Tech tips and safety reminders to maximize your Papal Visit experience

Everyone, please remember to take care of yourselves and the people close to you if you are planning on joining the millions of Filipinos who are going to Manila to experience the apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis to the country. Here are some tips from Smart for a safe Papal Visit experience.

This week, the whole country will welcome Pope Francis to the Philippines in a much anticipated papal visit that is expected to draw in huge crowds in public venues as well as much social media exposure.


Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Sun Cellular (Sun) shared some tips and reminders to mobile subscribers so they can have a safe Papal visit experience.

“While we prepare our networks in support of this historic visit, we’re also reminding our subscribers about basic safety reminders and tips for events involving big crowds.” said Ramon R. Isberto, Public Affairs head for Smart and Sun.

Safety comes first.

It maybe wise to avoid bringing very young children and family members with health conditions to events where large crowds are expected. They can still keep track of the papal visit through TV and radio broadcasts as well as through updates online and in social media. Be in the know regarding the latest news and information regarding the schedules and on ground conditions. For those attending the public events, prepare personal or family emergency kits which should contain basic medicines, enough water for hydration and light snacks such as crackers, and extra change of light clothing. Make sure that all family members have ID cards with emergency phone number contacts. During the event, take note of the nearest first aid or other emergency stations in your areas.

Be mindful of mobile phone usage.

Apart from calling, texting, and social media sharing, your mobile phones can be your handy guide and safety tool for emergencies so make sure they’re ready. Before going to a public event, make sure that your phone is fully charged. If you have power banks, don’t forget to bring them too. Due to the huge number of people expected to participate, it is also best to use your phone for important call and texts to conserve battery and resources. For security reasons, while in the middle of a crowd, you can opt to use your phone cameras and then post updates later to your social media when you are more comfortably settled and secure.

Install navigation apps.

To help you find your way, make sure to have a navigation app like Waze and traffic tools like the MMDA app installed on your mobile device.  Aside from suggesting different routes to your destination, these apps can also provide traffic updates. For Waze users, you may also contribute your own road/traffic updates for the benefit of the other users. You may download the Waze app via Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Phone Store for free. Waze and other apps as well as websites can be used for free with the Free Internet promo for Smart, TNT and Sun Cellular subscribers by just texting FREE to 9999 to register. Make sure to keep monitoring all official public advisories and announcements on which roads will be closed or transport services that will be suspended during the papal visit. Visit for more information.

Install the Batingaw app.

Turn your mobile device into a safety tool by downloading the Batingaw app. This app can turn your mobile devices into a flashlight, siren, compass, and radio, which are helpful tools to send signals and stay connected especially during emergencies. The Batingaw app, which can be downloaded for free via Google Play and Apple App store, also has the “I am safe” feature which allows you to send a preset text message plus your actual location to a loved one with just a tap on your phone.

Take note of the Smart person finder service In extreme cases where you couldn’t locate your friend or family member, you can make use of the person finder service available for Smart and Talk ‘N Text (TNT) subscribers. To use the service, the person you want to locate must first allow you to locate him/her.  To ask permission, text FIND <name of loved one> <mobile number of loved one> and send to 386.  Once you get authorization, text FIND <name of loved one>  to get the location details of your loved one.

Remember the syntax for emergency load.

Just in case you run out of load and there are no loading stations available in the area, you may request for an emergency load from a friend by calling *808 + number of your family/friend. But if you have zero balance, you may dial *767 for SOS load. This service will allow you to send three (3) text messages to Smart or TNT subscribers with P1 airtime load. Four pesos will be deducted from your balance the next time you top up. These services are available to Smart and TNT subscribers.

Use “ICE” and speed dial.

Add the letters “ICE”, which stands for “in case of emergency”, in select contacts in your mobile phone directory. This will let the emergency responders know who you would want to be contacted during an emergency. Also, don’t forget to save emergency and family numbers on speed dial.

Stay connected.

Be updated of the Pope’s whereabouts and learn more stories about his visit. Follow news stations like @TV5Manila on Twitter. You may send a message to Pope Francis via your social media accounts using #dearpopefrancis. You may also create a prayer post card online via

Meanwhile, to further allow more Filipinos to be informed and stay in touch, Smart and Twitter has partnered for free Twitter via mobile app or browser from January 15 to January 19 by texting DEARPOPE to 9999. Smart, Sun Cellular and Talk ‘n Text subscribers who are registered to the ongoing Smart Free Internet promo may enjoy the Free Twitter service on top of their 30 MB allocation.

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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