MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino-customized Isuzu D-Max, which was one of the three popemobiles used by Pope Francis during his papal and state visit in the Philippines, will be brought to Vatican.
Isuzu Gencars Inc. Managing Director Edgard Cabangon was pleased when he heard the news.
“In our own little way, napabilib rin natin sila na kaya ng Pilipino na gumawa ng high class, high quality na popemobile. (In our own little way, were were able to show them that the Filipinos can make a high class, high quality popemobile.),” Cabangon said.
The Pontiff himself was impressed with the motorcade vehicle.
“Naimbitahan kami sa UST. Nakamayan namin, nahalikan namin si Santo Papa. Sabi niya ‘beautiful, beautiful car. Please pray for me. (We were invited in UST. We were able to shake and kiss [the hand of] the Pope. He said, ‘beautiful, beautiful car. Please pray for me.)’” Cabangon recalled.
Though simple in appearance, the official papal vehicle was built with superb class and quality. Its seat was made with genuine Italian leather and its red carpet was imported from Italy.
“Labor of love and pagkakagawa niyan. Even ‘yung mga taong gumawa niyan kahit 12 o’clock ng gabi na, hindi napapagod. (It was made with a labor of love. Those who made it worked restlessly, they even worked passed 12 o’clock.)” Cabangon said.
There is also a Filipino touch to the popemobile as its Vatican emblem rested on a ‘banig’ design.
Other features were not mentioned for security reasons.
In December 2014, several Vatican functionaries and the Pope’s personal driver thoroughly inspected the vehicle before it was approved as one of the official popemobiles.
Aside from the customized Isuzu pick-up, the two other vehicles that were transformed as popemobiles were a jeepney and a Kia. All were open-top cars as Pope Francis preferred them over the old popemobile which he referred to as a ‘sardine can.’
“It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” the Pontiff said in a statement, adding that an open-top popemobile will enable him to connect and interact with the people.
With report from Cyra Moraleda