Saturday, December 01, 2007


Bea Wessels from Austria warmly greets the visitors of MV Doulos. She is among the ship's 350 volunteers from various countries who are otherwise known as ambassadors of goodwill and peace.

From captain to cook, and from administrators to book fair personnel, every one is a dedicated volunteer. And only the captain and his immediate officers, including the ship's engineers, possess certified maritime training and prior experience; the rest are all volunteers who either undergo on the job training while on board, or bring a set of skills along with them to contribute. The Dolous has about seven Filipino volunteer crewmembers in its present roster.

Doulos has traveled to over 100 countries since 1978 and carries over 6,000 different titles of books, covering a wide range of subjects. The vessel has received over 18 million visitors; in some ports, thousands of people reportedly waited in line each day for several hours to come on board.

The official mission of the Doulos is to spread knowledge, help and hope through good education. And through its floating book fair and many cultural exchange programs, it's able to encourage international understanding and friendship.

Built in 1914 (only a couple of years younger than the Titanic) the Doulos is the world's oldest passenger liner still sailing the seven seas. She has had three previous names: Medina, Roma, and Franca C. It has also served different roles -- freighter, migrant carrier, and cruise liner.

In 1977, Doulos (servant in Greek)
was purchased by Gute Bücher für Alle e.V. (Good Books for All), a private, non-profit, charitable organization registered in Germany. It is now a floating book fair.

Unfortunately, this may be the last time the Doulos will get to offer their shipload of books to Manilenyos. That is because this 93-year-old vessel, with most of its interior paneling made of wood, must retire in 2010 in accordance with the international maritime law.

The ship is currently docked in Manila's Pier 15 (behind the Manila Hotel) and will remain in the city until December 23. The book fair is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:36 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yipeee, the MV Doulos! I dreamt of being a volunteer in my youth actually...:). I had the chance to go on board when it docked to Vancouver, Canada some 10 years ago...'twas fun!

December 01, 2007 9:12 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

hey! Thanks for the info, Senor Enrique! ...maski hindi ako makakapunta this time. I bought a lot of nice children's books several years from the MV Doulos! They were very reasonably priced also. As I recall, they are of the Christian denomination?

December 01, 2007 9:48 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

wow you already visited MV Doulos!!! i was really planning to visit it yesterday but i had to accompany a cousin shopping! urgh i have to visit today.

December 01, 2007 9:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

uy bilis mo ah... i'm going to plan my way there, i always make a point to visit Doulos whenever it docks here in manila, and so far i havn't missed any... :)

December 01, 2007 12:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Galing kasi ako sa Bonifacio Day celebration sa may Manila City Hall so I decided to head on over to Dolous afterwars, Lino, since it was early enough and I'd avoid the late morning rush.

It was my first time to visit it and I was glad I did :)

December 01, 2007 6:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I did plan to do it Friday after the Bonifacio Day celebration by city hall, Pusa. I thought I might as well make the most of my morning. Besides, they're not too far from each other :)

December 01, 2007 6:04 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I did get a sense that it was some sort of a Christian undertaking, Bernadette. Nonetheless, I did tell everyone in the family to bring the kids because of its large selection of children's books. It was fun!

December 01, 2007 6:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Supposedly, Cacofonix, this vessel is still worthy for another forty years, but it has to heed to international martitime laws; hence must be retired in 2010. It's incredibly well-maintained and appears to be in great condition, though.

December 01, 2007 6:09 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Good you didn't visit the Penn Hotel instead! ;-)

I see you went even in the off public places of the boat... I guess your journalist's instincts brought you there.

I should visit the Doulos too... I say this every year and I never did! Shame on me. I am getting lazy!

December 01, 2007 6:09 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Great!! I've been looking forward to this. I'm planning to take the girls too :)

December 01, 2007 6:17 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Scrooch, make sure the girls come along because, as you know, the Doulos boasts a wide array of children's books. I'm sure they'll love them!

December 02, 2007 6:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This may be a good time for you to check it out, Sidney ... this is the final time the Doulos will dock in Manila. Might be a wonderful idea to document it :)

December 02, 2007 6:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really interesting insight of the ship. I've always wanted to attend a book fair held in a ship and have a look see in the ship itself. Anyway, your photos showed me quite a bit of what is it like inside.


December 02, 2007 11:08 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

i've always wanted to become a volunteer at doulos. hopefully the missions will still continue with a new ship after the doulos is retired. =)

December 02, 2007 1:04 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

One would wish that the owners would just convert this into some kind of floating library and passenger ship.

This way passengers can book passage and spend the time reading the books aboard. What a way to spend a grand vacation.

It will be the slow boat bound to nowhere, but will transport one's mind to where the books' subjects go.

December 03, 2007 1:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I like that idea, Amadeo, but it may cost them a substantial amount of money for upkeep and docking fees, because many may be reluctant to volunteer if the ship were not to sail anywhere.

I think the major aspect of its allure now is the sense of adventurism that it inspires amongst these young crew memebers.

December 03, 2007 8:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling that they will find themselves a new ship and continue on with their mission, Carla. It is really a wonderful endeavor! I would also love to sign up if only I were many years younger.

December 03, 2007 8:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Kyels,

I think this ship sails to Malaysia as well. Better check out your local papers every now and then to look for any news about the Doulos docking near where you live.

December 03, 2007 9:00 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

What a treasure! Thanks for the info, S.E. I will surely go this weekend!

December 03, 2007 1:42 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Luna!

Yes ... go and have a wonderful time :)

December 03, 2007 2:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there! I failed to visit MV Doulos last year! It was a good thing that i saw some announcement about it in the school where i am working. However, I do not know what port in Manila is the MV Doulos located... How do i get there? Can anyone tell me....?

December 05, 2007 10:58 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is docked at Pier 15 right behind Manila Hotel. Another landmark I use is the Petron gas station right on the corner of Bonifacio Drive behind Manila Hotel. That street will lead you to the docks. Just ask anyone. Not sure of any commuter jeepney that goes directly to that area, though. But Manila Hotel in Luneta is nearby.

December 06, 2007 3:56 AM  

Blogger joyceinheels said...

Hi Senor!

I was able to visit Doulos when it docked at Manila last January. I was a bit disappointed since I was not able to find rare books. BUT, if one is looking for general reference books, cook books and children's books, it's a MUST to visit Doulos.

December 07, 2007 9:33 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was also surprised and somewhat disappointed that there weren't as many titles available as I had expected, Lady. I guess, they limit the inventory to family materials.

December 08, 2007 11:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Senor E! I haven't been aboard the MV Doulos in ages! i first went when i was in uni; i was looking for reference books, but they didn't have any architectural titles, the reference books available were mostly medical in nature. i was able to get presents for my godchildren though ;-) it's still worth a visit. and i remember they sold ice cream somewhere on board?

December 10, 2007 11:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I didn't notice any ice cream, but I saw a Greenwich pizza concession stand right outside the book sections, Caryn :)

December 10, 2007 2:09 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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