By Jean Denzel Almanzor, Green FM field reporter and news manager
Thousands of Filipino Catholics lined up along the papal routes and waited for more than eight hours along Taft Avenue to see a glimpse of Pope Francis before he proceeds to the Apostolic Nunciature on Thursday, January 15.
An estimated five hundred policemen were also deployed in the areas to provide security. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including snipers on the stairs of the LRT-Taft, and helicopters were also monitoring the area to prevent any untoward incidents to secure the pope and the general public.
The people were palpably all filled with excitement and happiness to see the pope, waited calmly and didn’t mind being hungry, tired and sleepless.
The crowd cooperated also with the policemen as they complied when the authorities asked them to step back and not to break the barricade.
Though there were instances when the crowd got a little too overwhelmed that they began to push and step on each other, their desire to see the Catholic head was stronger.
Some devotees were feeling dizzy, but the crowd readily helped them. An old lady devotee even said “Ginagawa natin itong sakripisyong ito para kay Jesus Christ at sa pananampalataya natin sa kanya (We sacrifice for Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.)”.
An hour before Pope Francis arrived, the people began to pray the Holy Rosary, and afterwards they shouted “Pope Francis, We Love You, Jesus Christ, We Love You.”
When the devotees received the information that the pope had entered his pope mobile and was on his way towards the Papal Nunciature, non-stop shouting of Pope Francis’ name filled the air, and some became very emotional.
Minutes later, Pope Francis passed by the people and everyone became emotional. According to one of the devotees, the 2-second glimpse of the pope was worth his eight hours of waiting. “Lahat ng pagod, nawala nang Makita ko si Pope Francis (All the tired feeling went away when I saw Pope Francis).”
Pope Francis arrived in Manila on Thursday, January 15 for the Philippine leg of his Apostolic Mission in Asia. He is set to stay in the Philippines from January 15-19, 2015.