The streets outside the Mall of Asia Arena were completely packed with thousands of families, lining the streets. Inside it was a similar scene with about 20,000 giving Pope Francis a rock star welcome.
He made his way through the crowds blessing people along the way, especially sick children.
But without a doubt, the highlight were families. Several of them addressed the Pope talking about some of the challenges they face as a unit and even as a society in the Philippines.
This woman for example talked about how her husband decided to migrate to a different country to find work, and to support their three children.
"The psychological and emotional burdens were difficult to bear in spite of the earnings that working abroad brought our family.”
There was also this deaf couple who expressed the challenges they face in their daily lives. From the need to have a sign language interpreter in Mass to simply having close friends.
"It is not easy to be deaf. From Monday to Saturday, we mostly stayed in our house. No deaf friends to talk to because they live far from our house. No neighbors to talk to because they are all hearing and unable to communicate with us.”
When Pope Francis greeted the families, there were both moving and unique moments.
For example, this elderly woman didn't want to let to of the Pope's hand. This other woman exchanged his papal hat. And since the Pope doesn't speak much English, he relied on lots of hand signals to communicate.
The Pope encouraged families to foster and protect the hope and excitement that can easily fade away in families. He asked them to keep on dreaming.
"A family is not possible without dreaming! When a family loses its ability to dream, children don't grow, love doesn't grow and life loses strength, eventually it shuts off. It's important to recuperate the love through the excitement of every day life. To husbands-don't lose the excitement of being boyfriends.”
The family needs to be protected, said the Pope. It's currently under attack, by what he described as an ideological colonization that wants to destroy the family unit.
"As a family, we have to be very clear, prepared and strong to say 'no' to these attempts of ideological colonization of the family.”
After the speech, the gathering turned into a celebration, with singer Jamie Rivera singing a few songs. In a dark arena, thousands turned on their bright candles to show their support and to sing along.