Thursday, July 15, 2010


MY MOM CALLED me up early in the morning of June 29, 2010 inviting me to attend and witness the swearing in to office of Vice Governor Greg Sanchez in Mariner's Court. I took the invitation as an opportunity to visit the said seamen's hub, located in the heart of the Associated Labor Union (ALU) compound near Pier 1 of the Port of Cebu.

Although I only saw a fleeting glimpse of the said building in my previous visits to Pier 1, I really didn't have that satisfaction associated with observing an object that close with both feet planted on the ground. Today I'm gonna have that chance and more.

I arrived at 2:30 PM and the design of the structure is already a magnet to lure anybody's attention. It is an imposing and colorful facade that is unique, in the sense, that it has, in its upper left portion, the shape of a ship's prow abetted by lines and curves imitating the waves of the ocean. Pastel blue, light blue, red and white dominate the whole concept of the center.

In the ground level are offices of various ship manning agencies and I helped myself to get inside in one of two wide-swinging glass doors and my eyes caught the large 2-dimensional mural on the right of the high-ceilinged reception area. Several lounge seats are conveniently placed on the right side where a large painting is hanging giving the impression that you are near the sea which, after all, it is.

It is seven storeys high with a roof deck and you could access each level by just being inside in one of two service elevators or you could just use the main stairway provided you are fit enough to carry your person up and down. Glass panels along the route of the elevators provide you with the view of the busy Mactan Channel as well as the waterfront area below you.

The fourth level is converted into a transient house for seamen and visitors while the fifth floor is home of the DYLA AM-FM Radio Station. Access to the roof deck should be coordinated first with the staff of Mariner's Court at their information desk in ground level but, unfortunately, the deck is closed temporarily pending some minor renovation to design.

In the third floor is located the function rooms where, in today's event, the folding dividers were pushed back to give way into a much bigger room space good enough to accommodate 70 to 80 round tables or about 700 people, most of whom are wearing yellow right now. My sister, Aileen Mae, and my nephew, Jon, is manning the visitor's reception table for this occasion.

My mother, Marietta, and my aunt, Evangeline, arrived at 3:00 PM followed by the vice governor, newly-elected officials of the cities and municipalities of the Province of Cebu. The dress code for this day is not yellow but Filipiniana. I took a vacant table with my lovely niece, Via, and, later, cousin Jay arrived with his four neighbors from La Guardia.

A Holy Mass was concelebrated by the chaplain of the Mariner's Center and the cousin-priest of the dear vice governor. After this, was the swearing of the oath of office of VGov. Sanchez before Hon. Meinrado Paredes, 7th Judicial Region Executive Judge. Judge Paredes is an old friend of mine and a fellow mountaineer. VGov. Sanchez then swore to office all the newly-elected ones.

Basically, this is a victory celebration of the local chapter of the Liberal Party. Losing LP gubernatorial standard bearer, Atty. Hilario Davide III, came in. Then ex-Cebu City mayor and now-Congressman Tomas Osmeña arrived with his city councilors to boost the numbers of invited guests. I saw online friend Ka Bino Guerrero observing and mentally taking notes of the whole proceedings.

What am I, a silent supporter of Gibo Teodoro, doing here? Well, I came here, first of all, because my mom invited me, who also voted for Gibo of Lakas-Kampi. Second, to partake of the opportunity to take on the feast afforded by limitless food and table wine offered during supper and, third, well, to enjoy the ambiance of the Mariner's Court.

The Mariner's Court is the result of the aspirations of the local seafarer's union to have a center that will cater to their needs. That dream had been realized in cooperation with the All Japan Seamen's Union (JSU) and the Philippine Seafarer's Union (PSU). As a former mariner, I feel proud that Cebu has one and it is a privilege for me to walk upon its halls.

Document done in OpenOffice 3.1 Writer

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