Devotees of the Virgin Mary, as well as art enthusiasts, may well go to the Museo Valenzuela in Valenzuela City this May as it mounts the annual Grand Marian Exhibit.
On display are 68 images of the Virgin from churches and private collections, including the Our Lady of Fatima, the one held aloft by the crowd during the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.
Also in the exhibit is the life-sized Nuestra Señora de la Merced of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.
Now on its 16th year, the Grand Marian Exhibit is held annually in celebration of the Feast of the Our Lady of Fatima, which shrine stands next door.
Devotees of the La Peñafrancia de Naga, Our Lady of Manaoag, and Nuestro Señora del Sanctissimo Rosario de la Naval will also find the objects of their veneration in the Grand Marian Exhibit.
Joining the widely revered images are the La Bambina, Mary as an infant in swaddling clothes; the La Nina Maria, a toddler Mary; and the black-clad La Dormicion de la Virgen, Mary on her deathbed.
The wide range of interpretation of the Madonna also includes those that are distinctly Filipino.
The Ina ng Sangkapuluan ng Pilipinas wears kimona and tapis instead of the usual jewelled veil and robe, resembling a character from an Amorsolo painting.
The Birhen ng Barangay, on the other hand, is frocked in butterfly-sleeved Filipiniana dress with a red-and-yellow striped tapis.
Jilson Tio, head of the exhibit committee, said that this is the first time since 2009 that the exhibit is not pegged to a particular theme.
Tio said the exhibit focused on the Our Lady of Fatima in 2009; on liturgical vestments with images of the Virgin in 2010; on images and memorabilia of Pope John Paul II in 2011; on canonically crowned Marian images in 2012; and on different interpretations of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary in 2013.
City Mayor REX Gatchalian has expressed his support for the exhibit. He said, “Drawing crowds through the years, the Grand Marian Exhibit has been among those local events that put Valenzuela City in the Philippine tourism map. It is as much a pageant of faith as a pageant of Filipino artistry.”
The Grand Marian Exhibit will run from May 4 to May 18. Admission is free. Tourists may call the Museo Valenzuela at 291-0672