The Pope Rides in a Jeepney in Manila

I f it is good enough for me, I suppose it is good enough for Pope Francis.

It was pretty cool seeing a photograph of the pontiff ride in a Jeepney during his visit to Manila — never mind the fact that the Jeepney which transported him was custom-made, as shown in the photograph at the top of this article, which was provided by the official Twitter account of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from the Holy See.

You can see him riding in the Jeepney in this video provided by the Daily Mail.

In contrast to the stark white vehicle, the photographs below show the interior of the Jeepney in which I rode as a passenger…

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

…and here are a series of Jeepneys at an intersection just north of Rizal Park — where Pope Francis led a massive Mass yesterday — recently:

The smoke and fumes from vehicles can be so bad that this police officer — who was directing traffic — has his moth and nose covered. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The smoke and fumes from vehicles can be so bad that this police officer — who was directing traffic — has his moth and nose covered. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The number of protesters who paraded northbound in the southbound lanes of Roxas Boulevard as part of a peaceful demonstration during my recent visit to Manila was paltry compared to the record number of people who attended the outdoor Mass on a cloudy and dreary gray rainy day yesterday. Estimates range between six million and seven million of the approximately 80 million people of the Catholic faith in the Philippines who attended.

Let’s just say that I am glad I did not visit Manila yesterday.

When I imparted my observations of the squalid conditions on the streets of Manila — specifically Taft Avenue — I had no idea just how wretched they were: “Children can be seen living on the streets of the Philippine capital, as they often do in many poor Asian countries, surviving by begging and picking through garbage in vast dumps”, reported Philip Pullella and Rosemarie Francisco in this article pertaining to the visit to Manila by the pontiff for Reuters. “The United Nations says 1.2 million children live on the streets in the Philippines. According to the Child Protection Network Foundation, 35.1 percent of children were living in poverty in 2009, the last year such data was available. Nearly 33 percent of Filipinos live in slums.”

I only spent the day in Manila when I originally was supposed to be there overnight due to a change in my flight itinerary at the last minute; but I cannot help but wonder whether or not I could have helped to at least make a small yet positive difference

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