Pope departs Philippines after record-breaking Mass
POPE Francis has departed for Rome after drawing huge crowds in the Philippines and spreading a message of alleviating poverty.
A record six million people braved stormy weather to attend an outdoor Mass in the capital Manila on Sunday.
The pontiff also visited Tacloban, struck by a deadly typhoon in 2013.
The Pope has spent a week in Asia, previously visiting Sri Lanka, marking it as a growth region for the Catholic Church.
More than 80 million people are Catholic in the Philippines and the Pope was surrounded by adoring crowds everywhere he went.Tens of thousands of people lined the route of the Pope’s motorcade on Monday to catch a last glimpse of the pontiff on his way to Villamor Air Base.
President Benigno Aquino then led a departure ceremony on the tarmac at the airport where children sang and danced chanting “Pope Francis we love you”.
The Pope gave a final wave before boarding the Philippines Airlines plane.
On Sunday, the Pope culminated his Asia tour with a world record for a papal gathering as he celebrated an outdoor Mass.
The previous record of five billion people was during a Mass by John Paul II at the same venue in 1995.
The Pope said the main reason he chose to visit the Philippines was to meet survivors of Typhoon Haiyan which killed more than 7,000 people in November 2013.