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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chasing Pope Francis - Apostolic Visit to the Philippines



I'm proud to say that i'm one of the millions of Filipinos who lined up the streets over the past few days to get a glimpse and a good picture of the Pope everywhere he went, even under the sun, or even the braving winds and rain. Everytime he passes by to us, everyone was left with a positive vibe and blessed for the Holy Father's presence and also by his contagious pleasant smile. And with this post, I would like to share you my five days experience chasing Pope Francis. From Villamor Airbase, to Apostolic Nunciature, to Luneta Park, and along Roxas boulevard, I'm patiently waiting to be blessed by the Holy Father.

Day 1 (January 15, 2015) - TOUCHDOWN. Pope  Francis arrived at the Villamor Airbase at around 5:30PM where he was welcomed by Government officials, the President, clergies, families and selected students. The route going to the Apostolic Nunciature was already filled by Filipinos who wanted to have a glimpse to the Pope. We are still waiting while watching on my phone with television. I know this would be helpful to keep us updated since the mobile network was jammed so we are relying to radio and tv signals. And the time we have been waiting has come. The popemobile passes us but it was too fast. I was still lucky to have a glimpse to the pope and took a single shot of him.



Day 2 (January 16, 2015) - FIRST MASS. Pope Francis started his second day by meeting government officials and diplomats in Malacañang Palace. The Pontiff then proceed to Manila Cathedral to celebrate his first mass in the Philippines. One of the most memorable moments that day was when Pope Francis read a quote from the gospel "Do you love me?", and the crowd shouted "Yes". Pope replied with his charming smile and voice "Thank you very much". As always, he was known for his pleasant surprises.




Later that afternoon, he then proceed to Mall of Asia arena for his meeting with the families. He was welcomed like a rockstar!



 

That time we were watching on a giant LED screen in Manila bay, Roxas Boulevard. The streets are still jampacked and everyone was cheering everytime the camera focuses on Pope Francis. It was also a picture perfect timing to have the pope on focus while having a dramatic sunset on background.



Day 3 (January 17, 2015) - SUPPOSEDLY MY REST DAY. I was resting at our house in Bulacan and still recharging from the first 2 days of chasing the Pope. I'm watching Pope Francis' mass at the television and I couldn't resist the tears as I listen to his message. He visited the victims, survivors and families in Tacloban which is one of the most devastated province during typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Even if I'm just watching at home, i'm having goosebumps as Pope Francis console to the Yolanda survivors and deliver his heartwarming message of love and hope.

But due to tropical storm Amang which is expected to intensify further that day, Pope Francis' schedule was cut short. Seems like even I was about to go back to Manila earlier. My original plan was to go the next day for his mass in Quirino Grandstand, but my mind and body told me to go now.


Day 4 - WORLD RECORD SEA OF FAITH. The highlight of Pope Francis' journey, with an estimated 6 million people turning out in the streets of Manila and in Luneta Park where he celebrated mass. We are already inside Quirino Grandstand at 4:30 AM since we are one of the volunteers for the mass. We are truly blessed for our spot since we are near the stage.



Crowds in raincoats waved their hands and their Sto. Niño, and screamed as Pope Francis enter Quirino Grandstand.





Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle hugs Pope Francis after his message to the Holy Father. He said that the Filipinos want to go with the Pope. Not in Rome but in the peripheries, at the schools, hospitals, prison cells, world of politics, etc.

Everyone lighted up a candle while singing "Tell the world of his love" and the theme song of this Papal Visit "We are all God's children"






Day 5 - FAREWELL LOLO KIKO. Pope Francis ended his 5-day apostolic visit to the country. Filipinos waited again for the Pope on his route from the Apostolic Nunciature to Villamor Airbase,this time, to say goodbye to the beloved pontiff.

As we are all blessed by the Holy Father, let's allow Pope Francis' message to touch our hearts, deepen and influence our actions, and show to everyone what mercy and compassion is. And as once said by Pope Francis, "Be 'islands of mercy' in 'sea of indifference'".

For more photos, please check this album on my facebook page:



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