4th time's the charm? Waiting for Pope Francis
MANILA, Philippines – It's Day 4 of Pope Francis' visit in the Philippines, but Fannie Reyes has yet to see him "face to face."
Reyes, 55, saw the charismatic Argentinian pontiff thrice, but on these occasions, he was either speeding to his next destination or was riding the small Volkswagen Touran that didn't allow Reyes a good look of the Pope – just the side of his face.
"'Di pa kami nag-face to face. Iba yung titig. Iba yung feeling na makita mo, kasi laging side view, tapos ang bilis-bilis (We haven't seen each other face-to-face. Looking into his eyes is different from seeing his side view. And it happened so fast)," Reyes told Rappler.
Before lunch Sunday, January 18, she and 5 other members of her family positioned themselves near the Apostolic Nunciature so they can get one of the best views of the Pope.
She said she was only willing to wait until lunch, and if the Pope wasn't back from his meeting with the youth at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) then, she was going home.
Good thing he came back a few minutes past noon, and Reyes had a front row seat to see the charismatic leader up close.
Reyes said she's no longer physically fit to join the thousands already in Luneta for the Pope's concluding mass.
She was not able to see Pope John Paul II in 1995, but she made sure not to miss out on Francis.
"Once in a lifetime lang 'to (This comes only once in a lifetime)," she said, a sentiment shared by others who have endured hours of waiting, sunshine, and rain to see the Pope.
According to police, more than 5,000 people stayed near the Apostolic Nunciature Sunday morning to wait for Francis' return from UST – around the same number in the first 3 days of the papal visit which began on January 15, said Police Senior Inspector Arnaldo Tolentino, one of the team leaders stationed in the vicinity of the Pope's temporary residence in Manila.
Tolentino said the crowd gathered in the area has been peaceful since Day 1.
After the UST event, the next stop in the Pope's 5-day visit in the Philippines is his concluding mass at Luneta. – Rappler.com