Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Papal Apps for Pope Francis' Philippine Visit (Jan. 15-19, 2015)

He's almost here! In a few days, we will be welcoming Pope Francis on his first papal visit to the Philippines, Jan. 15-19, 2015.

The last time a Pope visited the country was in 1995, with Pope John Paul II. At that time, the internet was just newly born and definitely, no social media yet. But since the time of Pope Benedict XVI to now, the papal Twitter account @Pontifex has transformed the papacy into one that definitely lives in the digital age and on social media.

So how does the text capital of the world and a social media-intensive country that sees over 90% of its netizens on Facebook greet Pope Francis? With papal apps, of course!

1. The Official App - Papal Visit 2015-Philippines

Developed by DigitalMediaPH, this app is considered the official papal visit app.

When the app opens, there is a slider area at the bottom of the screen for you to choose to go to: 
* @Pontifex - the Pope's tweets
* News - Links to news articles or links from Twitter
* Website - link to papalvisit.ph
* Itinerary - the Pope's schedule while in the Philippines. A comments button shows comments from readers
* National Prayer - English and Tagalog versions of the Prayer for Pope Francis
* Gallery - compilation of Pope Francis photos
* Voice Msg - a feature that allows one to record an audio message for the Pope
* Prayer Wall - prayer requests
* Social Media -links to the Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts covering the papal visit
* Music - "We Are All God's Children"
* Links to international Catholic sites including Vatican News and Vatican Radio
* Notifications - Messages to the readers about Pope Francis

Nice app. The only thing I did not like was the automatic playing of "We Are All God's Children" (and looped, at that!). It was only much later when I found that if you did not want the music playing over and over, you could stop it by swiping the slider below the screen and going to the Music tab. Still, I wish the app developers had made us opt in to the song rather than have it automatically play as soon as the app opened.

2. Ang People's Pope sa Pilipinas

This app was developed by GMA New Media, Inc.Clicking the upper lefthand 3 stripes brings up a slider menu that shows the different options:

* Top Picks
* Social Feed - @Pontifex tweets
* Livestream
* We Love Pope Francis - messages from the people for the Pope
* Latest News - links to various articles

A countdown is seen on the upper left, heightening the excitement of the visit

3. #popeselfie

This is an e-book made by Megamobile Inc (a project by Philippine Daily Inquirer in association with Ayala Land). It is "a visual biography of Pope Francis" divided into 4 quadrants: The Son, The Jesuit, the Bishop and the Pope. Each quadrant brings you to a different chapter of his life, complete with a gallery of pictures and where available, videos.

I've downloaded the 3 apps and will take time out this week to read through the ebook and follow the livestream of the Pope's activities on another app. Unlike the 1995 visit of John Paul II when we went to Luneta to be one with the millions who showed up, this year much as I want to, circumstances won't allow me to be physically there. I will be watching TV though and may have a better "seat" actually, what with these 3 apps on my tablet as well to provide me a more expansive and interactive feed to everything happening during this papal visit.

Welcome to the Philippines, Pope Francis (Lolo Kiko)!

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