Jan 152015

On board a customized pickup truck, Pope Francis began heading to the Apostolic Nunciature or his official residence in the Philippines a few minutes since arriving in the country.

As seen in a live feed of GMA News, Pope Francis’ convoy left the Villamor Air Base at past 6 p.m. after a short welcome ceremony marked by dance performances by about 1,000 youths from the Diocese of Parañaque.

Also seen welcoming the Pope were President Benigno Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar binay, and other Cabinet members and religious leaders from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Straight from Sri Lanka, Pope Francis, together with his delegation and a few members of the Philippine media, arrived at the Villamor Air Base from Sri Lanka at exactly 5:32 p.m. 

The white pickup truck, which is one of the three Popemobiles to be used by Pope Francis during his five-day stay in the country, is an open-type vehicle, enabling the public to see him face-to-face during his motorcade.

Thousands of people lined up outside the Villamor Air Base and along the route of the motorcade as early as Thursday morning to get a glimpse of the Pope.

At the hotel where the media center for the papal visit is located, even the chef kept tabs on the pope’s arrival.

The public was not disappointed as the charismatic pontiff was seen repeatedly waving to the crowd with a warm smile on his face. 

Event organizers and police earlier estimated that the motorcade will take three hours. 

Meanwhile, a huge crowd was also seen waiting outside the Apostolic Nunciature to witness the Pope’s arrival there.

Located at the corner of Quirino Avenue and Taft Avenue in Malate, Manila, the Nunciature serves as the official residence of the Apostolic Nuncio, the Holy See’s ambassador to the country.

The late Pope Paul VI and the late Pope John Paul II, who was recently proclaimed as St. John Paul II, also stayed at the same Nunciature during their respective visits in the Philippines.

For the Pope’s privacy and security, media and even government officials were not allowed inside the Nunciature.

The roads surrounding the Nunciature were also closed to vehicles as early as Wednesday evening. Elizabeth Marcelo and Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News

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