The Feast of Our Lady of Piat is annually celebrated on the 2nd of July in Cagayan Valley, to honor Cagayan’s patroness. highlighted by the procession of the 410-year-old Marian image, venerated by the people of Cagayan Valley, pilgrims, and other devotees. Our Lady of Piat is known by several names. She was named “Queen of Heaven and Earth” on 20 June 1954 in a ceremony led by Papal Delegate Egidio Vagnozzi. She is also called “Yena Tam Ngamin” (Mother of us all) by the Ibanag and “Apo Baket” (Grand Matriarch) by the native Ilocanos of Piat, Cagayan.
The image of Our Lady of Piat is one of the oldest Marian images in the Philippines. In his book Historia de Cagayan, Father Julian Malumbres claims that the image was made by a Portuguese sculptor in Macau, China in 1600. Dominican priests brought the image to Manila in 1604. From Manila, the image traveled hundreds of kilometers to Piat before it was transported to Tuguegarao. It was returned to Piat years later. Our Lady of Piat now rests at the Basilica Minore de Piat in Piat, Cagayan (about 45 minutes away from Tuguegarao City). It was declared a shrine on 22 June 1999 by the Vatican.
For more than a century the image is enshrined in Romanesque-inspired Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat, a major pilgrimage site in the region. The Sambali (“war” in the Malaueg dialect) Festival is named after the war dance of tribes that converted to Christianity through her intercession. After the Sambali Festival, the town holds the feast of Our Lady of Piat, whose procession, the Marian Voyage of Peace, retraces the steps that Dominican friars took in bringing the miraculous image to Cagayan, from Cagayan River in Aparri to Buntun Bridge in Tuguegarao.
Countless miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of Piat, who Cagayanos refer to as Reyna Tai Tanap (Queen of the Valley) or Nana Baket (Grand Mother). Our Lady’s image, manifesting the people’s piety and devotion, is a source of strength and hope for believers.