Since the release of our first issue back in October 2017, My Pope Philippines has maintained a loyal set of readers—a proof of Pope Francis’ appeal to people of all ages and walks of life.
Even to this day, that readership has been growing, especially now that My Pope Philippines has completely shifted from print to digital. Constantly updated with relevant news and visual-heavy content, the My Pope Philippines website and social media accounts give an even wider audience instant access to the latest trends and all things Pope Francis. In fact, just last September, the Facebook page achieved a milestone of 60,000 likes! (Read: Vatican Launches Campaign to Promote Appreciation for the Elderly)
In celebration of My Pope Philippines’ third year anniversary, we ask three of our most loyal readers about how they came upon the magazine, what they love about it (and Pope Francis!), and their thoughts on its going digital.
We Asked a My Pope Reader: Marelyn Tuibeo, 42
Marelyn Tuibeo, a marketing representative of De Poli Bell Italy, describes herself as a “super fan” of Pope Francis. In fact, in 2015, she was among the millions of Filipinos who flocked to Manila and braved the heavy rains to attend Lolo Kiko’s Mass celebration. “We waited for him patiently under the rain,” says Marelyn. “It was the best experience I ever had. His smile brought great comfort and happiness to us.”
Her love for Pope Francis was what enabled Marelyn to immediately spot a copy of My Pope Philippines in National Bookstore in 2017. “But I didn’t have the budget for it at the time,” she says. Eventually, Marelyn did get a copy of the magazine, and has been hooked on it ever since—even when her monthly source of inspiration shifted from print to digital during the pandemic. (Read: 10 Things Pope Francis and Saint Francis Share in Common)
“We’re in the digital world and the target readers are not limited,” she says. “Students are more on social media, so it’s really great that they can read My Pope Philippines online. It’s a big help also for parents and anybody looking for stories that inspire them spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.
“I like this format because we can read it anywhere and anytime. We don’t have to think of bringing our copy of the magazine to a coffee shop then forgetting it there!”
We Asked a My Pope Reader: Homer Malijan, 23
“The article gave me an idea of what to expect from the film,” says the software engineer from Calauan, Laguna. “I did enjoy the review as well as some interesting updates from the Vatican, like the new guidelines on exorcism, Cardinal Tagle’s new role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the beatification of “Techie Saint” Carlo Acutis, and others,” he says.
“I also find myself scanning through the food and recipe section of the website for new and exciting recipes…I always look forward to more easy recipes I can try during the quarantine,” Homer adds.
A proud fan of Pope Francis, Homer says he has a lot of things that he’d like to tell Lolo Kiko should he be given the opportunity to speak to the Santo Papa. “I’d thank him for showing humility and bringing everyone closer to God. I’d ask him not to change, to continue being an inspiration to everyone, and to keep pointing the Catholic Church in the right direction,” he says.
We Asked a My Pope Reader: Joni Medina Apsay, 59
The former teacher from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, isn’t the only member of her family who loves My Pope Philippines. “After I finish reading them, I bring them to my 90-year-old mother, for she enjoys reading magazines too,” says Joni Medina Apsay, who buys her copies at Mercury Drug or 7-Eleven. “She lives with my sister, far from me. Most of my copies are with her.”
With the pandemic came the “new normal” way for Joni to read the magazine’s latest content. “I’m grateful that I can still enjoy some features of My Pope Philippines on Facebook,” she says. “Actually, I wasn’t active on Facebook until the onset of the quarantine. I like the printed copy a lot, especially the glossy pages. I can read it over and over anytime I want. I still hope that the magazine will be available when normal times come back.”
Her favorite features? “Stories from the Holy Land,” she says. “It’s my dream to travel to that place.” (Read: Jodi Sta. Maria’s Travel Tips for the Holy Land)