THOUSANDS of devout Catholics mostly from Cebu and nearby areas flocked to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for the requiem mass of the late Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal on Thursday, October 26.
As early as 6 a.m., Cebuanos from different walks of life were already lining up outside the church. By 7 a.m., the Cathedral was opened to usher those who will attend the mass at 9 a.m.
As of midnight Wednesday, October 25, the church was closed to the public to prepare for the burial rites.
Police and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office have estimated about 10,000 people in attendance, starting from Plaza Independencia to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, with about 7,000 inside the church as of Thursday morning.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its morning forecast that Cebu will have cloudy skies and scattered rains and thunderstorms.
WEATHER FORECAST: Cebu and the rest of Visayas and Palawan will have cloudy skies with scattered rains and thunderstorms.
— SunStar Philippines (@sunstaronline) October 26, 2017
But Cebuanos and admirers of the late cardinal are not going to let the weather stop them from attending his funeral.
A video time lapse at the balcony of the Cathedral before the start of the mass is seen below.
The videos below show the situation of the streets beside and near the Cathedral before the start of the mass. People, since Wednesday night, continue to gather at the Cathedral to pay their last respects to the man whom many Cebuanos consider a peacemaker and kind Prince of the Roman Catholic church of Cebu.
By early morning Thursday, those who want to see the cardinal, including grandmothers carrying framed photographs of the late cardinal, braved the morning sun and long queue.
Leading political figures in Cebu, including former Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan, Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia, Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas, former representative Antonio Cuenco, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, former Cebu City mayor Mike Rama, and Cebu City councilors were seen inside the church.
Cebuana philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung was also spotted sitting beside Garcia.
Members of the family of Cardinal Vidal were seated in the front row led by the Cardinal's brother Juanito.
Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña greeted Representative Garcia after their paths crossed inside Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for the requiem mass of Cardinal Vidal.
Cebu City Police Officer Director Joel Doria talked of the security preparations for the funeral procession.
October 26 was declared a holiday in Cebu by President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photos and videos by Justin K. Vestil, Johanna Marie Bajenting, Razel Cuizon, Alex Badayos of SunStar Cebu/Herty Lopez, Alan Tangcawan of Superbalita Cebu/VLA/SunStar Philippines)