Viva Il Papa Francesco! Long live Pope Francis! Mabuhay Lolo Kiko!

photo from Google Images

photo from Google Images

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.


(15 Jan 2015) How many times do you think the Pope’s skull cap was blown by the wind? – photo from Rappler


(15 Jan 2015) Pope Francis disembarking Sri Lankan Airlines at the Villamor Airbase – photo from Inquirer

(15 Jan 2015) The motorcade from Villamor Airbase to the official residence, the Apostolic Nunciature in Taft – where a lot of Pinoys camped out on the streets to welcome the Pope – photo from

(15 Jan 2015) It may not be a long flight from Sri Lanka to Manila, but it was still tiring. But for a man of his age, it was amazing to see Pope Francis with all his energy and his smile never faltered as the crowd welcomed him – photo from

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.


Me and my friend Jiro in front of the CCP

Roads were already blocked and people were already walking.


Groups walking along Roxas Boulevard to Quirino Grandstand


These people opted to stay on the island and wait for the Pope – in front of them was a big screen showing the events in UST


One of the big screens along Roxas Boulevard

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).

 #OOTD - These runners saved my feet from being stepped on and getting wet :)

#OOTD – These runners saved my feet from being stepped on and getting wet 🙂

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.


The guy in blue pretended that he is not interested 😛

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.


No more space


Stuck and no longer moving forward


Thousands or Millions? Aerial shot of the people who went to attend the Pope’s mass at the Quirino Grandstand. Photo from Rappler


Thousands or Millions? Aerial shot of the people who went to attend the Pope’s mass at the Quirino Grandstand. Photo from

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.


Lunch under the rain


basang sisiw #Selfie (lol)

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:


My friend LJ is one very blessed person. He met the Pope last October 2014 in Rome. TV shows and News programs interviewed him about this experience. – photo grabbed from LJ’s Facebook account


Here, the Pope crowned the Image of Mother Mary and look who’s holding her? It’s LJ again! This was captured during the Encounter with Families in MOA Arena – photo grabbed from LJ’s Facebook account


I guess, Papa Francesco’s energizer is the crowd. Look at that smile! – photo from Rappler

courtesy of Johannes Eisele of the Associated Press

When Vatican Spokesperson, Fr. Federico Lombardi was asked by one reporter during the press briefing after their trip in Tacloban if there was any possibility of cancellation for Sunday’s scheduled programs because of Typhoon Amang, the Holy Father just said “IT’S JUST RAIN.” Then Cardinal Tagle playfully commented, “Maybe it was just a rehearsal.” Look how happy Pope Francis is, despite the strong winds and rain in Tacloban. – photo from Google (courtesy of Johannes Eisele of the Associated Press)


Pope Francis waves at the crowd one last time as he passed them by on his way to Villamor Airbase for his 10 AM flight to Rome via Philippine Airlines – photo from Rappler


‘HE LIKES IT.’ Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle says Pope Francis appreciates that his ‘popemobile’ was modeled after the common Filipino’s mode of transportation. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/AFP (photo and caption both from Rappler)


“MARAMING SALAMAT LOLO KIKO!”. Pope Francis waves goodbye as he boards the plane that will fly him back to Rome via Philippine Airlines. 

See clip here from Rappler:

Quotes from our Beloved Lolo Kiko:

Compiled by Mark Merueñas and Andrei Medina/JST, GMA News

9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Photo from


Photo from


Biography of Pope Francis (Rappler) –

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

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

Day 3: Pope Francis in Tacloban, Leyte

Day 4: Pope in University of Santo Tomas – Motorcade from UST to Quirino Grandstand – Holy Mass in Quirino Grandstand

Day 5: Pope Francis’ departure –

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s message to Pope Francis (18 Jan 2015 – Quirino Grandstand) – from Rappler –


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