Ferry sinks off Philippine coast 9 confirmed dead

Ferry sinks off Philippine coast 9 confirmed dead

It was a nice quiet Monday morning when I was told of the news. We read it online here. No, I did not know any of the passengers. My interest was only due to the fact that I had thought and wished it was not the one that went to Palawan.

I have taken the SuperFerry thrice. The first time was October 2007 and I was alone. In October 2007 I had a round trip ticket to Butuan. I had wanted to explore Camiguin and Siargao on my own. What was most unfortunate was that a Philippine Airlines plane crashed on the Butuan airstrip that morning and all succeeding flights were thus canceled until the mess had been cleared. The thing I hate most about traveling is unpacking. I did not want to go home, unpack my bags and pack them again for the next day for when my flight was rescheduled. Actually, I just wanted to go away, anywhere. It did not matter. I spent most of the day trying to get into other Cebu Pacific flights to other destinations to no avail.

And then I remembered it was a Friday. A SuperFerry departs for Palawan on a Friday afternoon. I thought that was a good time to go to Coron and I had always wanted to go to see what the fuss was all about. I took a cab from the airport to the port and made it. I made a friend whose name was Jeff and who was a local while waiting at the booking office and ended up spending a week in Coron hanging out with his friends. I booked myself in the cheapest accommodation available. I paid less than P900.

Though it was my first time to take the SuperFerry, it was not my first time to travel on a boat – a big boat. When I was still attending YFC leadership conferences, we took the Negros Navigation to Iloilo as well as to Bacolod. And I loved being in the top deck the most. In my experience, it was where the wind blew all day and all night long and where there was an almost 180-degree view.

I went back to Coron in April 2008 simply because the first time I was there, I did not get to see the beaches, the lakes or the islands. It rained most of the time the last time I was there and I spent my days just lounging around in my quaint little room in the main house of Darayonan Lodge reading magazines and having massages and manicures and pedicures. I took the SuperFerry again. Again, I was on the wait list at the booking office. Again, I took the top deck. Again I made a friend at the office while waiting and his name was Owen. He had a group of people and I wanted to come along with them so I could go see the islands, the lakes, the beaches and all that. This time though I paid more than P2,000. They told us the boat was full, that I was even lucky to get onboard. Didn’t matter whether I paid almost thrice for the same accommodation and that I along with the others on the wait list had to wait for almost three hours in the lobby for the receptionist to give us a bunk.

I went back to Coron in June 2008. I took the Super Ferry again. I was traveling with my husband and a lot of friends this time.  More than half of them took bunks in the tourist section because it was air-conditioned, it was cleaner and actually, so much nicer. I still took the top deck – the red deck.

Passengers at the Superferry railing

Passengers at the Superferry railing

On my first trip to Coron, I flew back to Manila via Asian Spirit. On the second trip, I took a boat called the Asian Fairy to El Nido and then from El Nido took the I.T.I. plane back to Manila. On my third trip, I took the Super Ferry back. I still took the red deck.

The red deck.

The red deck has metal bunks painted in red. It is open-air. It can get either really windy or really hot and stuffy. It is easy to get sea-sick as you can feel the movement of the ship the most in the top deck. It is also where animals like roosters, chickens and birds can be kept. Smoking is allowed in the red deck. That being said, it can get noisy and stinky in the red deck. But I always have and will always take the red deck no matter what anyone says.

Because…

In the red deck, you have a 180-degree view, it is easier to see what is going on. It is also easy open and wider.

Every time I took the boat I always thought about what I would do and what would happen if ever we had to abandon ship. I always checked out where the life vests and rafts were. I always checked out where the emergency exits where. I always thought the top deck was the safest. No cramped hallways. No stifling walls. It provided the easiest way of getting out.

“As dawn broke in waters off the Zamboanga peninsula on a clear day, the SuperFerry 9 had capsized, according to officials, leaving at least twelve people dead in the panic and scramble for the exits.”

Panic. In times like this, panic is everybody’s worst enemy. The ship took hours to sink. There was no need for panic. It was a clear day with calm seas, a generally good weather. There weren’t big waves or rain to make evacuation or rescue worse. I hate panic.

And the most appalling of all…

“Survivor Raffy Borro said it was his first time to see babies and children thrown out to the water as their mothers cried.”

I was, WTF?!

I spent the rest of the day thinking, trying to understand why these mothers thought it was best to throw their babies and children out to the waters. Did they think they were gonna float on their own? Did they think other people were gonna take pity on them and save them first? I was so angry.

If I were on a boat with my child and we were told to abandon the vessel, the last thing I would do is throw my child into the sea and spend the next hours wondering how or where she is. In fact, I would not let my child out of my sight or out of my reach. I will keep her safe and she is safest with me. A human’s natural tendency is to put himself or herself first and so in a time of such panic, one is not to depend on anybody else but himself. A human mother’s natural tendency is to put her child first – unless she is so freakin stupid. Yes I am still angry. In fact, I don’t think I will get over it.

I hate panic but I hate stupid selfish parents more.

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