All for the chance to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, Filipinos have been going the extra mile, literally and figuratively.
Enduring 968 kilometers worth of walking, passing through four regions, eight cities, and 32 towns in the process, Antolin Adlawan showed how much he was willing to go through just to be in the presence of the pope.
With faith fuelling his every step, the 66-year-old pilgrim spent 36 days travelling on foot from his Bukidnon residence going to Tacloban. Churches, chapels, and bridges were his refuge for only a couple of hours a day as he marched forward with the signal of a new day.
Adlawan shared that this spiritual journey was his way of giving thanks after his daughter, who is now 26 years old, received a miraculous healing despite being diagnosed with leukemia as a child. He added that it has always been his prayer that even after being cancer-free, his daughter may get to maintain a healthy condition.
As a testament to his unwavering spirit, Adlawan conquered homesickness during the holidays as he spent Christmas and New Year’s Day traversing challenging roads, far from his family’s blanket of love. His dedication was put to the test even further when typhoon Seniang spread its wrath in different parts of the country. Still showered with grace during the peak of a natural calamity, he found shelter at a church in Agusan del Norte.
As people began to take notice of his admirable dedication to reach his destination, he recounted receiving clothes and shoes from total strangers who simply wanted to help him survive the daunting challenge he placed upon himself.
After mere seconds of sighting Pope Francis during his motorcade, Adlawan expressed his happiness for making it to the finish line, saying, “I cannot pick a word to express how tired I am, but if you have a goal and work hard for it, you will get there.”