The Pope is here in Manila and the whole country is filled with excitement and love over Pope Francis! I can’t help but remember the time I first saw the Pope. First it was Pope John Paul II back in 1995 when he visited Manila. Then in 2012, it was my first time to see the Vatican and we saw Pope Benedict who was in reign. Then in 2013, I went back to the Vatican with my mom and we were blessed to see Pope Francis so close! All were really memorable experiences. I’ll be sharing my Pope Francis experience in another post as today’s post will be about being part of the Canonization of Saints at the Vatican during our honeymoon.
The last months of 2014 has been so busy that it’s only now I’ll get to continue my last travel entry, Roaming Rome, my storytelling about the Rome leg of our Europe honeymoon in 2012. There I mentioned that we were surprised to find out that our papal tickets are actually an audience to the Canonization of Saints which includes a Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod!
On the morning of the Canonization, we started out really early. We were in the Vatican before 7am but we were surprised to see that there’s already a massive crowd by the time we got there. Everybody was waiting for the gates to open to St. Peter’s Square where the seats are. Everybody was waving flags and banners of their respective countries and saints. There were 7 saints canonized by Pope Benedict XVI and one of those was our very own, Pedro Calungsod. Some of the other blessed saints were from Germany, America (2 women from New York), France, Italy and Spain. It felt like World Youth Day as there were were a lot of delegates from each country cheering on their saints.
There was a big group from the Philippines and we were surprised to see my Tito Alex with the family as we walked towards the Square. He and Tita Pat were our Ninong and Ninang in our wedding just a few months ago during this time and they were part of the Filipino delegates who flew in for the Canonization. We were lucky we got to join their group as we headed in together and grabbed the nearest seats to the front.
The mass was quite an experience for us and touching despite it being in Italian. There was a part in the Prayers of the Faithful that was in Cebuano which made it personal for all Filipinos present. Apparently, Pedro Calungsod was from Cebu so each saint’s dialect had a part in the mass. We were lucky to be able to attend as all attendees were granted absolute reparation of sins. I also brought with us the rosaries and souvenirs we bought in the Vatican the day before so that it will be blessed during the mass.
After the mass, we went on to have lunch and explore Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and ended our day at the Spanish steps and the area of Via Gondotti. Afternoons in Rome can get tiring as the sun gets too hot. We enjoyed exploring at night when the air is cooler. We particularly liked the area of Via Gondotti since there are a lot of restaurants and shops to see as you walk by.
The next morning was our last morning in Rome and we decided to spend it back in the Vatican to explore the parts we haven’t seen yet such as St. Peter’s Basilica. We toured the inside of the church and also went up the dome.
Now, the dome is a different story. After touring St. Peter’s Basilica, they offer tourists a chance to get to the highest peak of Rome through going to the top of St. Peter’s Dome. Since it was just right beside the Basilica we decided to go do that too since we were already in line. It was already too late when we realized we had to go up more than 500++ steps! And these were very cramped and narrow steps! I have fear of heights and cramped spaces so this was a big scary challenge for me. You have to go on and on climbing tiny spaces going up and halfway through I wanted to back out already but there’s no way you can go back down since it’s just one narrow line of people and there’s no other space to detour. So I had to suck it up and close my eyes and stop from time to time as I was already dizzy. Thankfully Ken was with me and had to soothe me through the climb haha! 🙂
We ended our morning with lunch at a restaurant right across the Vatican where I tasted the best Carbonara ever! This was our last meal before grabbing our bags and heading to the airport to catch our flight back to Paris.
So this yummy meal was the perfect end to our Roman adventure. This part of our honeymoon was filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Never thought we’d get to witness canonization of saints much more our own Filipino saint! We were really able to maximize our 3-day stay in Rome.
And as we waited for our flight to Paris, I was surprised to see this yummy boutique of my favorite chocolate ever! A whole story just filled with all kinds of Ferrero! 🙂 And so this is the part where we made some last minute shopping of pasta and chocolates at the airport.
Ciao Roma, thank you, you were great! Until we meet again! ❤