Vilma leads Papal welcome

Edgar O. Cruz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - “Sa akin bilang artist, nagsisilbi si Pope Francis as inspiration,” Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto enthusiastically welcomes the Papal visit. She knows too well what the visit brings: “Bukod sa respeto sa religion, napakalawak ng pag-iisip at pang-unawa niya para subuking intindihin ang totoong buhay ng tao lalo na sa modernong panahon!”

Pope Francis refuses to be garbed in princely garments and prefers common transportation to go to work to align himself with the common people. Such acts bring Catholics — including gays and pro-abortionists — into the fold of the Church. “Isa si Pope Francis na ehemplo ng pagpapakumbaba na dapat matularan sa aming industriya!” Gov. Vilma proclaims.

Inspiration begets inspiration. This motivated visual artist Dante Hipolito to paint Gov. Vilma with Pope Francis in the 29” x 24” oil on canvas titled Salubong. A distinct style of vibrant rural realism, it follows Pope Francis’ didactic intentions.

Dante did this by redefining art, what he terms as Composite Realism, which is the smooth interplay of filmmaking elements of production design, photography and digital art based on his experience in stage production and advertising. Thus, he creates a distinctively exuberant depictions of country life on their basic principles.

In an ambiance of rural peace and prosperity, Dante shows Gov. Vilma as a farmer leading stars (from left) Gary Valenciano, Sen. Grace Poe, Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Coco Martin and Kris Aquino who are also costumed as country people in the festive welcome.

(Note: View Salubong at ARTleadoff 2015 group show from Jan. 25 to Feb. 20 at Galeria de las Islas of the Silahis Center, Luna St. Intramuros, Manila.)

 Other entertainers are passionate about Pope Francis’ visit as well. Jamie Rivera praises his humility and compassion in her song We Are All God’s Children. Rita Avila wrote the inspirational books The Invisible Wings and 8 Ways to Comfort with Grace and sent them as gifts to Pope Francis.

Dingdong, on the other hand, believes Filipinos will also be brought closer to God by Pope Francis’ apostolic visit including himself, new wife Marian and, for that matter, all our entertainers.

“Ibang klase siya. He brings with him new hope with his understanding that Catholicism is not the Church but its faithful,” the actor reasons out.

He goes on to explain what makes Pope Francis different: “Hindi doctrine ang gumagabay sa kanya kundi papaano ang doktrina nito ay maiintindihan ng tao at lalong maglalapit sa kanila sa Diyos at sa Kanyang Simbahan.”

But Dingdong will not be able to witness the visiting Pope’s activities because Marian and him will be on their honeymoon in Europe. “We know we’ll be blessed by him as he will bless all Filipinos,” he assures.

For sure, Pope Francis’ visit has blessed us, bringing a new spirituality, even among entertainers.

Perhaps, one of the most blessed in the country is Vic Sotto. “Dami kong blessings this year. Blessing ang maging senior citizen. May senior citizen card na ako. May 20-percent discount na ako sa restaurants. Libre akong makakapanood ng My Big Bossing sa Makati,” Vic shares.

“Pero Eat, Bulaga! is my biggest blessing. Hindi biro ang abutin kami ng 36 years sa TV. But sa tingin ko, ang biggest blessing ay darating pa this year,” alluding to his official entry to the 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival. But he twisted, “Ang magpasaya ng tao nitong Pasko is my biggest blessing.”

Asked what blessing in 2015 he will seek from Pope Francis upon his arrival, he replied, “Wala na para sa akin. Sana i-bless niya ang mga biktima ng Supertyphoon Yolanda.”

Believe it or not, even Robin Padilla, who is Muslim and who thinks of himself as a revolutionary, identifies with Pope Francis. He thinks of the papal visit in positive terms, “Gustong-gusto ko siyang pumunta sa Pilipinas kasi he’s pro-poor at rebolusyonaryo.”

Robin hopes, “Sana maimpluwensyahan niya ang mga politiko.” He is against the corruption brought about by capitalism, and many other actions and declarations not consistent with religious doctrines.

In many ways, our entertainers have turned people for others.

However, rapper Abra, 26, thinks differently, “Hindi ako interested sa visit niya. Hindi ko man inaatake ang religion sa aking kanta, hindi ko tinatago na against ako sa mga organisasyon na mapagsamantala. Hindi iilan ang nag-complain na biktima ng mga paring pedophile,” the rapper intones.

In fairness to Pope Francis, he does not deny the charges of sexual attraction to prepubescent children against some Catholic priests.

When asked if he is willing to rap a Pope Francis-themed song, Abra categorically replied, “Hindi.”

A Catholic, Abra’s alienation tells of the youth’s loss of faith. When sketchily informed about Pope Francis’ mission, the rapper strikes a conciliatory note, “Malay natin I will be blessed.”

As Pope Francis’ love is universal, our entertainers have claimed his blessing.

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