From Zhejiang, China to La Union, Philippines
After sixteen days of mixed feelings of homesickness, anticipation and triumph to be part of a new ship's conduction team, I am finally jotting important notes as this hubber makes a comeback in documenting my travel as a seafarer.
The prelude of this hub concentrated on the Port of Ningbo which is part of the eastern coastal province Zhejiang, a booming commercial hub and known for its fishing and busy international port.
My hands are still numb from the cold weather of the place, especially at the city of Zhoushan, a city just fronting the Ningbo anchorage, and from the busy works at the galley (kitchen) of the ship.
I don't have any assistant at the galley, so I am always free to concentrate on my cooking and at the same time, think about the materials that I can share on HubPages.
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 2 in the Philippines up to Shanghai Pudung International Airport in China, I kept myself busy documenting the episodes of our travel with the aid of my old but still, a reliable digital camera.
I may back-tract for a little recall on what happened after being cleared at the airport custom personnel at the cozy airport of mainland China.
- The agent ushered us, Filipino seafarers and the owner/representatives of the shipping to a bus that carried us to the nearest restaurant (huh?) after a five-hour travel. There, we've eaten our dinner in installment basis (what a laugh). From hot rice, then the soup, shitake mushroom,hot green pepper in sauce and with the use of chopsticks. Wow! I will never forget this experience.
- From that dinner, we're on the road again hoping to see the LCT vessels, but our agent ferried us to Gui Hao Hotel, part of Dinghao, Zhoushan at Zhejiang, where we stayed overnight. The buffet breakfast was more sumptous than our dinner. Still, chopsticks were the main utensils. Spoons and forks were missing (sighed).
- The agent carried us to the port where we were carried by an old service boat for our embarkation at our assigned vessel. Our vessel is paired with another vessel.
- The succeeding days familiarized me with the nooks and crannies of the galley. It was half the size of my usual galley in other vessels. I put my stores or provisions inside my cabin and the frozen goods were stored inside the chest freezers and chiller at the messroom.
- Sea-worthiness checking followed. Inspections of ship's machinery, lighting and spaces were conducted so that the vessel can travel safely to the Philippines.
- Customs and immigration personnel made us report personally to their office at Zhoushan. Still, they re-check our status on board the ship at anchorage.
- The first pair of vessels were given approval for travel for just a week of stay at Ningbo anchorage.
- Our vessel, together with our pair traveled safely to La Union anchorage after 16 days.
Still, there's an invitation from the manning company and the owner that we should repeat our performance as part of their conduction teams.
Reasons? They're not going to have difficulty in procuring our Chinese visa once the shipyard back in China release another four LCT vessels.
Filipino Seafarers' Conduction Teams (From Philippines to Mainland China)
Rules of a Conduction Team
As per directed during the pre-departure orientation seminar, each team will always coordinate with each other.
Being a part of the team means the strength or weakness of the group will depend on each other's abilities to perform the job allotted or given to them. It is based on the contract signed at the office and approved by the government's labor and employment department.
As Filipino seafarers are bounded by the contract for, let's say, a week or a month, their payment will be equivalent for a month's salary on board a ship.
Rules to be followed are the ones tackled during our final briefing.
- Observe the company policies and procedure. This includes safety at all times.
- Personal prohibition on alcohol and drugs while working on board ship.
- Maintaining a nice working atmosphere and friendly disposition among colleagues.
Familiarizing the rudiments of every department (deck, engine and catering) will result to less or zero accidents.
The vessel as a whole and sailors, too!
Sailors's comfort foods
Each has its own regional dishes or comfort food.
My hunch will always tell me that this officer and that crew will always want variety of cooking with the same ingredient.
Although, I prepared my own weekly menu, it only serves as guide on my day-to-day cooking episodes at the galley.
I will always follow the usual fish on Mondays, chicken on Tuesdays, pork on Wednesdays, beef on Thursdays, fish again on Fridays, and a lot of combination during weekends (Saturdays and Sundays).
As much as I can, I don't want to rely on noodles as their snacks during their watch at night and soft-drinks.
Seafarers are now cautious nowadays when it comes to food preparation.
From time to time, there will be officers and crew hovering at the galley inspecting the way I prepare the food for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
There will be leftovers or throwaways that will end its existence at sea for the fish and more, but I always follow the budget requirement daily.
By the way, Filipino comfort foods, include the famous 'adobo' (any meat cooked in soya sauce with vinegar and little sugar), sinigang (also cooked in vinegar) and regional dishes, like 'laing' (driied gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with hot pepper and strips of pork meat with fats and little shrimps or any variation).
Sailors usually want some taste of their wife or mother's home-cooking, so, I am trying 'hard' to extend the taste on board.
Travel Man's Cooking on board ship
More readings related on this hub
- Amazing Travel Series # 2 - Traveling as seafarer at...
Ningbo City is now a flourishing commercial port in mainland China. As part of my contract as seafarer. I will be part of the conduction team that will bring one of the 10 new ships to the Philippines.
- Royal Dragon Ocean Transport, Inc. - a New Player in...
This sailor attended a Crew Orientation conducted by the Royal Dragon Ocean Transport, Inc., regarding boarding LCT vessel from China to Philippines. LCT industry is a booming factor on the Philippine Shipping Industry.
Books you can read and study regarding Shipping
Taranwanderer on February 18, 2015:
Nice insider's look at a crucial portion of the cruise ship industry! Thanks for sharing this.
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on December 10, 2012:
@AudraLeigh: Thank you for enjoying the meals (on pics, lol) and our ship, too.
The cold weather in China always wanted me to go home (sighs). It's part of the adjustment being on board ship. It's the rigor a seaman must tackle in order to finish his work or contract.
AudraLeigh on December 10, 2012:
I felt like I was really on the ship with you eating a great menu! Great pics including the vessel!
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on December 08, 2012:
@noble73: Hello, Ramil. I hope all is well with you and your family. Ganoon talaga, minsan iisipin mo pa rin ang pamilya mo at ang desisyon nila. Ako naman, nagawi ako dito sa paglalayag sa barko dahil sa udyok ng sarili ko na makatulong sa aking nanay, noong nabiyua siya.
So here I am, continuing my goal to make things end meet.
noble73 on November 23, 2012:
21years ago, pagka-graduate ko ng high school,dahil gusto ko ang sumakay sa barko binalak kong sumali sa huling batch ng mga pilipinong makakasali sa US navy bago umalis ang us military bases dito sa pilipinas.Pero ng dumating ang sulat sa akin,pinigil ako ng mapagmahal kong nanay,hehe hindi ako natuloy.Minsan may mga bagay na kahit pilitin nating gawin ay hindi natutupad,Sapagkat hindi iyon ang nilayon ng diyos para sa atin.Natutuwa ako at nariyan ka para ikwento ang mga experiences mo sa iyong paglalayag.Ingat lagi kabayan.
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on November 19, 2012:
@pramodgokhale: Thank you for adding another nice comment for this hub. Really, seafaring is both hardship and comfort. Hardship because we have to tackle the perils of the seas and comfort for a stable financial status for our families.
The routine is always in a military-like manner because each one of us has his own responsibilities to comply with.
Ireno Alcala :)
pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on November 19, 2012:
i enjoyed your hub and not lucky to have international voyage or journey, you wrote in details and i found myself on ship.Really such vessel carrying is responsible job and to work to schedule is really a military discipline.
Earlier i read your other articles.
thank you Sir
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on November 16, 2012:
@eHealer: What can I say but 'THANK YOU, THANK YOU" for the positive feedback I'm receiving from you all.
I really love to travel . Most of my hubs reflect on what I do with my life these days.
It includes working as cook on board a commercial vessel, like this.
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on November 16, 2012:
@exstatic: Thank you so much for your personal accolade regarding this hub.
Yes, Sir. I usually serve it that way to my officers. You see, I will not arrange it individually for the plating, there will be crew that will be left out.
You know how men (us) eat voraciously three times (or more) a day (hehehe!); especially on board ship.
Deborah from Las Vegas on November 15, 2012:
this is very exciting and should receive some kind of accolade for this! How interesting, you truly are a travel man. The photos are excellent and vivid, I can almost feel my hands turning cold as well. Great hub, hope this gets recognized as a great contribution to hubpages! Voted up and Awesome!!
Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on November 15, 2012:
This should be Hub of the day!Fascinating photos and your writing really gives us the feeling of what it is like on board. For this old landHubber, it is great!
And the food presentation represented in the photos! Is it really served that way? Looks lots better than the trays I recall from Army mess halls.
Up and all but funny. Shared too.
Ireno Alcala (author) from Bicol, Philippines on November 15, 2012:
@Old Poolman: You still can, Sir. Part of being a seafarer is the enjoyment of the trip, the scenery and the food. I had to be good in cooking in order to satisfy the palate of my colleague.
Thank you for an instant post. It helps revived my mind to write more (as long as there's signal for prepaid internet service..hehehe!) of my travels.
Old Poolman on November 14, 2012:
Wow, what an interesting hub, and the pictures of the food you prepared made me darn hungry. You are living the life I would have liked to live. Keep these stories coming, I really enjoy them.