Hi! From what I heard, the Papal Visit concluding mass at Rizal Park/Luneta on January 18 is gonna be the biggest ever and they're expecting a really, really huge crowd.
I had the chance to visit the grounds today and check out the different areas so here's a guide to better equip you for the mob and what to expect come Sunday.
For private vehicles: I'm sorry but I don't know where you can park, the immediate grounds are off limits and I'm pretty sure that parking at the nearby H20 Hotel and Manila Hotel are out of the question. No parking allowed on all roads leading to Luneta. You're gonna have to park somewhere in Malate/somewhere else nearby, leave your car and walk from there.
Commuting: On the way home, I was thinking that the LRT was the smartest choice but I think they're closed. Not familiar with the stations but I'm thinking Quirino Station is the nearest but which will be closed from 5:00am-10:00pm on January 18.
There's going to be Red Cross stations along the way for those who might need medical assistance/attention.
It's hot, bring water and stay hydrated. I got a migraine from walking around the grounds and I was there from around 1pm-5pm, same time as mass.
While walking around the grounds, we caught the CNN peeps doing a live report. I think it was Anna Coren. Pretty cool cause it was all handled by just the 2 of them. Very impressive 2-man team. So professional:
There's portalets scattered around the area but didn't look like there were enough although I don't know because delivery was ongoing while I was there. Hope they add a lot more.
This is the main holding ground for people attending the mass. It's extremely hot here so it's best to wear a hat. I got really dizzy after a few minutes so...
What to Wear + Bring:
- Ground is a mixture of soil, grass and sand. Wear comfortable shoes that you're okay with getting wet and dirty.
- Cool and loose clothing (make sure its still conservative :P)
- Hat + Sunglasses
- Fan, water, transparent bag
- Baby wipes/tissue/towel/face mist
- PLASTIC BAG TO PUT YOUR TRASH IN
The main holding ground/viewing area is like a labyrinth, there's only a certain path you can pass to go in and out.
And it's pretty far from the stage.
The immediate area of the stage is barricaded, then there's a road, grassy area for tech people and finally, the holding/viewing area for the crowd.
For those of you planning to take pictures:
Make sure to bring a zoom lens (I'm not sure if this is allowed though).
At 3:30pm, the sun is located right behind the stage which will make it pretty challenging to take good photos.
And lastly, be patient and don't forget why you're here.
Pope Francis is the coolest pope ever!!!
Hope this helps, I think I covered everything, if you've got questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me @sarahtirona
#PopeFrancis #PopeFrancisPH #PapalVisit