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‘Epal’ tarps appear as papal visit nears

On the last weekend before Pope Francis' arrival in the Philippines, so-called epal tarpaulins have started to appear in Manila.

Some of the tarps were along the center island of Quirino Avenue across the Ospital ng Maynila, radio dzBB reported.

Photos tweeted by dzBB showed the tarps with the message, "Welcome His Holiness Pope Francis," with the logo of a soft drink and the name of a barangay chairman.

The dzBB tweet noted the area is a part of the possible route of the pope while in Manila.

"Epal" is a Filipino word for officials who post their names and faces on tarpaulins used as signage of their projects, or in greeting people on special occasions. It has now taken the meaning of candidates introducing themselves to voters for election purposes.

Pope Francis is due to arrive in Manila Jan. 15 and will stay in the country until Jan. 19. — Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News