Wednesday, February 8, 2012

M/V Logos Hope Visit

I didn’t want to miss it, so I hopped on aboard! Do you know what this thing is?

It’s a ship of course! You'll recognize that just from the "M/V" which means “motorized vessel”. But not just an ordinary RORO or passenger ship, it is a floating book fair. Yup, a bookstore! You may have heard about Doulos? Or read my blog about it here? Well yes, it is the same thing from the very same charitable institution. The replacement in fact, but a bigger and brighter ship. Caught up with it in Cebu and I learned it will be there until 13FEB as it will move on to Manila and Subic.

How did I know it was there? By chance hehe! I just ‘accidentally’ saw it! The ship was docked behind the ‘Malacanang Sa Sugbo’ and I said it was unusual since no ships “park” there unless they’re some kind of special – like the Andalucia, remember? Well, you guys who maybe approaching Cebu by boat or fastcraft from Bohol, Dumaguete or any of the islands south of Cebu, watch out as you’re likely to see it covering your view of the old customs bui8lding that is ‘Malacanang Sa Sugbo’. Yes yes, just before pier 1. On land side, you are likely to see it if you are entering the SRP road from above – I mean from Plaza Independencia and not passing the underground tunnel. In fact, that is where the entrance to the ship is – southern end of the Malacanang Sa Sugbo building a few feet before going up the SRP. And that is where you park if you’re bringing vehicles.

How is it? Ah, a little different from the Doulos experience. After paying the entrance fee of P20 (yes just twenty pesos and kids go free), you are given some flyer welcoming you aboard with some information and locator map. Once aboard you are directed to what they call a “Lifeboat Theatre”. Just a little lecture area where a crew member will brief you about the boat, what they do and about the book shop. This place is in the form of a red lifeboat with benches that can accommodate probably 50 people. Nice place. After that the cordon is opened for you to roam the whole place. You’ll like the historical displays about the ship and its activities on the wall beside the lifeboat theatre.

There are many many book titles that you cant find anywhere in this country, and they’re cheap! Other than the hardbound or glossy specials like coffee table books, the most expensive I have seen is just about P500. Too many books and things for the kids to choose from, some as cheap as just fifty pesos! There are even souvenirs cheaper than that. Ah yes, there are also a lot of books and CDs on spirituality and family life. I saw that many folks were attracted to the health-and fitness and recipe books.

Fun talking to the youthful crews who are always on hand to enthusiastically answer queries with a smile. Yes you can even make them your photographers hehe. They are volunteers coming from so many nationalities around the world. I think there were/are 2 Pinoys on board. Also fun listening to them do their announcements, though I saw some made annoyed faces and comments when they attempted reading the announcements in Cebuano. I told one such mother I caught rolling her eyeballs to just let them be, they’re just kids having fun. Try listening to a Dutch male kid reading a Cebuano announcement as you browse through the many book titles hehe. Makabuang!

The ‘Journey of Life’ is an interesting installation. It’s a walkthrough book-like story with big multi-media illustrations or murals, with a boy narrating the whole story. His story in fact – a prodigal son. It’s a nice way to convey a short story and many folks I saw were having pictorials in the area. The interesting part is when you turn at a corner it’s a separate part of the recorded story being played, but you don’t hear the previous or next parts also playing at the other side. Museum-like!

Oh there is another smaller theatre also playing some informational activities about the ship and its mission. Then you spill out unto the spacious “International Café” where folks get to do more interactions with the crews/volunteers who themselves really go around just for that. There is even a little activity corner with drawing things and toys for kids. Nice that there is a corner for young adults just before you exit the place. Informational activities and topics are the thing to do in this place. Generally its more on aids-awareness and living a responsible happy life.

A good experience especially for kids and young adults. Definitely better than Duolos both in terms of space and activities since Duolos was just literally a bookstore and nothing else. Hey it’s a big ship carrying about 400 crewmembers and volunteers. I did wonder what could be at the other floors of the ship, unfortunately those are off limits. Would be nice if they can offer something like a guided tour of other places in the vessel like the captains bridge, the engine area and so on. I probably am asking to much though. It is a floating book fair, period!

A ‘must visit’!

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