MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis’ itinerary in his Philippine visit includes flying to Leyte on January 17 to visit some areas affected in 2013 by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), one of the strongest storms in history. (READ: Pope chooses Visayas as the core of Philippine trip)
The Pope will reach the province via Tacloban Airport, the largest airport in Eastern Visayas and ranked 8th busiest airport in 2011. Also known as the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, it was named after the former Speaker and uncle of Imelda Marcos, wife of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
It was totally ruined by Yolanda and was deemed unusable. It went back to operations days after, but was limited to turboprop or smaller aircrafts only. In December 2014, it was again damaged by Typhoon Ruby.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the airport will complete its P44-million ($979,334.41)* rehabilitation by the time of Pope Francis’ visit. (READ: Tacloban Airport ‘ready’ for Pope Francis)
Prior to this rehabilitation, it was also supposed to undergo a reconstruction program called the Tacloban Airport Development Project, which “covers the construction of apron, taxiway, and completion of northeast shore protection.” The project was supposed to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.
Among the past 3 papal visits prior to Pope Francis, it was only once that a pope went out of the country’s capital to visit other provinces. In 1981, Pope John Paul visited the country for the first time. Apart from Manila, he also went to these provinces, all in a span of 3 days:
Cebu, February 19: Referring to the city as the “cradle of Christianity”, the Pope visited the Archbishop’s Palace and Basilica del Sto Nino (where a centuries-old image of the Holy Child Jesus was found). He also met with priests and seminarians at the Sacred Heart School for Boys.
Bacolod, February 20: He met with landowners and workers of sugar cane plantations and delivered a speech addressed to them. He stayed in the city for only a few hours.
Iloilo, February 20: He delivered a speech addressed to representatives of Catholic organizations and movements at the Cathedral of Jaro. He also canonically crowned Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria – the only Marian image in the Philippines to be crowned by the Pope.
Legazpi, February 21: He went to Legazpi, where he held a Mass for farmers outside of Albay Cathedral.
Baguio, February 22: He said Mass for the people of Mountain Province and some indigenous tribes. – Rappler.com
Learn about the other spots in Pope Francis’ itinerary:
- FAST FACTS: Apostolic Nunciature in PH
- FAST FACTS: PH presidents who’ve met popes
- FAST FACTS: Manila Cathedral
- FAST FACTS: Mall of Asia Arena
- FAST FACTS: Archdiocese of Palo (Leyte) and the archbishop’s residence
- FAST FACTS: Pope Francis Center
- FAST FACTS: Palo Cathedral, Leyte
- FAST FACTS: University of Santo Tomas
- FAST FACTS: Rizal Park