Have you noticed that most of the staff of cruise ships are Filipinos? Eastern Europeans are next. But most of the kitchen staff, maintenance and housekeeping are done by folks from the Philippines.
I’ve gotten to know a few. “Ricky” is a memorable waiter, since that is also my first name. Word is out that Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Lines are negotiating with officials to bring their ships to the island nation. Carnival has 37,700 Filipinos crewmen; Royal Caribbean 16,000; and Norwegian Cruise Lines employs 8,000.
There are 7,100 islands comprising the country, so where will the dock be? My money is on Subic Bay. It is about 30 miles north of Manila. Subic housed a huge US Navy facility with a deep water port during the Vietnam era. Aircraft carriers and other ships were based there.
The complex was turned over to the Philippines in 1991. Mr Richard Gordon was tasked to “do something good” with the property. He developed a free trade zone with manufacturing companies like ACER and Reebok moving into to the old navy base. Even FED EX had their SE Asia hub there. Subic is now a vacation destination site. Nearby Olongapo, once a seedy GI “entertainment” town, has been cleaned up. Olongapo would be a perfect place for tourists to spend their money.
However, there are rumors of the US moving back into the base to counter China in the region.
Vigan City in Ilocos Sur province, is another good site. It is known as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia,” It’s also a World Heritage Site.
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