Pilgrims at the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City wish the Blessed Virgin Mary a "Happy birthday". Greanne Mendoza, ABS-CBN News
EL SALVADOR, Misamis Oriental - Thousands of devotees flocked to the Divine Mercy Shrine to celebrate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday.
Estimated to number more than 5,000, pilgrims camped overnight at the shrine and gathered at around 2 a.m. to pray and sing for the Blessed Virgin Mary, recognized as the mother of Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic faith.
Afterwards, Marian devotees paraded her image around the shrine to mark her 2,033rd birth anniversary.
The celebration coincides with the 9th anniversary of the Divine Mercy Shrine, which houses a 50-foot image of the Divine Mercy that draws pilgrims from around the country.
To ensure the safety of devotees, authorities enforced tight security measures, including the examination of baggage with an x-ray machine.