Pope arrives in Philippines on first papal visit in 20 years
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Pope Francis has arrived in the Philippines, Asia's most populous Catholic nation, where ecstatic crowds awaited the first papal visit in 20 years.
Church bells tolled across the country and hundreds of children danced and waved small Philippine and Vatican flags as the pontiff emerged from the plane and was welcomed by well-wishers led by President Benigno Aquino III at a Manila air base.
The government has declared national holidays during the pope's visit, which runs through Monday. He will be in the capital of Manila and fly Saturday to eastern Leyte province, where he plans to meet survivors of Typhoon Haiyan that left thousands of people dead in 2013.
The pope's trip has given Philippine authorities daunting security challenges, including an outdoor Mass that could draw a record crowd.
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
Sunshine Bridge closure hurts sugar cane farmers
Nearly 20 years after high-profile murder, police break Kassie Federer case; Suspect...
Mega Millions jackpot reaches $667M, largest in drawing's history
First responders concerned about inability to use Sunshine Bridge
Second house fire claims another life this week