Pope-mania Unfolds in Philippines Ahead of Francis' Visit

PHOTO: Youth and students shout "Welcome Pope Francis" after throwing colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome the Pontiff, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
Youth and students shout "Welcome Pope Francis" after throwing colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome the Pontiff, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

The people of the Philippines deserve an award for their enthusiasm ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the country on Thursday.

People are showing their spirit by preparing posters and decorations for the papal visit, but they've also gone a step beyond the normal reception Pope Francis usually receives.

PHOTO: A Catholic priest adjusts the uniform of boys who are dressed as Vatican Swiss guards during a rehearsal for the visit of Pope Francis outside the Manila Cathedral, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
A Catholic priest adjusts the uniform of boys who are dressed as Vatican Swiss guards during a rehearsal for the visit of Pope Francis outside the Manila Cathedral, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

Groups of young boys have been pictured wearing uniforms in the style of the pope's Swiss Guard, though with slight changes that only truly dedicated followers would recognize.

Others have been collecting as much memorabilia as they can to commemorate the visit, which comes as the final leg of his Asian tour after a visit to Sri Lanka.

PHOTO: Filipino devotees hold limited edition Pope Francis dolls that are sold by the De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 14, 2015.Alecs Ongcal/AP Photo
Filipino devotees hold limited edition Pope Francis dolls that are sold by the De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 14, 2015.

According to the CIA Factbook, the Philippines is 82.9 percent Catholic, making it one of the most devout countries in the world.

It's no wonder then that t-shirts, key chains and even little Pope Francis dolls are selling fast.

PHOTO: Youth and students throw colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome Pope Francis, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
Youth and students throw colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome Pope Francis, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, will be the pope's official host during the visit and many see similarities between the two men as they are both known for their humble ways.

PHOTO: Youth and students shout Welcome Pope Francis after throwing colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome the Pontiff, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
Youth and students shout "Welcome Pope Francis" after throwing colored powder in the air at the start of the countdown to welcome the Pontiff, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

Francis gained supporters by shunning the luxuries of the office when he was elected in March 2013, and, according to the Associated Press, Tagle regularly rode the public bus when he was a bishop.

PHOTO: Workers prepare to install a tarpaulin poster welcoming Pope Francis, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
Workers prepare to install a tarpaulin poster welcoming Pope Francis, Jan. 14, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

Tagle is also seen as something of a rising star in the Catholic community as Pope Benedict promoted him to archbishop in 2011 and cardinal in 2012. Francis has continued to show his faith in the 57-year-old.

Tagle was named one of three presidents of Pope Francis' cornerstone initiatives and is tasked with leading a two-year study on how the church can provide better care for families, the AP reported.

PHOTO: A man sells shirts printed with an image of Pope Francis in downtown Manila, Philippines, Jan. 4, 2015.Aaron Favila/AP Photo
A man sells shirts printed with an image of Pope Francis in downtown Manila, Philippines, Jan. 4, 2015.