2015 Papal Visit - Nagtahan/Malacanang

January 16, 2015

I woke up at around 5:30am to wait for Pope Francis to pass along Nagtahan going to Malacanang today.  It was a rare opportunity and it was only luck that we lived near the area.  In fact, on Sunday, he will pass by directly our house but we won't be here to see him.  That is why I decided to see him now :)

5:45AM - The sky was still dark when I left the house but there were some people walking toward  J. P. Laurel Street and I knew we had the same destination in mind.  Since I was early, I got a good vantage position, right in front of the street where the Pope was supposed to pass.  The taho vendor near me was having a brisk business from all the people that missed breakfast just so they can be first in line.  I wanted to buy too but I didn't want to risk going to the bathroom (where there's none) and miss the Pope.

Smooth traffic

6AM - Traffic was still flowing smoothly at this time but people were starting to gather along the streets.  Aside from the taho vendor, 7-11 was also busy with all the people wanting coffees and hot chocolates to fill their empty stomachs.  There were staff that went around collecting trash though which was good.  There were military men strategically positioned around the area.  It made you feel safe but scared at the same time.

Police deployment

By 7AM, traffic was slowing down because of the arrival of the dignitaries.  Different sized, mostly black luxury cars (there were a lot of Lexus) were continuously passing by and for me, it became a game to identify the flags on the cars. :)  There were also fast convoys, most likely the Cabinet members, who were zooming to Malacanang.  This continued until 9AM and the level of anticipation of the people was at an all-time high.  Whenever someone started to shout and clap, everyone started pushing forward to get a better view.  Even the Legarda Flyover was filled with people!

Finally, around 9:15, Pope Francis whizzed by.  It was rather disappointing that he wasn't in the Pope Mobile but in the VW Touran which was smaller and you couldn't really see him.  I only had a glimpse of him for about 2 seconds! and I wasn't even able to take a picture/video by then, the phone lost all battery.

After 3 1/2 hours of waiting, it was over in seconds.  Some people didn't even realize that he already drove by because they were expecting him to be in the Isuzu Pope Mobile.  Well, there's always the livestreaming and TV. :)

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