A Totally Different Doulos Experience

M/V Doulos at Pier 13, Manila Bay

After M/V Nippon Maru, the next cruise ship which came to Manila and thrilled me was the M/V Doulos. Doulos is commonly referred to as the floating book shop, carrying thousands and thousands of books. It stops in over 500 ports of call and visits at least 100 countries.

The last time I’ve seen this ship was about 19 years ago (that is, if my memory served me right). I know I was in grade school then when Doulos docked in Zamboanga. Only a few Zamboanguenos went to visit the ship. I remember going with my mom and my siblings, and buying lots of children’s books. We actually enjoyed our visit to the ship since there weren’t many people around and we got to talk to the ship crew and volunteers, who were all foreigners.

Analou, Jucyn, Ailyn, and Me on “Testing Our Patience” 🙂

This year, Manila was Doulos’s first port of call in the Philippines. It stayed at Pier 13, Manila Bay for about two weeks. And this time, I went with my friends, who also had their share of the Doulos experience some years ago. Neither my friends nor I had the slightest idea that Doulos would be jampacked with people. Of course, things change, but we didn’t see it coming.

We arrived at Pier 13 at around 6 P.M. and saw a long, long line to the entrance. We didn’t want to believe at first that the line was going to the entrance of Doulos. We tried to think of something else! We thought that it must’ve been the line to maybe another ship. So, to stop thinking of excuses, we asked the guard if the long, long line was the line to Doulos. And it was!

Since we were already there, we decided to charge the whole thing to experience. And while we were falling in line and trying to make fun of one another (so as not to keep ourselves bored), we heard the following comment from a few people who already came from the ship: “Naku! Dalawang oras ang pila! Kaninang alas tres pa kami nagpila, alas singko na kami nakapasok sa loob!”

Okay. So that comment made us decide to once again charge everything to experience, although somehow, we felt good because when we looked at the back, we saw people beginning to pile up into another long line. At least, we were already somehow in the middle of the line.

True to those peoples’ words, after two long hours of chatting, laughing, taking pictures, shifting stands from one leg to the other, and staring into space, we finally made it to the main entrance of the ship! The entrance fee was PhP 10.00 each. We made our way to the library with countless “excuse us” since there were so many people on board – sitting and breathing some polluted bay air, eating, chatting, or mainly waiting for their relatives or friends still trapped in the long line. We didn’t really enjoy scouting for good books since we were already tired by then and there wasn’t enough ventilation in the room.

I wasn’t able to get even a single book which I promised to myself. It was just hard to look for something I wanted in the middle of a huge crowd and hot surroundings. And so, after 20 minutes of going around the book area, we left the ship.

Hay… What an experience – two hours of waiting, barely half an hour of going around, and not getting anything!

But looking at it again, I think that it is better to have experienced it than not to have experienced it at all… Because If I haven’t, I think I’ll still be curious up until now as to what Doulos is at the present and how it looks like 19 years after… Hehehe.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: