Volunteer Kristel Padasas, who died during Pope Francis' visit to Tacloban, a unica hija

Kristel Padasas, the volunteer who died in a tragic scaffolding incident during the visit of Pope Francis to Tacloban, is a unica hija.

Kristel Padasas
Image credits: Radio Vaticana and INQUIRER.net
Fondly called "Mhai-mhai" by her relatives and friends, the 27-year-old woman voluntarily worked for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), one of the organizations that took part in the preparation of the Mass near the airport last Saturday.

The charity worker was killed after the scaffolding where loud speakers were mounted fell on her head as strong wind brought by a tropical storm struck the platform down.


Kristel was the only child of Judy Cleofe and Paulino Padasas. Her mother is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Hongkong, and her father works in Manila, according to an ABS-CBN News report.

She grew up in the home of her grandparents in Buhi, Camarines Sur, but moved to Manila to finish college and eventually earned a degree in Psychology, the report stated.

Her father was able to talk to Pope Francis for five minutes in a meeting held at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, where the pontiff stayed during his five-day apostolic and state visit to the Philippines.

"The Holy Father was searching for words. How do you console, with words, a father who just lost an only child? So the Holy Father did not apologize for his lack of words, he was there," Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was also invited by the Pope to attend the meeting, said during the press briefing Saturday night.

"But then it surprised the Holy Father that this grieving father said, 'I have accepted this. I have resigned to the fact that my daughter is no longer with me. I rejoice that she died serving other people. It's a meaningful death, it's not just a loss of life. So I'm happy now'," Tagle reportedly added.

The grieving dad, who lives in Taguig, shared that he felt relief after the meeting. He received three rosaries and two medallions with the image of Sto. Nino from the Catholic church leader.


Over the weekend, CRS released an official statement expressing deepest condolences to the family and friends of their staff.

Today Catholic Relief Services grieves the loss of our staff, 27-year-old Kristel Padasas of Manila. Kristel passed away on Saturday, January 17, 2015, when she was struck by scaffolding at the site of the papal mass in Tacloban shortly after Pope Francis departed.

Kristel was based in Samar and worked on a recovery project for typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Her dedication to the people affected by the typhoon extended beyond her official work with CRS. She traveled a great distance to volunteer at today’s papal mass and to remember the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

CRS Philippines mourns her loss along with her family, friends and loved ones. Her colleagues remember her as someone who loved to laugh and who was always ready to assist outside her normal duties. She found great joy in being able to contribute to the recovery effort by working directly with communities and families.

Our deepest prayers are with Kristel’s family and loved ones.

On January 19, Padasas will go to Tacloban to claim Kristel's remains. His wife is expected to arrive in Manila Monday evening.