Our Lady of Salvation

History of the Devotion to Our Lady of Salvation

Every year, during the month of August until September, devotees from all over the Bicol Region visit the shrine of the Lady of Salvation in Joroan. The last Saturday of August is traditionally reserved as a special day of veneration wherein pilgrims would walk in a procession for 9 km from the St. Lawrence Church of Tiwi to the Diocesan Shrine in Joroan.

The history regarding the statue of Our Lady of Salvation and the Marian devotion centered on it rely heavily on the written accounts, based on existing traditions, of the first parish priest of Joroan, Rev. Fr. Lamberto S. Fulay (1919–1935), in his booklet"An Kasaysayan Kan Ladawan Ni Birhen de Salvacion". According to the written accounts of Fr. Fulay, it all began in the year 1770, when a certain haciendero named Don Silverio Arcilla assigned a tenant named Mariano Dacuba in one of his vast estates in Joroan (formerly known as Cagnipa). On a certain day, while Dacuba was clearing the hacienda, he chopped off a big Calpetree. After several hours to his suprise He found out that the leaves did not wilt and maintained its life and freshness although already severed in the base for a period of time. He informed his landlord Don Arcilla about it and the latter consulted the Fria pastor of Buhi of what could be done with it. The friar pastor of Buhi urgently called a sculptor named Bagacumba to have an image carved from the Calpe trunk found by Don Arcilla's tenant. Three (3) Statues were produced out of the tree - Nuestra Señora de Salvacion (Our Lady of Salvation) now in Brgy. Joroan of Tiwi; San Antonio de Padua (St. Anthony of Padua), and Nuestra Señora de Soledad (Our Lady of Sorrows) — Both are now in Buhi, Camarines Sur specificaly in Brgy Poblacion and Brgy. Tambo. Before, Joroan was under the jurisdiction of Buhi during the Spanish colonial period. On August 25, 1776, the image of the Lady of Salvation was lent to Joroan with the condition that the residents construct a chapel at the center of the barrio. Consequently, a certain Sotera Cababag was assigned as the chapel's Hermana Mayor who will take care of the image.


The huge Calpi tree was found in Joroan, but the owner of the land, Don Arcilla, was a native of Buhi. Moreover, the Calpi trunk was given by Don Arcilla to the parsh priest of Buhi, who in turn commissioned a sculptor, who is also from Buhi, to carve the image of the Lady of Salvation from it. Thus, Buhi is the rightful owner of the image. However, on January 21, 1853, an agreement between Buhi and Joroan will permanently cement Joroan's claim to the image. Representing Buhi were its parish priest, Fray Antonio Guadalajara and its Gobernadorcillo, Mariano Buenaflor; while the barrio lieutenants of Joroan represented their people. In accordance with the agreement, Buhi will give up all its rights in the image if the people of Joroan made an offering of fifty pesos, and an additional twenty-five pesos for the bell.


During the late 19th Century, a territorial dispute arose between the provinces of Ambos Camarines and Albay. The case centred on issue of whether Joroan belonged to Buhi of Ambos Camarines, or to Tiwi of Albay. The argument of Captain Vera of Albay however, was based on Joroan’s proximity to Tiwi. Vera won the case thus, Joroan was annexed by Tiwi, Albay.


In 1805, a strong typhoon hit the area where a small simple shrine was built to shelter the image. So they moved the image temporarily to Tiwi until such time that the place reconstructed completely. But the devotion to the Virgin were established in Tiwi. Conflict rises between to devotees, one Joroan and the other was the Tiwi devotees. In 1918, an assembly was conducted with the participation of the members. They agreed to turn Joroan into another parish and built a new shrine to a sixteen-hectare land. When the it was completely constructed in September 15, 1919. The image was finally returned to Joroan on November in the same year.


On December 8, 1975, Bishop Teotimo Pacis of the Diocese of Legazpi formally declared the Virgin Mary with the title of Our Lady of Salvation as the heavenly patroness of Albay. In 1976, the Diocese formally celebrated the Bicentennial Jubilee of its patroness. One of the projects during the Bicentennial was the completion of the shrine. The original design of the shrine was the handiwork of Juanito Pelea of Tiwi, but was later redesigned and finished under the supervision of Fidel Siappo of Legaspi City. After its completion, Bishop Pacis blessed the shrine on August 21, 1976. In August 25 of the that same year, as a culmination to the Bicentennial year, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin of Manila crowned the Lady of Salvation while the shrine in Joroan was proclaimed as a Diocesan shrine.

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