PALAWAN, Republic of the Philippines
- Two Sasebo-based, Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships visited
Puerto Princesa City, Republic of the Philippines, June 3-7 and were
warmly welcomed by the local residents.
USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Puerto
Princesa for rest, recreation and provisions after the transit from
Singapore, which was full of seamanship training, damage control
training, engineering training, mine warfare training and crew-served
Sailors enjoyed interacting with people they met in the local
restaurants and shopping malls.
“Food is great, restaurants are everywhere, from sea foods to roasted
pig, not to mention super fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Senior
Chief Mineman (SW) Leo E. Butler, Patriot’s senior enlisted advisor.
“Everything is cheap but it’s even cheaper if you know how to bargain
with the merchants.”
The Patriot crew also interacted with the local Philippine military
forces and community. Two of the highlights were a basketball game
against the local Coast Guard station and a visit to a local
elementary school. Both helped increase the bonds of friendship
between the Philippines and the United States.
“This was just a fantastic visit. In addition to the shopping and
food, this is really just a beautiful part of the Philippines,” said
Lt. Cmdr. Tomas E. Shultz, commanding officer of Patriot. “The
eco-tours available here are one of a kind. The majority of the crew,
including myself, really enjoyed the Puerto Princesa Underground River
National Park. It’s a UN World Heritage Site, and after visiting this
majestic area, I can understand why.”
One thing Shultz and Butler always remind Sailors of is the importance
of acting like ambassadors of goodwill in all foreign ports. Local
residents and establishment owners welcomed this behavior.
“These groups of Sailors are quite different, more behaved and
impressively well mannered, very professional young individuals,” said
Athena U. Galdones owner of Seaport Inn at Barangay Bagong Pag-asa.
“The camaraderie of the crew from both ships is impressive, being from
two different commands, but still watching out for each other,” said
Chief Coast Guard (Diver) Orly Galdones, a member of the Philippine
Coast Guard providing ships waterborne perimeter security.
Patriot and Guardian are approaching the conclusion of their Spring
Patrol while visiting cities in the Pacific Rim and maintaining good
relationships with the host nations.
For more information, visit http://www.ctf76.navy.mil.