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Cebu News Digest: Jan. 16, 2015: Pope Francis arrives in the Philippines; commemorative papal coins out; Sibonga steel bridge opens

Pope Francis arrived to a massive Filipino welcome yesterday. People lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of him as he rode on his popemobile from the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to the Apostolic Nunciature on Quirino Ave.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, meanwhile, has issued P50 and P500 commemorative papal coins.

Here are the top news stories for today, Jan. 16, 2015:

Pope Francis arrives in the Philippines

Pope Francis arrived in the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia and third largest in the world for a five-day apostolic visit yesterday afternoon. Estimates of the crowd that welcomed him varied from 1 million to 3 million, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Church bells tolled throughout the country to welcome the widely popular leader of the Catholic Church.

Seconds after Pope Francis appeared at the top of the plane’s steps, a gust of wind blew away his papal skullcap. He smiled and descended the steps, without his hat.

ROCKSTAR POPE. Pope Francis smiles at the huge crowd thatl ined up to welcome him. (Philippine News Agency photo)
ROCK STAR POPE. The widely popular Pope Francis smiles at the huge crowd that lined up to welcome him. (Philippine News Agency photo)

The pope was welcomed by President Benigno Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar Binay and top Cabinet officials. He was then brought on his popemobile to the Apostolic Nunciature on Quirino Ave., passing streets lined with people.

“The visit comes at that point when people would really be helped by a moral and spiritual boost coming from someone who really cares.” — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

AFP prepares contingency plan if Pope makes a detour to Cebu

The weather bureau said Tropical Storm Amang would either make landfall in Legazpi City or in Eastern Visayas. Al Quiblat of Pag-asa Mactan said that if Amang makes landfall in Legaspi City, Tacloban and Cebu will be hardly affected.

Officials fear the storm will jeopardize Pope Francis’s visit in Tacloban tomorrow. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Cebu is ready if Pope Francis decides to drop by.

The Central Command of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, has made preparations for the possibility Pope Francis would be diverted to Cebu by the storm.

“We have a contingency plan.” — Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar, commander of Centcom.

Papal coins out

Photo taken from the BSP website.
Photo taken from the BSP website.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will issue limited edition P50 and P500 papal coins to honor Pope Francis’s visit to the country.

The P50 coin for Pope Francis is made of nickel brass and will be sold for P100. The P500 coin is made of Nordic gold with gold plating. The coins can be ordered through the BSP website. Those who want to reserve coins can download forms from the site and email these to the BSP. Reservation will be accepted only until the end of June 2015.

“Both P50 and P500 coins are legal tender and will be sold for P100 and P1,000, respectively, to cover production, packaging and other costs. The coins are minted under a licensing agreement with the Vatican.” — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Sun.Star Cebu: Papal coins out

Other papal visit stories

Meanwhile…

Sun.Star Cebu: Sinulog Mobile Guide released for free download
(Disclosure: this is our project)

Temporary steel bridge in Sibonga scheduled to open today

Buses and other vehicles can now take their normal route going south with the opening of the temporary steel bridge in Dumlog, Sibonga at 3 p.m. today. The bridge has two lanes and a capacity of 20 tons.

The approach of the Dumlog Bridge, which connects Argao and Sibonga, collapsed after flash floods caused by tropical storm Seniang.

Other stories

“This year is a functional, operational, confrontation, conflicting, implementing, creating and integrating of projects and programs for our administration.” — Mayor Michael Rama as quoted by The Freeman.

“Ang akong pag-veto is justifiable. Fair lang siguro sa akoa kay klaro man gyud kaayo ang ilang paglaslas sa akoang budget. Sobra pa man sa katunga ang paglaslas sa akoang budget.” — Mayor Johnny de los Reyes

Business headlines

Parting shot…

We published a food feature on the native dishes served in Marco Polo’s Sugbusog 2015. Do check it out: From humba to kan-on mais and saang, Cafe Marco buffet features Cebuano fiesta fare in Sugbusog 2015

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By Max Limpag

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since 1999 and twice won the Philippine Blog Awards for technology and sports. He co-founded the new media start-up InnoPub Media.