Snap that historic photo of Pope Francis: Check out papal routes
MANILA, Philippines–Still haven’t seen the Vicar of Christ?
If you’re not among the tens of thousands of people who were able to snap photos of Pope Francis up close, you still have Sunday and Monday to capture the images of the amiable leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics.
Authorities have made public the routes of the Pontiff’s convoy to and from the venues of his activities in Metro Manila, including the Mass on Sunday in Quirino Grandstand at Luneta Park, Manila, which is expected to draw millions of people from all over the country and abroad.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas reminded the public on Saturday to take note of the government’s advisory about the roads that will be closed to traffic for the Pope’s event in Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park and the midmorning gathering of the youth at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) on España Boulevard in Manila.
“We urge the people to continue to cooperate with the authorities. Let’s help one another to make the (remaining days) of the Pope’s visit a success,” Roxas said in a press conference at Aloha Hotel.
Since his arrival on Thursday, huge crowds had turned up along the streets of Manila to catch a glimpse of the Pope, many of them waiting for several hours with their friends and families.
Despite being separated by concrete barricades, steel fences and phalanxes of policemen, the well-wishers eagerly shouted Francis’ name in jubilation every time his convoy passed by.
Thousands had also camped out outside the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue in Malate, Manila, where Francis had been staying.
Editha Pallorina, 72, traveled with her family from Cainta, Rizal, and walked several kilometers to find a spot on Roxas Boulevard where they could get as close as possible to the Holy Father’s motorcade.
Pallorina’s younger sister, Pacita Penaranda, flew all the way from Canada to personally experience the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Holy Father in flesh.
“We all have our personal prayers and intentions. Just seeing Pope Francis on television was already a hair-raising experience. How much more if I see him up close?” Pallorina said.
About two hours later, the elderly woman got her wish as she stood just two meters away from Francis’ convoy as it passed through the corner of Quirino Avenue and Roxas Boulevard on its way to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City to attend the gathering of families.
An ecstatic Pallorina cried with joy, clutching in her hands a brown handkerchief, which she waved at the Pontiff.
“I’m very happy. I can’t explain the happiness I feel right now. It’s so overwhelming,” she said, wiping away her tears with the handkerchief.
The streets around the nunciature had been closed to all kinds of vehicle. The Philippine National Police (PNP) had also deployed some 1,000 policemen to secure the area.
As part of the security plan, all the main roads and inner streets from the Apostolic Nunciature to the UST will be closed to traffic as early as 6:30 a.m. for the Pope’s mid-morning meeting with the youth.
The people, however, will be allowed to line up along the roads to greet Francis.
Director Carmelo Valmoria, head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said the lockdown would be implemented until the Pope’s return to the nunciature after the event in UST and Luneta.
“The tributary roads crossing the primary and alternate routes may be opened from the (Pope’s) time of arrival at UST until one hour prior to departure to Apostolic Nunciature,” Valmoria said.
The Pope’s convoy was scheduled to leave the nunciature at 9:30 a.m. for the 15-minute drive to UST.
Those who want see the Pontiff up close and personal may position themselves along the primary route of convoy.
From his temporary residence on Taft Avenue, the Pope’s motorcade will make a right turn to Quirino Avenue all the away to Nagtahan and Lacson Avenues.
It will then make a left turn to España Boulevard and enter the UST’s main gate. The convoy will take the same route after the event on its way back to the Apostolic Nunciature.
Valmoria has warned that all vehicles parked along the routes of the convoy would be towed.
Since all major roads will be closed down, the PNP urged the pilgrims to just leave their vehicles in designated parking areas.
If you’re coming from Quezon City, you should take Quezon Avenue, drop your passengers in Welcome Rotunda and park your vehicle in Blumentrit Extension.
People coming from Tondo area were advised to take Quezon Boulevard and leave their cars in Alfonso Mendoza Street.
Those coming from Sta. Mesa district may travel on Legarda Street, bring their passengers to Morayta corner España and leave their vehicles along C.M. Recto Avenue.
On the other hand, pilgrims traveling from northern part of Manila may pass through Dimasalang Street and park their vehicles at the corner of Dimasalang and Laong-laan Streets.
For the Mass in Luneta, the Pope’s convoy will travel from Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue, make a left turn to Quirino Avenue, take a right turn to Roxas Boulevard and then right to Kalaw Avenue.
From there, the motorcade will make a left turn to Maria Orosa Street, then left to P. Burgos Street, turn left to Roxas Boulevard and make another right turn to South Drive on the way to the Ocean Park near the Quirino Grandstand.