Saturday, March 7, 2009

MV Doulos, Finally!

Many of you probably know what it is. If you don’t, I wouldn’t be sure which corner on earth you have been hibernating the past years. Yes, it is the ship that carries books of a myriad kinds (plus toys and other thingys) circling the globe to reach the unreachable stars – that’s all of us hehe! And yes, part of its crews are always a scattering of people from many nationalities. It was many years ago when this ship came to my consciousness and oh how I wanted to see it and check out what it had. For whatever reason or reasons, I hadn’t got a chance the 6 times that it docked in Manila.

Yesterday, I accidentally peeped on a news-daily that a woman was reading beside me on the LRT. I saw an article with a picture of that ship. Aw, as the woman flipped the page too soon, I wasn’t able to read at least a phrase at what might have been the topic. I just surmised, if that ship was not anywhere in one of the Philippine ports again, it could probably have burned or sank or whatever else. In any case, that must have been news worthy for me to know. Arriving home, I immediately browsed the web about Doulos and voila, it was ashore! Yeah, Manila’s south harbor.

Cancelled my afternoon activities today in favor of Duolos which I said I must see. Fortunately, another friend was in the same ‘predicament’ as I was… so, not even a mob could stop us, she drove us up to that ship and there we were! Yehey! Finally! Yey! So what did I see? Books, of course, thousands of them! And toys, and souvenirs and ah many things else at bargain prices. Let’s check my experience at this ship…

Entrance is P10. Yep, a mere 10-pesos for people 16 years old and above. Any age below, you’re free. I wondered why that age cut-off of 16 since the usual that we see in this country would either be 12, 18 or 21. I found no crews who were not busy for me to bother with that question. The companion and I just kept guessing, and the most plausible we could think of was that high school students or younger go free. That’s after we have counted that we were both 16 when we graduated from high school – the usual age. Oh, I think those two jolly kids manning the ‘entrance fee’ booth were kids. Yep, probably just high school kids or early college, therearounds.

People. Yes, people people people, that’s what we saw inside the ship. And OMG many were like hoarding books of all kinds and the lines at all cashiers were long! You wouldn’t even imagine you were inside an actual and floating ship of a bookstore as everywhere was just humanity. Very much like being somewhere in Baclaran or Divisoria! Whew! I was sure though that some were just there to look around, get the feel of how it was inside the ship, browse at the titles, look at people grabbing this and that book, read a few lines or pages and end up not buying anything. THAT was my plan in the first place – which did not work hehe. I couldn’t resist. Some titles and some rare hardbounds were too good a VFM (value for money) to ignore!

Oh, before we went ashore, I did have a chance to chat with a few of the crews. They are a very young group of crews you’d think they were all pirated from McDo or Jollibee stores everywhere! There were a total of 8 Filipinos in the entire ship’s crew during that sail. I only saw one. They are called volunteers. The companion asked how do/did they get to apply and chosen as crew. I only remember the Chinese lass saying “check out the website” but another of her colleagues offered a more updated info on the topic… that was the last time this ship, yes the MV Doulos, was sailing to anywhere on earth. And this was the last leg… on its way to Singapore and finally rest in peace. Awk, how sad said my companion. And them youth didn’t know yet if there was ever going to be another such ship.

Oh well… at least I saw the dear ‘ship-of-knowledge’ right before it ceased operations… and I got a fitting souvenir! Yep, on sale was a cardboard DIY model of the ship, so I grabbed one. But nope, I haven’t yet got to even opening it. But I’ll will soon! I will hehe!

1 comment :

  1. just a footnote on this old story. the ship is supposed to have been bought by a businessman in SG who wsplanning to convert it into a museum with restaurants and the works retaining part of it as still a bookshop. Any of you folks in Singapore have seen the shadow of this memorable vessel? Where is it berthed?