15 January 2015
Last updated at 03:57
Pope Francis is on his way to the Philippines for a five-day visit to the nation with 80 million Roman Catholics.
He is the fourth pope to travel to the Philippines, where the highlight of his visit will be a huge open air Mass in the capital, Manila, on Sunday.
Other engagements include a visit to Tacloban to meet survivors of a devastating typhoon in November 2013.
Security will be tight after unsuccessful attempts to kill two of his predecessors.
Tens of thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed to protect the leader of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis is travelling to the Philippines from Sri Lanka, where he called for unity in the conflict-hit nation and canonised its first saint.
Most of the Philippine population is Roman Catholic
Preparations have been taking place for days across the nation
Major security preparations have been put in place to safeguard Pope Francis
The pontiff arrives in Manila on Thursday afternoon. Eighty percent of the nation’s 100 million people are Catholic.
On Friday he meets President Benigno Aquino and celebrates Mass in Manila Cathedral.
On Saturday he heads to Tacloban, where Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people in 2013. He will celebrate Mass and also have lunch with survivors of the deadly storm, from which the area is still rebuilding.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, said he expected the Pope to deliver, either in Tacloban or elsewhere during his tour, a message on climate change – to which some experts have partly attributed the powerful storm.
Asked whether the Pope would address issues such as inequality, reproductive rights and divorce, he said: “His ministry is not to invent new teachings but he is quite sensitive – he wants to bridge the teachings of the Church with the new realities that we are facing.”
In Tacloban, the Pope will meet a group of typhoon survivors
The Church is dominant in the Philippines, where a major gap exists between rich and poor
Several million people are expected to attend the open-air Mass in the capital’s Rizal Park on Sunday.
Military chief General Gregorio Catapang said up to 40,000 security personnel would be tasked with keeping the Pope safe.
“There needs to be a balance between having the Pope meet up with the flock and meeting all the members of the Church and all others who have been invited to attend the public events, as well as at least keeping him away from danger,” he said.
Mr Aquino, in a televised address on Monday, urged all Filipinos to help protect the Pope.
In 1970, a Bolivian painter stabbed Pope Paul VI as he arrived in Manila, wounding him. In 1995, a week before Pope John Paul II’s visit, police thwarted a plot by Muslim extremists to bomb his motorcade.