Every October, the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City is filled with pilgrims and devotees for the feast of the Nuestra Senora del Rosario, La Naval de Manila. For more than three centuries this event has been celebrated by the faithful as, like most Filipino Catholics, thanksgiving, a plea for divine intervention or affirmation of faith.
In 1646, the invading Dutch greatly surprised the then Spanish colony that in the ensuing naval battles, 5 to be exact, the combined Filipino-Spanish forces consisting of two merchant galleons faced eighteen warships of the enemy. The outnumbered defenders fought, prayed to the Virgin and triumphantly won. This encounter is historically known as the Battle of La Naval.
The victory was attributed to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the commander and crew of the victorious defenders made a pilgrimage to the Sto. Domingo Church in Intramuros. In 1662, the Cathedral Chapter of the Archdiocese of Manila declared it a miracle.
Upon the orders of Pope Pius X, the religious icon was canonically crowned in 5 October 1907. This is the first Marian image to be accorded this acclamation in the Philippines and in Asia. Last year, to celebrate the centenary of this momentous event, a reenactment was done in the Sto. Domingo Church which was transferred to its present site in Quezon City in 1956 after the second world war totally destroyed the one in Intramuros.