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On the eve (August 27) of the grand fiesta of island-town Cuyo, Bishop Pabillo, as the current bishop of the northern part of Palawan (Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay), will have the distinct honor of crowning the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title, Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion y Correa (Our Lady of Consolation and Cincture). The same image is also appended as La Celestial Guardiana y Protectora del Pueblo de Cuyo (The Heavenly Guardian and Protectress of the town of Cuyo). The solemn event of the episcopal coronation of the Mother of God coincided with the celebration of the 400 Years of Christianism in the entire archipelago of the province of Palawan. It could be said that after 400 years, the Mother of Jesus is now, or has finally (and rightly so), been officially acclaimed as the Queen of Cuyo.

Aged-old stories are told over generations about a woman being seen along the scenic shore of Capusan, which is just a stone’s throw away from the fortress and the historic parochial church. It is said by the town’s “gurang gurangs” that the said woman with wavy long hair would be walking with a young boy by her side. On checking the “retablo” inside the church, the “gurang-gurangs” would later find out that the image of Our Lady of Consolation atop the altar was missing. “Was she the one we saw awhile ago in Capusan?” The old Cuyunon folks were wont to believe it then.

On a historical note, it was the missionaries of the Augustinian Recollect Order who brought the image of Our Lady of Consolation to Cuyo in 1623. This devotion to Mary is intimately related to the Augustinians and to the lives of St. Augustine himself and his saintly mother, Monica. Those who belong to the Augustinian Family behold that it is impossible to think of being a follower of St. Augustine without the mantle of protection of Our Lady of Consolation.

What is rather peculiar to the image of Our Lady is the belt, which both Mary and her Son, Jesus, are holding on to. As told, Monica was in deep sorrow over her husband’s nonreligiousness and her dear Augustine’s contumaciousness. In response to Monica’s prayers and sacrifices, the Blessed Virgin gave her a leather cincture as a symbol of her protection and ever-present presence to the then-cast-down mother.Henceforth, the cincture, or belt, will be the reassuring symbol of all those who follow the Augustinian way.

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Interestingly (perhaps providentially), the Cuyunon word for belt is “akes,” which would also mean “embrace.” Practically, akes is used on our waist to have a comfortable tight on what we wear. It is like an embrace for our physical bodies. Akes could also be like Monica, a hold onto our heavenly destination, which can be considered a spiritual embrace. Furthermore, akes, taken in a communitarian context, is synodality. We need to embrace each other to journey together. Akesan ta ang cada isara miisara para sa kaayadan y ang ateng enggugugma nga banua.

As it is typical to every Cuyuno to endear and be endeared to, Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion y Correa or Our Lady of Consolation and the Cincture has already been invoked as so sweet a mother. Hence, the name Nay Consol stirs now in a soul and rings through each one’s heart.

Nay Consol, igampo mo po cami ig pabaskegen sa ameng pagtuo sa Ginu.

Happy Fiesta, Banua y ang Cuyo. Have a meaningful jubilee, Palawan.

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