This is the day we’ve all been waiting for: Pope Francis, the People’s Pope, has finally arrived in the Philippines! Since we are one of the only two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia, the government naturally pulled all stops to ensure that the Papal visit will be a safe and memorable one, starting with an en grande welcome befitting his status as a religious rock star.
Read on for the highlights of his arrival!
Pope Francis arrived in Manila via Sri Lankan airlines flight UL4111 , which landed at Villamor Airbase at 5:32 p.m. The plane was originally scheduled to arrive at around 5:21, but it looks like His Holiness isn’t immune from delayed flights. See, we have something in common with the Pope!
Church bells around the Philippines tolled when Pope Francis’ plane landed in the Philippines. Did your parish join in the fun?
Image via Rabosajr on Wikimedia
The Pope peeked out of the plane’s window twice to look at the 3,000-strong crowd while waiting to disembark, giving the thousands of Pinoys glued to their TV screens a glimpse of the Papal smile. Ang exciting!
After a few minutes, the plane door finally opened, and Pope Francis stepped out and breathed in Manila’s smoggy air at exactly 5:58 PM. Bienvenido, Papa Francisco!
Video via Rappler
The Pope had a minor wardrobe malfunction when his skullcap, also known as a zuchetta or a calotte, was blown away by the wind mere seconds after he stepped off the plane. After failing to save it, he simply smiled and went down the steps sans headwear. Nice to know that the head of the Roman Catholic church takes moments like that in stride.
Pope Francis was greeted by President Aquino, who broke protocol by joining the VVIP welcoming committee, which is usually headed by the Veep. The Pope and the President stood side-by-side on the red carpet for the Vatican and Philippine anthems. When “Lupang Hinirang” was playing, another holy gust (get it?!) caused the Pope’s robe to flap over his face.
A girl and a boy from a home for street children were given the honor of handing flowers to the Pope on the tarmac. Pope Francis embraced them in return, giving the two lucky kids an amazing story to tell their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Image via Rappler
12 members of PNoy’s cabinet, handpicked by the President himself, and 12 prelates formed Pope Francis’ welcoming committee. We bet some of those government officials think they’ll get absolved from their corrupt doings by kissing the Pope’s ring.
Image via Eric De Castro/Reuters (Ph.news.yahoo)
Around 1,000 students from the Diocese of Paranaque were chosen to perform during Pope Francis’ red carpet walk. The Pope may not have gotten the chance to watch them, but at least God and Jesus saw their performance, and that’s really what matters, right?
It only took 38 minutes for Pope Francis’ motorcade to go from Villamor Airbase to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, where His Holiness will stay. The Popemobile was supposed to run at 10-20 kph, but it sure looked like it was zooming through the crowd-lined streets. Perfectly understandable as an open-air car, a dense crowd of thousands, and low visibility make for a security nightmare. Then again, nature might just be calling the driver (if you know what we mean).