Friday, January 16, 2015

Pope Francis in PH - Part One

Image: AFP


January 15, 2015

After his trip to Sri Lanka, which is part of his Asian trip, Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines, a nation which is home to Asia's largest Catholic population. Millions of Filipinos have been gathered at the Villamor Airbase to meet up with the papal during his five day stay in the Philippines, although he was greeted with a gale blew away his papal skullcap but that didn't bothered his rapturous welcome to the Filipino public.

The Pope said that his encounter with the Filipino public was "very impressive, important and daunting".

The papal visit includes meetings, masses, and speeches in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, as well as his arrival in Tacloban, which was heavily hit by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan two years ago.

When in Manila, Pope Francis prefers to have a lowered security stance just so he can get close to his Filipino followers, but that meant risking his life. The Popemobile he rode during his Manila leg is based on an Isuzu pickup popularized by Filipinos and it's an open-sided vehicle with no bulletproof means on it. On regular trips, he was chauffeured by a VW minivan while escorted by a police motorcade.

There has been a rumor about authorities caged street children to clean up before the papal visit but the Department of Social Welfare denied the report about street children caged in detention centers for the pope's visit as the government doesn't cage children and they play a role in the papal visit.

During the papal visit, PAGASA reports that Tropical Storm Amang/Mekkhala has gained strength and is expected to make landfall in the capital this Sunday, when the Pope plans an open-air mass for the Filipino public. The Filipinos are very defiant that they will brave the harsh conditions just to see the Pope during his stay.

If that wasn't enough, signal interference during the papal visit turned harsh, meaning social media during Pope Francis' stay in the Philippines is not like a walk in the park. That's because Globe Telecom and Smart Communications disrupted their services in accordance of the National Telecommunications Commission and they're working on this situation during the papal visit.

With the first day done, the Pope's looking forward during his four remaining days on his PH visit.

Further reading:
1) http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DISPATCHB-4261
2) http://www.interaksyon.com/article/103095/pope-on-pinoys--1st-encounter-was-very-impressive-important-and-daunting
3) http://abcnews.go.com/International/pope-francis-loses-hat-philippines-arrival/story?id=28240319

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