Come ride the floating bus … Sakay na!

Vallacar Transit Incorporated (VTI) began as a family-owned and managed business that has grown from a lone 14- seater jeepney business called Ceres Liner plying a single route, to a conglomerate of transportation companies with a combined number of 4,000 transport vehicles nation wide. The company pioneered inter-modal services between Negros, Cebu, Mindanao, Leyte, Panay, and Luzon. It also pioneered inter-modal transport services utilizing the Strong Republic Nautical Highway from Cubao in Quezon City to Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

A new Ceres Liner from Bacolod to iIoilo City. The first Filipino-designed bus that can travel in both land and water.

A new Ceres Liner from Bacolod to iIoilo City. The first Filipino-designed
bus that can travel in both land and water.

Proceedings of MBFs 105 & 106

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) hosted the 105th MBF, led by RADM. WILLIAM MELAD on behalf of VADM.RODOLFO ISORENA, and was held on 18 September 2015 at the Hub, Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila.

MBF_02

Indonesian Firm picks Catamaran Design

Indonesia’s largest marine tourism operator, Bali Hai Cruises, has awarded a contract to International Maritime Consultants (IMC) for the design of its next generation day-cruise catamarans.

IMC catamaran design off Nusa Lembongan Photo Credit: IMC

IMC catamaran design off Nusa Lembongan
Photo Credit: IMC

APECCS: APEC/APEX of the Future?

In the shadows of today’s global problems – principal among them were terrorist attacks in Paris last 13 November that claimed 130 lives with others still in critical condition (and threats of more of the same in other countries in Europe and the U.S. by ISIS terrorists) – the Philippines hosted this week the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting.

Family Photo of the APEC Economic Leaders Photo Credit: APEC 2015 Philippines

Family Photo of the APEC Economic Leaders
Photo Credit: APEC 2015 Philippines

Shift Lanes To Save The Whales

Every year, about 300 whales feeding near the southern coast of Sri Lanka are hit more than a thousand times by large carriers up to 300 meters long. About 50 of these collisions are likely to be lethal for the rare Pygmy Blue Whales indigenous to Sri Lanka waters. Next year could likely be the “Year of No Return” of the Pygmy Blue Whales  in the area, unless the Sri Lankan authorities, in collaboration with the World Shipping Council agree to submit a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to shift the current lanes 15 nautical miles south, before the 27th of November deadline. Proposals submitted after this deadline would be enforced 24 months later.

Pygmy Blue Whale in Colombo harbour, draped on the bow of a container ship. PHOTO CREDIT: SOPAKA KARUNASUNDARA

Pygmy Blue Whale in Colombo harbour, draped on the bow of a container ship.
PHOTO CREDIT: SOPAKA KARUNASUNDARA

The West Philippine Sea Situation

My involvement in the Spratlys, South China Sea and West Philippine Sea issue goes back a long way. As a junior  officer, fresh from the Naval Academy, I was part of a secret mission sometime in 1971. I transported troops,weapons, equipment and supplies to the islands we occupied in Freedomland, now called the Kalayaan Island Group.

Spratlys 1971

Spratlys 1971

Philippines vs. China: Arbitral Claims under UNCLOS

Launching the Arbitral Case

The arbitration, filed in accordance with the dispute settlement provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (“UNCLOS”) (Art. 287 and Annex VII (“Arbitration”), commenced on 22 January, 2013, when the Philippines served China with a “Notification and Statement of Claim” “over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.” On 19 February, 2013, China, in a diplomatic note setting out “the Position of China on the South China Sea issues,” rejected the Notification. Both countries ratified UNCLOS.

Global Warming: The Maritime Dimension

In the 107th Maritime Breakfast Forum held at the DOTC at Columbia Tower, Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City, the Department briefed the participants on the APEC Transport Ministers meeting held in Cebu a few days earlier than the APEC Summit.

Mountain range illusion above Metro Manila (view from Bacoor Cavite)

Mountain range illusion above Metro Manila (view from Bacoor Cavite)

Well, after the meeting, a small group got to talking about Climate Change (a major topic of the Summit itself), and we had some very interesting discussions. And this reminds me of a “spectacle” that awed me a week after the 107th Maritime Forum as I started my daily commute from Dasmariñas, Cavite enroute to my office in Makati. I was awed at seeing an illusion of a large mountain range above Metro-Manila as I crossed the boundary of Dasmariñas and Bacoor City along Molino Road that I decided to take the above picture at about 6:15 AM.

Capt. Sibala and Pres. Obama

On 17 November, US President Barack H. Obama visited the Philippine Navy’s flagship, US-made BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the first US Coast Guard Hamilton Class 3,250-ton frigate combatant ship that was transferred to the Philippines in 2011. The second frigate was transferred in 2012, and named BRP Ramon Alcaraz. President Obama spoke with Captain Vincent Sibala PN (USNA’93) on the bridge, and later toured the BRP Gregorio del Pilar.

obama with capt sibala 1According to DefenseNews.com, “Obama’s move risks irking China, which is embroiled in a bitter territorial row over the South China Sea with the Philippines and some of its other Asian neighbors.