Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval

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Patron-Saints of the Philippines
Name: Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval
Description: Patroness of the Philippine Navy
Shrine: Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City
Feast day: 3rd Sunday of October



Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval was the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Spanish naval forces who sought her intervention during the battle against the Dutch forces.


In the 1600s when the Philippines was a new colony of Spain, the Dutch had an interest in seizing the archipelago for themselves. One of their objectives was to bring Protestantism to the country, which was dominated by Roman Catholicism as religion introduced by the Spanish.

In 1646, Dutch naval forces made a bid to seize the Philippines from Spain. At that time, there were only two merchant galleons plying the Philippine-Mexico route. These two ships, the Encarnacion and the Rosario under the command of General Lorenzo de Orella y Ugalde and Admiral Sebastian Lopez respectively, were fitted as battleships against the Dutch armada, which consisted of 18 galleons and a number of galleys and small vessels. Though the two captains were veteran military men, their outlook for the upcoming battle was grim and winning seemed almost impossible. In desperation, they turned to the Virgin of the Rosary for divine intervention and protection, vowing to walk barefoot with their troops to the Sto. Domingo Church which was then located in Intramuros, Manila.

There were five battles that took place between the Dutch forces and the Spanish-Filipino troops. In every battle, the latter's naval troops would pray the rosary and seek the holy intervention of the Lady of the Rosary. The five battles were won by the Spanish-Filipino armada, who regarded the victories as answered prayers of the Virgin of La Naval. The first of these battles happened in Lingayen, Pangasinan; the second took place in Embocadero Strait; the third and fourth near the island province of Mindoro and the last battle transpired in Mariveles, Bataan.

The victory at the Battle of La Naval proves the miraculous intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary. And from then on the veneration and pilgrimage to the holy image grew throughout the archipelago.


The image of the Virgin of La Naval was given to the Dominicans and consecrated in the old Sto. Domingo Church, in Intramuros, Manila. The image is about 4'8" tall and is made of hard-wood, with ivory face and hands. Through the years, the color has turned from ivory to a delicate brown. The Virgin's face is indigenously Filipina, in almond-shape with high-set cheekbones and slanting eyes. The image is dressed in a royal robe like that in the palace of King Philip of Spain. On her left arm is the Holy Child Jesus, while on her right arm is a royal scepter, staff and the Holy Rosary. The image dress is covered with jewels. Her halo ss surrounded by 24 stars, and she wears a queenly crown.


The Virgin of La Naval is venerated all over the country and was declared the patroness of the Philippine Navy in 1975 by Archbishop Mariano Gaviola in commemoration of the naval battle won by Filipinos.

The feast of Our lady of Rosary of La Naval is celebrated every third Sunday of October with a parade and procession both in Manila and Quezon City. Throughout the procession, sweets are tossed around to represent the gifts by which the Virgin of the Most Holy Rosary secure graces and blessings for the Filipino people.

See also


  • Barcelona, Mary Anne. Ynang Maria: A Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Edited by Consuelo B. Estepa, Ph.D. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2004.
  • Zulueta, Lito, ed. The Saga of La Naval: Triumph of a People's Faith. Quezon City: Dominican Province of the Philippines, 2007.



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