popeHis Holiness Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines for a State Visit and Apostolic Journey held from 15-19 January 2015. On the second day of his stay, 16 January 2015, Pope Francis visited Malacañang.

As the Pope arrived at 9:21 in the morning, a welcome ceremony led by His Excellency, the President, was hosted at the Kalayaan Grounds. The charismatic pontiff and head of the Vatican was accorded full military honors which included a 21-gun salute. The event was witnessed by members of the President’s Cabinet, the personnel of the Office of the President and other guests who relentlessly waved hand-held Philippine and Vatican flags. It was clear that every person present was enthralled, not only to see Pope Francis in person, but also to feel the very presence of the Vicar of Christ.

The Pope then proceeded to sign the official Guestbook as he was accompanied by the President. A general audience of the Pope with senior Philippine Government officials then ensued in the Rizal Ceremonial Hall where members of the diplomatic corps were also in attendance. His Holiness then delivered a most meaningful and inspirational message for government officials.