MANILA, Philippines - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was described as "much discussed" cardinal during the secrecy oathtaking of cardinals at the Sistine Chapel before their papal conclave started in the Vatican on Tuesday.
Tagle is a darkhorse among the papabili, according to Western media covering the conclave that will decide who will be the Catholic Church's next leader.
The EWTN Global Catholic Television Network, which has exclusive live coverage of the event, said Tagle is "much discussed".
In the Philippines, Asia's largest Catholic nation -- the faithful are rallying behind Tagle.
He has attracted 128,000 likes on his Facebook page, where videos of his weekly television show are posted.
Supporters on- and offline say Tagle will be able to address issues like alleged sexual abuse by priests, and the waning numbers of Catholics among the young.
"If ever he becomes pope, what will he be bringing to the church leadership? And precisely this -- the energy, the energy to engage the young people, the energy to speak their language, the energy to listen to them," said Emmanuel Alfonso, executive director of Jesuit Communications.
Church-goers in the city of Imus, where Tagle served as bishop, said he will inspire the faithful with his kindness and humility.
"He is very humble. And he is like a magnet. Whenever he's the one officiating the mass, everybody always wants to come," one parishioner said.
If chosen, Tagle will be the first non-European to be elected pope in over 1,000 years. - with a report from Reuters