Pope Francis: I have special admiration for Filipinos

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Pope Francis waves to thousands of followers as he arrives at the Manila Cathedral on January 16, 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It seems the Philippines made a good impression on Pope Francis.

Even after almost a year since he visited the country last January, the pope still had kind words for Filipinos, according to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

Based on a report posted on the CBCP website, Palma was quoted saying: “The Holy Father said ‘I have special admiration for the Filipinos.' Basically, he is taking us as people of great faith.”

Palma is in the Vatican for the ongoing Synod on the family.

Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, meanwhile, said the pontiff also fondly recalled with “great happiness” the nickname "Lolo Kiko" Filipinos gave him.

“He was really laughing and was so happy about it,” Garcera said of the pope.

Related: Close enough to hug Pope Francis

Palma said the Argentinian pope was glad how Filipinos treat their elderly with much respect.

“It’s a sign that I am appreciated. I am loved in the Philippines,” he quoted the pope saying.

Pope Francis made a five-day visit to the Philippines from January 15 to 19 as part of his mission in spreading his message of "mercy and compassion."