It was 4’o clock in a Saturday afternoon. I just got back from the events I attended the day before and the hour before. My bags were already well packed though I still had the anxiety of forgetting something. I checked the time and realized I would be late for the boarding time on the ship. So, I hastily hailed a cab and instructed the driver to bring me to the port area. Luckily, there was no traffic and I arrived just in time.
MV May Lilies wasn’t a fancy ship at all. Though, tolerable. I went to my assigned deck and got the top bunk beside the television and the window where I can get a good view of the sea as well as the process done by the crew on anchoring the ship.
I sat down on my bed thinking “Finally, I’m gonna arrive at my destination early tomorrow.” To my dismay, a crew member told me that the ship won’t be leaving yet since the cargo is still being loaded. As I can recall, it was around 6’o clock when the ship left the port. I told myself, “I’ll just roam around the town when I arrive.” The ship sailed smoothly till 9’o clock. I figured that something went wrong. There was an announcement made that the ship will be going back to Manila due to a malfunction on the engine. This made me disappointed. But still, it was a good thing that the captain decided to do so as he prioritized the safety of the passengers.
Having this situation, I went outside the deck and sat down the common area where a lot of people were discussing about the situation. There was an old lady who was panicking and the people were calming her. After the heat of discussion went down, a few people were left on that area. I got the chance to hear their stories.
As I was sitting quietly, a man asked if I were from Palawan. I smiled and said “No.” Then the other people asked me where I was from and I told them, “Batangas.” It turned out that a lot of them were also Batangueños who were heading to Coron or El Nido to work or visit their families. Some of these people were crew members, policemen, pastors, social workers, travel agents, and more. I was glad to have heard the experiences of these people from different walks in life.
The conversation that I really found interesting was with the old veteran. At his old age, he has undergone series of events which I found really astonishing. He is a survivor of a heart disease. Despite the life span given be his doctor, he’s still alive and kicking. Lolo Pacifico was part of the army back in his esrly days. He was kind enough to share his story (or stories) to me. As he has told me, life in the Philippine Military Academy wasn’t easy at all. Although, he doesn’t have a single regret on choosing this life. He narrated how rigorous and challenging their trainings were. Apart from that, they still had to perform well on academia. With this experience, he emphasized that the PMA graduates are among the best since what they’ve gone through molded each individual to be at their best selves.
The ship docked back to Manila at around 7’o clock in the morning of Sunday. The ship’s repair was to be conducted the whole day so I decided to go back home for a while and return late in the afternoon. When I came back, the ship was finally ready to go back to the sea and head to Palawan.
Two days on board didn’t bore me at all. I think it was enlightening that I was able to meet these people and hear the experiences they have gone through. Through this delay, I have gained a lot more life lessons. There wasn’t a single tourist or traveler I met on board. I think if one wants to immerse fully on the life of the place he or she is destined to go to, a ship with the most locals is the best choice.