By Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban

November 21, 2022

Iba, Zambales

The northern Philippine diocese of Iba inaugurated on Saturday, Nov. 19, a new pilgrim image of its official Marian patroness, Ina Poonbato.

Bishop Bartolome Santos Jr. declared the image during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the diocese at Zambales Sports Complex in Iba town.

The declaration stemmed from a petition made by the Catholic community of Ina Poonbato Chaplaincy under Fr. Omar John Paris, who commissioned the image to be made.

Ina Poonbato Chapel is situated at Loob-Bunga Resettlement area in Botolan town where devotees flock to visit the patroness, especially during January leading to her fiesta every 24th day of that month.

It became a resettlement after the lahar damage brought about by the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption where the large image of the patroness was found half buried.

Santos also previously appointed Fr. Eric Dela Cruz in 2020 as Director of the Marian Apostolate and the Ina Poonbato Commission to effectively promote the devotion in the diocese.

The bishop earlier said that efforts are being made to construct a larger sanctuary for Ina Poonbato, which will be declared as an official diocesan shrine.

Ina Poonbato is the first episcopally crowned Marian image in the diocese granted by then Iba Bishop Florentino Lavarias in 2013.


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