installed it at the Santo Domingo Church.

In 1646, naval forces of the Dutch Republic made several repeated attempts to conquer the Philippines in a bid to control trade in Asia. The combined Spanish and Filipino forces who fought were said to have requested the intercession of the Virgin through the statue prior to battle. They were urged to place themselves under the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary and to pray the rosary repeatedly. They went on to rebuff the continued attacks by the superior Dutch fleet, engaging in five major battles at sea and losing only fifteen members of the Spanish Navy. After the Dutch retreat, in fulfillment of their vow, the survivors walked barefoot to the shrine in gratitude to the Virgin.

Later, on 9 April 1662, the cathedral chapter of the Archdiocese of Manila declared the naval victory a miraculous event owed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, declaring:

Granted by the Sovereign Lord through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and devotion to her Rosary, that the miracles be celebrated, preached and held in festivities and to be recounted amongst the miracles wrought by the Lady of the Rosary for the greater devotion of the faithful to Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Holy Rosary.[3]

Pope Pius X authorized granting the statue a canonical crown in 1906, which was bestowed by the Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, The Most Rev. Ambrose Agius, O.S.B.. During the Japanese bombardment in 1942, fearing that the statue would be destroyed, church authorities hid the statue at the University of Santo Tomas until 1946, the 300th anniversary of the battles.

The statue was transferred in October 1954 to a new shrine built to house it inside the new Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City–the sixth Santo Domingo Church since its erection in the late sixteenth century. For this journey, devotees constructed a boat-shaped carriage (Spanish: Carroza Triunfal) to carry the image to its new home, which was declared her National Shrine by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.[4] In October 1973, La Naval was formally declared the patroness of Quezon City, at that time the national capital. Filipino Archbishop Mariano Gaviola declared her Patroness of the Philippine Navy in 1975, a patronage invoked until this day.

During the People Power Revolution of February 1986, a replica of the statue was brought in procession to the Malacañan Palace by the Dominican friars, in a peaceful protest of the state of martial law instituted by President Ferdinand Marcos. The replica was also brought to the eastern gate of Camp Crame, the police headquarters where the rebel forces headed by Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos were confined during the uprising. Many Filipino Catholics attribute the revolution's peaceful victory to the miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[5]

Filipino historian Nick Joaquín attributed one of the red jewels in one of the statue's crowns to an old legend of a giant serpent found in the Pasig River; the local folktale is more likely a metaphor of the triumph of Christianity over paganism.[citation needed] The other crown was supposedly inscribed and donated by King Norodom of Cambodia in 1872, one having disappeared after a burglary in 1930 while another one was simply two pearls adorning the orbs of the statue.

Notable eventsEdit

A replica of the image at the 76th Anniversary of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines in 2012.

The funeral service of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was held in the image's shrine after his assassination in August 1983. Other notable funerals held in the shrine include those of renowned Filipino actor Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004 and Doña María Ejercito, the mother of former President Joseph Estrada in 2009.

Journalist and television personality Korina Sanchez married then-Senator Manuel A. Roxas II in a televised Spanish-style wedding in front of the image on 27 October 2009.

In December 2011, the Eternal Word Television Network featured the image as the "Grandest Marian Icon in the Philippines" on an episode of the programme Mary: Mother of the Philippines.

The image, its church and convent, along with the other objects stored in the complex were declared a "National Cultural Treasure" by the National Museum of the Philippines on 4 October 2012. This declaration is in accordance with Republic Act 10066 ("National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009") announced officially by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and by the National Museum.[6][7]

In 2020, for the first time in the shrine's history, the feast of Our Lady of La Naval was simplistic, lasted for 15 days, and did not involve the usual enthronement and other festivities, due to the threat of COVID-19 and prevailing quarantine policies in the Philippines.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, La Naval de Manila
  2. ^ La Naval de Manila Online: The Story of La Naval
  3. ^ Shrine
  4. ^ Shrine
  5. ^ La Naval Online
  6. ^ CBCP: Sto Domingo church to be named 'national treasure' Oct 4, GMA News.
  7. ^ Sto. Domingo Church to be declared national treasure, CBCP News.
  8. ^ In photograph: Joy Belmonte (Quezon City Vice Mayor), Rep. Vicente Crisologo, Jeremy Barns, CESO III, Director IV [1], National Museum of the Philippines, Senator Edgardo Javier Angara, Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Pietro V. Arsciwals, O.P., Rector "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), and Fr. Gerard Timoner, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines.
  9. ^ [2] (10th)
  10. ^ CBCP: Sto Domingo church to be named 'national treasure' Oct 4, GMA News.
  11. ^ Sto. Domingo Church to be declared national treasure, CBCP News.

External linksEdit