In our Bacolod adventure, we first stopped in The Pope John Paul II Tower since it is the nearest tourist destination in the hotel we attended, which is the L’Fisher Hotel. And to add on that, I think, it is the only tourist destination in Bacolod City that we visited because most attractions of Negros Occidental were located in its neighboring towns like Silay, Talisay and Murcia. Going back to this papal tower, I think, its name is already self-explanatory. However, let me give you more details about it, stuff inside and my experience here.
Why is there a tower for Pope John Paul II in Bacolod City? I’m sorry I wasn’t informed that during Pope John Paul II’s visit in Philippines last 1981, he celebrated the holy Eucharist right at this site. Hey, I was not yet existing that year! But now I know that this papal tower stands as a memorial to his historical visit where he was cordially received by a mammoth crowd, as what its mission vision states.
Before climbing in the seven-story glass tower, we decided to take a look on the religious store slash souvenir shop beside it. I saw an album of Pope John Paul II Tower and look at this! The structure is so stunning at night! I wish we went here when the moon was up and the tower’s lights were lit so we can perceive the illuminated side of it through our naked eyes and not just in this book.
The building of tower proves the strong faith of the residents of Bacolod when it comes to religion. But the people working inside this shop proved that they are not just religious, but also, kind and happy. Their smiling faces welcome us with politeness. Although we didn’t buy anything, they lend us this mask just for our fun. Am I looking good this way? Kidding aside, Bacolod is celebrating Maskara Festival, remember? Bacolod is indeed the city of smiles.
It’s time to discover what’s inside this beautiful structure! Well, each floor has memorabilia from the pope and from the historical event just like here at the second floor, the Papal Chair used as the pontifical throne was displayed. The moment I saw this, my mouth formed an “oh” and I had a wow-it-is-still-existing face.
On the third floor stands another statue of Pope John Paul II. Another? Yes! Didn’t you see his first statue in this place? Well, look at the featured photo above again. He’s the one sculpted in bronze. I actually find him cute there. I mean, he carries an adorable smile in that sculpture. I wonder if the actual Pope John Paul II wore the same smile when he saw the Filipinos.
The third floor posts a photo of Vatican City, which views the St. Peter’s Square. We all know that this city serves as the house, as well as the office, of the popes, including of course, Pope John Paul II. Vatican City has always been in my list of places to see before I die. I describe it as breathtaking and holy at the same time.
We ascended to another floor and we saw Mama Mary standing, which indicates that the Pope John Paul II was with the world leaders, as said on its caption. Like her, Pope John Paul II was declared as world leader. Did you know that he was one of the most traveled world leaders in history? He visited 129 countries during his pontificate, including the Philippines twice.
The fifth floor posts an artwork, a Filipino artwork, I guess, which shows Pope John Paul II kissing a child which symbolizes as the youth. In my research about him, I discovered that Pope John Paul II ignited a close and harmonious relationship with young people in the early years of his papacy. In fact, he celebrated one World Youth Day with over 300,000 young people from around the world. Lucky them!
On the sixth floor, Bacolodenos, if that’s what you call the people of Bacolod, displayed a framed photo of fireworks when they celebrated Christmas last 2009 in this area. I’m guessing that those were the days when they were building the Pope John Paul II Tower since it was inaugurated a year after.
The photographs of the fireworks were the last memorabilia but that doesn’t mean that the tour ended there. Bacolod City itself was part of the historical visit of Pope John Paul II, serving as the venue of the event, and this tower let its visitors gaze at the place not through photos or statues, but through actual view of it. On one side of the tower, we can see the Gumaras Straight.
The other side of the tower faces SM Bacolod. I found this mall awesome because of the bridge that connects the two wings. Although we took the stairs to arrive here, we didn’t felt any tiredness because of the added knowledge this tower gave. Aside from that, the spectacular scenery and the cold breeze in its roof top relaxed us. We stayed here for an hour, I guess.
When I reached the top seeing this large crucifix, I realized that it is not just a simple spot for tourists but it is a pilgrimage center that embodies and perpetuates the ideas, life, advocacy, commitment and holiness of Pope John Paul II, an ardent promoter of culture of life and culture of love. I highly encourage the Catholics to visit this once they set foot in Bacolod.