MANILA, Philippines (AP) Barely two hours after arriving from Sri Lanka, Pope Francis already sensed something different in Manila, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
In Sri Lanka, the pope was welcomed with traditional dances to the tune of traditional music played with traditional instruments. There were elephants, too.
“But here, we have had thousands of young people, doing also dances, but in a different way,” Lombardi told reporters with a laugh. The mostly teenage performers wore white T-shirts at a Philippine air base and danced to pop music.
“We felt immediately that the situation, the cultural situation and the spiritual situation, is different,” Lombardi said. He also said Colombo is a large city, but Manila is a “megalopolis” of more than 10 million people.
“We feel immediately a different situation in the sense that I think there are new aspects of this trip,” he said without elaborating. The pope’s first encounter “with these millions of people gives us an idea of what will be the importance of the presence of the pope for the Filipino people these days.”