By Mark Ocul
Before I first rode Filipinas Iligan, I created a plan to sail her. Actually, the trip was supposed to be on July 31, 2011 but instead, it was moved to August 7, 2011 due to my midterm exams. I saved money every day for my trip expenses.
On August 7, 2011, it was a peaceful morning and I woke up early because I was excited to sail with the newest vessel of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, MV Filipinas Iligan. I left my house at exactly 7:00am and went to the Port of Ozamiz. When I was already at the port, the excitement came and there was a little nervousness. It stuck into my mind that “this is it”. I guess I’m the only passenger from Ozamiz bound for Iligan at that time.
Then finally, I stepped my feet to her passenger ramp and aboard. I walked all around and I was surprised with her interiors. I first visited the Lobby. I observed and watched the technical specs and conduction crew board of Filipinas Iligan framed just near the stairways. It was superb and clean. I also walked the aisle for cabin and suite rooms and I saw the names of different towns in Lanao del Norte. Mostly were booming towns like Kapatagan and Lala. Then I saw an open cabin door and I found out that there were no persons inside. I felt nervous because if I went inside then a person comes to confront me because I wasn’t able to ask permission. I was a shy person then so I waited in the lobby and just observed until there was a crew member that went out of an open cabin after he cleaned the inside of the cabin room. I went there to ask him permission to take pictures and so he permitted me and I thanked him. This cabin is named Linamon, one of the small towns in Lanao del Norte and considered as the “Beach Capital of the Province”. After I took several pictures, he told me “unsa paman gusto imong picturan aside ani?” (What else do you want to take pictures aside from this?) I felt shocked & OMG from his words since it was a very rare and I silently said “WOW”. I was struggling to think what I would say to him about what he said. So I told him “sure kuya?(smile & happy) thank you jud kaayo. kanang sa mga suite rooms kuya”(Are you sure kuya? Thank you so much. Perhaps in the suite rooms kuya”. But first, I entered the Maigo Suite because it just beside the Linamon Cabin. Maigo town is home of numerous Muslims in the province. He opened the door and I was excited when I got in. I took several pictures and thanked him again. I also took photos in another suite room, this time the Tagoloan Suite, a small-area suite room perfect for couples.
I then went to the restaurant located in the stern of the vessel. It is named after the ship itself, the “Iligan Grill” since no more towns were available to name her restaurant as all amenities and accommodations were named after Lanao del Norte towns. It had spacious and comfy seats good for overnight trip but the ceiling room was minimal for me. Of course it was clean and organized. I took several photos including myself doing selfies and relaxed for 20 minutes. When seating beside the windows, it feels like you’re a boss. I went out of the restaurant then took photos of the other accommodations & facilities onboard like the economy, tourist, sundeck, lobby, passageway/gangway, comfort rooms, cushion seats, information counter and others. I walked them all around.
Bridge area, one of the most exciting place as a ship spotter but entry is prohibited unless you ask permission in a nice and friendly way. So here is my story. While seating in a cushion seat, I was thinking if I would go there or not because usually I am not allowed because of a policy that it is only for the captain and the crew. But I never gave because I want to do this for the first time and it was part of my adventure plan. It wouldn’t be complete without the bridge deck plan so I really thickened my face and went there.
Before I entered, I observed in the bridge area side by side including the windows and doors on how to get in and then asked permission but since they were busy so I just wait until we were docked in the Port of Iligan and also took photos of the ports of Mabuhay Vinyl and Global Steel. When the vessel was in docking process, I peeped in the windows outside the bridge and I saw a captain walking. I knocked the door and he saw me. He opened the door and I told him “sir, pwede ko makatake ug picture sa bridge?”(Sir, can I take pictures in the bridge?) and he said “Oh sige, sulod lang”(Sure, get in). Those words made me so happy and finally entered the bridge and thanked him.
In the bridge, I met Capt. Mutia, the former captain of Filipinas Iloilo and transferred to Filipinas Iligan. I introduced myself to him and also the PSSS. I took pictures of the bridge and after that we had a short conversation. While I took pictures, he told me to take pictures of me so that I would have a souvenir from the bridge. That time I didn’t want to take pictures but then they really forced me to take a picture for me. This is a chance so they took me in the bridge including the other crew and Capt. Mutia.
It was really a memorable event that would never be forgotten because they are the one who wanted to take pictures with me as a souvenir in the bridge. I was very thankful to them especially Capt. Mutia. That day was really an extreme and best adventure in Filipinas Iligan for me.
I realized that the captain and the crew were very nice and friendly. They never said any negative feedback that I am a terrorist or a criminal. They described me as a civilian and a ship spotter who loves and inspires a crew like them. It was the best adventure ever for me. It was successful and memorable. I never expected that this would happen. With this, I learned to be open with other people and talk them about the progress and history if there is.
With this, I would like to thank Sir Mike Baylon for the tips he gave me and for the support. And all the PSSS family thanks for the support and time to read this trip report. Capt. Mutia and the crew of Filipinas Iligan, thank you so much for welcoming me in the bridge, allowing me to take pictures of the cabin, suites and everything. More power to your ship and the company, Cokaliong Shipping Line. Thank you so much!
For the full album of interior pictures, please click here.
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