Pope Francis is heading to the Philippines, home to Asia's largest Catholic population, following a two-day visit to Sri Lanka. Here are some glimpses of his trip as it unfolds:

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QUICKQUOTE: 'Just a wave, that's OK for us'

Hours before the pope arrives in Manila, 60-year-old Precy Asistio was staking out a place Thursday morning near the Apostolic Nunciature, where he will be staying, to try to see him when he arrives this evening.

"We're waiting for Pope Francis so we can be blessed somehow. Even with just a wave, that's OK for us."

— By Johnson Lai, AP video journalist, Manila, Philippines.

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FAREWELL SRI LANKA

The pope departed Thursday morning from Sri Lanka after a two-day visit and is en route to the Philippines, where he is due to arrive in the evening.

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COMING HOME TO SEE THE POPE

Forty elderly Filipinos living in the United States and Canada, mostly wheel-chair assisted, have made the long trip home in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pope during his visit to the Philippines.

Catching a connecting flight from Taiwan, they said that while they started out as strangers, they have banded together on the journey.

Pacita Venezuela is heading with her husband and her 81-year-old mother Conchita to their hometown in Tacloban in eastern Leyte province. Francis is scheduled to visit Leyte on Saturday to celebrate a Mass and have lunch with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the province on Nov. 8, 2013.

"It is my biggest opportunity to see him in Tacloban, and it is very emotional because of what happened in Tacloban, it affected my family and relatives," said Venezuela, who has lived in Canada since 1990 and still has siblings in the city.

"I thank God," she said, "that Pope Francis, he had a heart to see the people of Tacloban and the Philippines."

— By Johnson Lai, AP video journalist, Manila, Philippines.

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BUDDHIST TEMPLE'S HIGHEST HONOR

Pope Francis made a last-minute change to his schedule late Wednesday to visit an important Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka's capital, becoming only the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist place of worship after St. John Paul II paid his respects at a temple in Thailand in 1984.

Monks at the Agrashravaka Temple opened a casket containing important Buddhist relics, an event that usually only takes place once a year. The head monk at the temple, Banagala Upatissa, said opening the relics was "the highest honor and respect" they could show to the pontiff.

— By Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka — Twitter: twitter.com/nwinfield

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STORMY WEATHER FOR PHILIPPINES, PART TWO

Pope Francis isn't afraid of a little rain, but a tropical storm is something else.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was asked Wednesday if Francis might alter his schedule in the Philippines as a result of a tropical storm brewing in the Pacific that is heading toward the eastern coast.

"We hope there is not a hurricane, that it is only rain," Lombardi said. "If there is only rain, the pope has no fear of the rain — we see him in St. Peter's Square, he is ready to be in the rain! We hope it is not a particularly hard situation, but we will see."

Forecasters say the storm has maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and higher gusts. It may not make landfall, but will come close to Tacloban on Leyte Island, where the pope is to meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.

— By Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka — Twitter: twitter.com/nwinfield

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SHRINE TIME

Sri Lanka's holiest Christian site, the Our Lady of Madhu shrine, has a remarkable, centuries-long history as a place of refuge for Christians fleeing war and persecution.

Pope Francis traveled to the jungles of northern Sri Lanka to visit the shrine and pray before its statue of the Madonna, which is believed to hold miraculous healing powers.

The shrine dates from the 16th century when Christians fleeing persecution in the kingdom of Jaffna established a sanctuary in the area, bringing the statue with them. The current shrine dates from 1670 when Catholics fleeing persecution — this time from Dutch colonizers — built the blue and white house that now holds the Madonna.

During the 25-year civil war that wracked Sri Lanka, civilians sought refuge in the shrine, though in the war's final months the villages surrounding Madhu emptied out as residents fled deeper into rebel territory to escape the government offensives. At one point, the priest in charge of the shrine fled for safety with the statue, but both returned.

On Wednesday, Francis cradled the statue in his arms.

"Let us ask that this shrine may always be a house of prayer and a haven of peace," he said.

— By Nicole Winfield and Krishan Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka.