Again this year, on October 13, 2019, thousands of Filipino Catholics held a religious procession in the streets of the Philippine capital in honor of “Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila,” a naval victory won in 1646 against the Protestant Dutch.
The Battle of Manila Bay took place from March 15 to October 4, 1646. In the midst of the Flemish rebellion, which opposed on land and sea the Spain of very Catholic kings to the Dutch Republic, the Philippine archipelago—then a Habsburg possession—had suffered a series of unprecedented Dutch attacks.
The Spanish forces were able to rely on many indigenous volunteers from Kapampangan who wanted to remain faithful to both the Spanish crown and the faith the missionaries had brought them.
The Spanish fleet, made up of a dozen disparate ships, was confronted with the Dutch fleet, which numbered no fewer than nineteen warships. To win an improbable victory, the Spanish defenders and their Philippine counterparts made a vow to Our Lady of the Rosary, promising her a barefoot pilgrimage to her Manila sanctuary in case of victory.
The battle was won and the vow kept. On April 9, 1652, the Archdiocese of Manila recognized the miraculous nature of the victory, and promised that each year “Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila” would be honored with a procession in the capital. This year again, with clergy and Dominicans leading, the Filipinos have honored by the thousands the promise made long ago by their ancestors in the faith.
The Society of Saint Pius X has been present in Manila since 1992. Located in the district of Quezon City, it has built a church with 700 seats, a priory, and a school. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Victories.