Through my line of work, I’ve met a lot of Catholics who went to the Vatican to attend the mass celebrated by the People’s Pope. I have always dreamt this kind of experience being born and raised Catholic. I was even planning to be part of the World Youth Day next year in Krakow, Poland. So when this once of a lifetime visit of Pope Francis came nothing but a reality, I really have to be there.
Watching him on television doing all his scheduled activities… From his arrival at the Villamor airbase to his motorcade – you’ll be amazed with his energy, it’s like the people who waited for him out on the streets gave him the power to not feel exhausted – thus, when he was out on his Pope mobile, his smile was the sweetest and infectious. I said to myself, “I’d really have to be there on Sunday” — I mean, my chances of going to Vatican is out of grasp at the moment… But he is here in the country, the Vicar of Christ is here.
So I texted some friends and asked if they wanted to go with me.. Some were very unsure… Given the knowledge that thousands of Pinoys will be there. This one friend of mine was so game and agreed without hesitation.
So I’m all hyped up.. Woke up at around 5am to cook breakfast that I would bring for me and my friend. We met at MRT Taft at 6am – took a cab until Star City / CCP complex.
Roads were already blocked and people were already walking.
It was not really that tiring, we were babbling at each other non stop and taking pictures of each other and the other people. I called it an intense work out. It really was (I wonder how many steps I took).
So from Star City.. We walked the length of Roxas Boulevard. Me and my friend photobombed the selfies of other people and they would laugh at us as others photobombed ours. Everyone was in such a good mood.
I was in the high hopes of seeing the Pope even just on the big screen I was imagining myself standing on the grounds of Quirino Grandstand and hearing the mass with my fellow Catholics.
But as we move forward to Quirino Avenue, the sea of people starts to thicken and the happy thumps of our feet started to slow down. Were no longer moving.
A few more steps and were in TM Kalaw — and we were stuck. A lot of groups were going back saying that there was no way for us to move forward – roads were blocked. I started to feel suffocated, the people around me would still want to move forward, some tendencies I shout and tell them “Wala pong tulakan (no pushing around)” — I would just take a deep breath and lean on my friend’s shoulders. My friend Jiro looked pale, we haven’t had breakfast and it was already past lunch time. When a lot of groups were deciding to go back, we looked at each other and we just decided to go back too.
It was raining and we were soaking and dripping wet – umbrellas were prohibited for the Pope’s security – so we just had our raincoats on.
We kept walking back, and saw an empty pavement and we both sat there… It was very cold and we’re feeling our legs getting numb. It was raining very hard but we had no choice. We ate our lunch on the cold, wet pavement under the rain.
The experience? It was very memorable. Though we were not able to see the Pope, or even hear the mass, I could say we had fun.
The people that was able to see him was so blessed and I wish that I had the same experience. But still, I had no regrets. I still had fun because I was with a true friend.
If I will be given the chance, if the Pope decides to come back – I would definitely try again (Im not sure with my friend Jiro..) – but next time, I better plan ahead. 🙂
Here are some photos and links:
See clip here from Rappler: http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/80545-popefrancisph-pope-francis-leaves-manila
Quotes from our Beloved Lolo Kiko:
Compiled by Mark Merueñas and Andrei Medina/JST, GMA News
Biography of Pope Francis (Rappler) – http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/biography#slide1
Raw footages of the historical Papal Visit in the Philippines 2015 courtesy of RTV Malacañang:
Day 1: Arrival in Villamor Airbase – Motorcade to Apostolic Nunciature https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRfMChIsFeg
Day 2: Courtesy call to the President of the Philippines – Motorcade from Malacañang to Manila Cathedral – Holy Mass in Manila Cathedral – Motorcade to MOA Arena – Encounter with Families in MOA Arena https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJqOaYjg-OU
Day 3: Pope Francis in Tacloban, Leyte https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orzsc5HS0gg
Day 4: Pope in University of Santo Tomas – Motorcade from UST to Quirino Grandstand – Holy Mass in Quirino Grandstand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKDmiGmC3rE
Day 5: Pope Francis’ departure – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ja86ojyLmw
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s message to Pope Francis (18 Jan 2015 – Quirino Grandstand) – from Rappler – http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/views/81258-full-text-tagle-pope-luneta-message