Tagle was ordained in 1982 and became bishop in 2001 at an old cathedral about a block from his family home in Imus, south of Manila.
Aside from his church work, he taught theology in a hilltop seminary, where he lived for about two decades, staying in a room that had no television or air-conditioning, seminary staffers said.
Even as a bishop, Tagle did not own a car. He took the bus to church and elsewhere. He ate with workers and sang for a church charity, impressing many with his baritone voice.
Tagle stood out for his powerful homilies. A few years ago, he started hosting a Sunday gospel show on TV where he preached and answered questions. Staffers then made him a Facebook page, which has more than 120,000 followers.