Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Papal Visit: When Everything Stood Still in the Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas!

With the coming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, I'm sure time will again stand still for many as almost everyone will opt to drop everything their doing just to get a glimpse of the next best thing closest in both mind and spirit to the Lord above.

Certain airlines have already announce several flight cancellations reaching more than a hundred for both arrival and departure dates of the Pope so it is advised not to schedule a flight during those Papal Visit dates. But who really wants to leave the Philippines during these exciting times when the man of God touches Philippine soil.

I'm sure there will also be a lot of traffic rerouting plans all over especially on the roads the pope will pass through. Our public utility vehicle drivers and passengers would be needing some necessary patience as some roads will be blocked to give way to more convenience for the Pope's entourage.

With the recent fare increase in the MRT trains, the public is also having double-thoughts if they will choose to continue to ride the fastest means of traveling in the Metro or opt for a more affordable fare using the buses but sacrifice being late due to the unrelenting traffic congestion no matter what time of the day it is.

Having the transport group in a situation where they would either accept or decline a fare reduction for jeepney drivers, the public is also caught between asking for their change, or letting those precious centavos go for the drivers' convenience. It's quite hard to prepare Php 0.50 change in denominations of Php 0.25 coins.

Riding a motorbike is a crazy idea as it is number one vehicle prone to accidents, and you can't use it to carry a family of five! This is such a dilemma as its the most affordable way to commute since both motorbike and its fuel and the least expensive. However, its either loss of limbs or lives when you get caught in an accident. Good thing the Manila Mayor banned liquor during the five-day Papal visit to reduce possible chaos when people get drunk and still decide to go behind the wheel.

So will the public just settle to walk or maybe a bicycle? It would be possible if only there are still sidewalks and bike lanes that are safe and fit for such manual transportation means. Give us back our sidewalks, and provide bike lanes so we could live a healthier life improving our cardiovascular system. I challenge the common people to keep the sidewalk free from vendors, parked cars, and other blockages. I challenge the government to implement bike lanes all over the country.

The demand for Papal visit-inspired merchandise will be on the rise as everyone would want to have a souvenir, especially the tourists who will flock the Philippines to get an opportunity to get close, or at least take photos of the Pope. The Pope did allow a selfie with some teens so it may also be possible for him to give in to similar requests from our youth. Though I'm betting many of our leaders would not let these days pass without some photo ops with the man in white.

I'm excited for the Papal visit and would appreciate if Pope Francis could also enlighten and inspire our countrymen, especially our leaders, to take more initiatives towards a more soulful countrywide development, and advocate nationwide spiritual changes in governing our country by putting love for country and its people, as well as common sense, above everything else.

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