The pakanaug ritual, held every 20th of September marks the start of the 9-day Novena mass in preparation for the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron Saint of Iligan City. Thousands of devotees converge at St. Michael’s Cathedral to take part in this yearly ritual, believing Sr. San Miguel will bring miracles in their lives. Devotees try their best to touch, kiss and wipe the statue of San Miguel using a piece of cloth to later be used as a lucky charm or to heal or bless their sick family members.
The ritual have evolved through the years. At present, only designated devotees are involved in actually bringing down the statue of San Miguel from the altar unlike before when the City Mayor and some city councilors participate in the ritual.
A day before the “pakanaug”, the statue of San Miguel is cleansed by devotees by washing him with water and then replace his vestments with new ones. During the washing, people bring in bottles hoping to get a portion of the water used in the washing, in the belief that it is miraculous and will cure people with ailments when they drink it. This year, the church no longer allows the water to be given away to the people saying it’s not miraculous and discouraged the people from drinking it.