The Logos Hope carries over 5,000 book titles, a bunch of toys (for sale and for play), and about 400 friendly volunteers from over 45 different countries. It’s now in Subic but when it was docked at the Eva Macapagal Super Terminal (behind Manila Hotel), it warranted a visit from The Tactless Child, The One Who Spits, and I. We went on a weekday and so The Hub couldn’t join us because of work.
Being in the Intramuros/Port Area part of Manila always thrills me. That was where I first became independent – I worked at an art gallery in Intramuros and it was a sweet experience. Driving to the port area, I think I was more excited than the two kids in the back seat combined.
It was their first time to see a ship this close and to actually go onboard. Walking to the Logos from the parking lot, I could already smell the saltwater. I loved it, but The One Who Spits pinched his nose and said, “Dross,” (gross) and The Tactless Child asked, “Why does it smell like feet?” My city kids. We got there mid-afternoon and the weather was perfect: a smattering of clouds muted the sun’s hot rays and the sea kept a strong cool breeze constantly coming our way.
The kids got in for free and I had to pay just P20 at the entrance for myself. Very cool! Aboard the ship, at the lobby, there was a seating area shaped like a row boat, with the benches facing a huge flat screen on a wall. A perky guy had the mic and welcomed everyone who came in. Just past this was the bookstore. Shelves and shelves of books! Most of the titles were for kids, a sprinkling of the classics, lots of animal books, some hobby stuff, plenty of spiritual books, no titles on the New York Times bestseller list, boxes of textbooks, spiritual CDs, and, of course, toys.
The Tactless Child immediately started pulling books off shelves. Not finding a bench to sit on, she settled on the floor, reading aloud to herself. The One Who Spits ignored the books and kept walking. “Where are you going?” I asked him. “Going home,” he said. Until he saw the toy area. And so that was how we spent most of our time on the Logos – with piles of books in front of the Tactless Child, The One Who Spits trying to open packed toys when no one was looking, and myself scooting from one kid to the other while scanning the books.
In the end, The Tactless Child got several books (which were priced very reasonably), The One Who Spits got a yoyo that looks like a sea urchin, and I got a cooking book for kids (hope springs eternal) and one about making over homes (which I just recently discovered I really like to do). No books for the Hub. 😦 The only photography books they had were for beginners and The Hub is way past that.
In the hallway outside the bookstore were murals of the story of the prodigal son. Strategically placed speakers led viewers on with a narration that was perfectly suited for kids. It added a nice touch, I thought, and it seemed The Tactless Child also thought so. She looked at the murals seriously, listened to the story. I thought she was taking it all in until, interrupting the story, she asked me, “Can we eat now?” The One Who Spits walked ahead, “Going home,” he kept muttering. Was I the only one appreciating it all?
The i-cafe or International Cafe sat right after the murals, with a play area for the kids. They sold popcorn, some sweet bread, and cookies. By the far wall, a quartet sang praise songs to guitar accompaniment. Crew members walked in and out, friendly but one could feel they didn’t want to intrude.
We must have spent over two hours inside because when we finally left, a full moon was out, glazing everything in silver light. The moon was huge, it was over the sea, and everything became magical. We spent some time basking in it, standing right beside the ship, looking out over the sea.
To keep the mood, I thought we could have dinner somewhere quaint and artistic. But with these two? No chance. We had dinner at Jollibee, bathed in fluorescent light, eating fast food to the din of noisy diners. But at least, it was a Jollibee in the port area. It still smelled like saltwater.