originally posted in theinnovativejournal.wordpress.com
by: playwrightphanatic and Thelostlabyrinth
Agitation and excitement- these two emotions enveloped the Philippines when the news of Pope Francis’ visit to the country was first disseminated to the public. It easily became the talk of the crowd. Everyone was concerned despite the diversity present in the country’s religion. All of us knew that everyone has a role to play in this and that it is not something that is to be taken for granted. This event clearly posted a big challenge to the country; classes in Manila were cancelled, roads were closed, people were briefed and were asked to cooperate and the country’s organization was tested. The Papal Visit became the week of a differently dressed Philippines.
The Pope has already touched the heart of many all around the world even before his visits to various countries. He was unfailingly adored by the public and became an icon. This is where excitement comes in. Filipinos are utterly enthusiastic and the delight in the faces of many is quite very perceptible. With this, mass hysteria has been long expected when it comes to meeting him. Others even say that the treatment given to him by the mass is the same as of the treatment given to rock stars. People wanted their picture taken with the Pope, be in the same area as he is, touch him, be blessed by him or even just have a short second glimpse of his holiness. Some could not quite contain their emotions during the events. Many were crying and overwhelmed with the simple pleasures of being able to wave at the Pope. Throughout the week of the Pope’s stay, the crowd was always there wherever he went. From the parades, the youth encounter in University of Santo Tomas, the Holy Masses in Manila Cathedral and in Luneta and his visit in Tacloban, people showed up. Notwithstanding the consequences or danger of competing with the crowd and the blows of nature, the undying support and will to go were still there. The number of volunteers was undeniably impeccable too. In majority of these events, it seemed like the crowd behaved well and showed discipline and character. Most looked surprisingly committed. The guidelines imposed by the authority were clear enough for the safety of the people and the Pope although others failed to obey and stick to the rules. Not all were strong conformists specially when the need to look over one’s necessities took over. Not every rule was followed correctly and not everyone tried hard enough to let everything planned fall into place. Some were too eager to think about the others around them. The hype and the surroundings created such tension although there were minimal reports on hurt people, but there was this casualty wherein a volunteer died after a scaffolding fell on her in Tacloban. When we compare it to the 1975 visit of Pope John Paul II, clearly this time, the enforcement of the measures needed for an orderly event became more intensely strict to avoid any happening that might destroy the peaceful ambience. Fortunately, it reflected upon the outcome in the events for there were no major stampedes and nothing harmed the Pope. Moreover, the country, we could say, was prepared for the awaited Papal visit. Performances were polished, streets were furnished and the people were asked to be ready for it. On the good side of the string, we were more than ready.
It is not a secret that the Philippine politics is one dirty dirty game of manipulation and simulation. There are these affairs that our politicians fail to deal with very genuinely. To the amusement of many, it appeared quite funny how they all looked very angelic and sanctified when they were before the Pope. They all looked very convinced with the messages of the Pope about doing away with all corrupt methods and revitalizing the real essence of public service. In most of the instances, there is hypocrisy written all over their faces. The best that everyone can hope for is that they would really live up these messages from the Pope for the betterment of all things. Nonetheless, the authorities did well with making the country look beautiful and alive. The people were safe and the Pope was happy after all. But, we think that it was unnecessary to hide the poor people from the Pope just to create a desirable environment. The Pope came here to this country to give hope and visit the needy and this diminished when the people he came to visit were hidden from him. There were lots of news articles saying that the squatters were kept out of sight from the Pope and it is just sad to think that there were lots of people who deserved to meet the Pope, but were unprivileged of doing so. In our opinion, bias really is a force that can never be demolished.
Roman Catholicism is not the only existing religion in the country and everyone knows that. When the Pope came, there were those who were not so happy and excited about it. There were those who could not care less. Even so, it is quite nice to know that the feuds on religion were quite minimal and were not overly emphasized. Of course there were still those who emerged as complete haters who love to lambaste others and think of themselves as superior. Nevertheless, the number of people who exemplified respect prevailed over the ethnocentric ones. In our opinion, the meeting of the leaders from the different religions sparked up hope for a complete, incorrigible unity among everyone. It might not be instant, but at least it is a start. The meeting looked very sincere as what was wanted. Not everything that was planned went on too well, but fortunately, there were only little distortions. Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines surely is one for the books and an experience worth telling in the future. Things like this one do not happen everyday. Learning transpired through the cooperation of the people and that is what was important. The value of mercy and compassion upon the hands of Christ was the main point that the Pope highlighted. What we are hoping for is that for these values and learning to last.
Photo credits: Rappler, Abs-cbnnews and The Varsitarian