March 30, 2006
Sorry for not able to answer much earlier your March 22 letter. Mamang remitted to me 1.5M pesos second week of December 2005 when I asked for the said amount for the registration of our shipping company (named Good Voyage Shipping Lines, Inc.). Please don’t argue with Mamang over this because she understood that we needed to first establish a shipping company before we can accept any of the vessels that Aleson will give to us. I cannot just accept any vessel if I don’t have a company in the first place. It took us about more than three months to comply with all the requirements of different Government offices to establish this company. We started applying last September when Mamang came here to inform me that the family has finally decided to allow me to go on my own with the 2-shares-for-us (1 share for each of the rest of the family) formula which resulted my making the first list of aleson assets which was send to you through her for your approval. I believed it was with this list that you came up with the list you gave me on your 70th birthday in the presence of John Tan. Before our family departure to the USA, our corporation paper was already finalized (Dec. 22, 2005). This was two weeks earlier than your letter dated Jan 5 stating among others that I am still welcome to join your company. Enclosed is our Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) corporation paper which indicates among others the date of incorporation ((Dec. 22, 2005), names of our directors (Me, Jessie, Stephanie-Corporate Secretary, cousin Atty. Jaja, daughter of John Tan - Legal, and office staff Tracy – whom I have to assigned CEO to comply both SEC & Marina minimum requirements), name of our stockholders (the five plus another office personnel, Sherly to be our auditor to complete for SEC minimum position requirements), and shares division of ownership. Both my two office personnel helped me with the incorporation of our company and the many other necessary requirements to comply before we can legally operate. Under Marina Circular Rule, a shipping company is required to have at least a minimum of two of it’s company officers, namely the president and chief operating officer, to have shipping experiences. Five is the minimum requirement of incorporators. Even with Good Voyage Incorporation finalized, but because of your Jan 5 letter, I wrote you a letter dated Jan 14 which indicates that I was willing not to push thru with Good Voyage. However, after two more futile letters, we found ourselves in the same different thoughts of opinions and so I thought it best to continued then on with the negotiations on the December List you gave me. All the letters or lists I sent to you thru Mamang concerning your December List were titled as Proposal 1 and Proposal 2. Even my last text to John Lu just a week ago, dated March 13, I used the word proposal - Page 1 - and I think anyone can conclude by my text below that it had no sign whatsoever of anger, but rather but I was even compassionately negotiating, clearly not demanding for anything. “. . . Anyway, I will send again another proposal this week and try to come up with something that would be workable for all parties.” I have not even started operating yet and we are still in the process of determining what vessels can best represent my family shares. I cannot operate yet because we have not finalized exactly what kind of vessels can be well allotted to me that best represent my family shares with minimal effects on the present operational activities of our family business Aleson. After your decision, I have to print tickets (if we will be given passenger vessels) or print bill of ladings (if given cargo vessels) and the printing periods for said items takes about a month excluding the time it will take to register the tickets, official receipts, etc. I also can’t just operate without an office. And I can’t look for an office because I don’t know what type of vessels I will have or where we will operate them. Once we finalize and agree on what vessels I can operate, I think my Board Seat in Aleson is automatically revoke to reciprocate with the transfer of ownership of the agreed vessels to my family shipping company. And for one thing, I am not participating anymore in Aleson’s board meetings. I never hold on to any employees of whom you, Mamang, or any of our family members have had differences and/or terminated. I even let go of my personal driver Oliver and his wife, whom I considers most qualified in office works, whom you both transferred to Zamboanga and eventually resigned. It is not easy for me as a person to let go of people who were most loyal to me, much more have them terminated because they supported me. I don’t even intend to hire them or anyone any of our family members have had differences before. I have chosen to place our family above for I believe and have experienced it first hand that it will create ill-feelings amongst our family. So it is not within my character that I intend to compete with my family’s business because by doing so, would definitely create ill feelings on me. I don’t intend to compete with our family business. The sea is so wide, I remember you said that to me long time ago. This coming Saturday or Sunday I intend to fly to General Santos to inspect one foreign container ship coming from East Timor with a capacity of 110 TEUs (our Aleson Con-Carriers has only 30 TEU capacity). On April 2, Asian Spirit will commence flights from Davao to Palau which is timely for our container venture project so it will be easier and less expensive for me and my would be business partners to survey the place. You once wanted to go to Palau so maybe it would be good idea for both of us to fly there together, having two different ideas but going to one destination.
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I still don’t have the financial capacity for such big container vessel but I have negotiated with other people to join me. It is then my hope that even if I am on my own, I would like to someday see a joint venture with Aleson. Going back to your December List, allow me to review/state our negotiating efforts: Your December List 190,064,000.00 I didn’t agree because: - LMJ2 gross tonnage prohibits us to legally operate this vessel, - 1 Con-Carrier vessel is a loosing business operation and I can’t sell it for 25M because it does not represent “actual market prices”. Your March 13 List 173,780,000.00 I noted why our share value was lowered. Your March 18 List 174,570,000.00 My family’s present total cash in our joint-bank account is less than 14M and we have 11M advance from Aleson due to our purchased of our Corinthian Residence House. That leaves us having less than 3M pesos and I continue to receive my salary from Aleson even under two suspensions. This is my present condition, after all my works with Aleson. With Aleson, I passionately dedicated all my time and efforts to work for our family. Now, I shall dedicate my work dedicated passionately for my family. With what happened to me in Aleson, I should know better how to have a better ending with my family in both corporate and family affairs. As a father like you whose main concern is our responsibility to our children’s need and future, I am therefore, negotiating my family shares mostly for my children’s sake, nothing more nothing less. With it I hope you, Mamang, and the rest of the family will set aside tampohan feelings, especially since our unhealthy indifferences of opinions has been going on for years and letting me out of our family business seems the best options, and instead decide with compassions, generosity, and even put concern for my family’s future income capacity/capability with proper decision on what proper vessels the family can allocate to us, avoiding among other things to state that undoubtedly Aleson’s well-being and stability will be affected and that all our family members have acceded to sacrifice for my sake. I have even offered to time charter Con-Carrier vessels, offering 525T pesos per vessel per month, with one month advance. This is 75,000 pesos more per month per vessel of what Aleson is presently chartering to Apo Cement Corporation. However, I was told by John Lu that
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you do not like the idea and never did I ask again and inquire the reason behind your decision. My goal for me to succeed in my family’s shipping business is to provide my children’s well being and not to seek competition or revenge as what others will maliciously wants to impute. Time chartering Aleson’s con-carriers would help me earn additional income for my family, add additional income for Aleson as well, and in no way is this a form of competition. Helping me succeed will produce a better result in both financials and relationships because it’s easier for a successful person to forgive and forget his past rather than for a person who fails. As hard as it may be for me to anticipate what vessels you will eventually agree to give us, based on your December List (M/V Stephanie Marie, M/V LMJ2, and one Con-Carrier, etc.), I have tried to work on it’s operational feasibility. Under said list, only M/V Stephanie Marie would be workable for us. We cannot operate M/V LMJ2 because our small start-up company cannot legally operate it because of the prohibition under Marina Memorandum Circular No. 79 (Accreditation of Domestic Shipping Enterprises/Entities) which limits our start-up corporations to own and operate only up to a total of 3,000 gross tons, since our paid-up capital is only 1.5 million pesos.
Vessel Gross Tonnage
M/V Stephanie Marie 770.73 tons
M/V LMJ2 3,330.42 tons
M/V Con Carrier 8 246.55 tons
4,347.70 tons – this exceeds our company’s authorized
limitation of 3,000 gross tonnage.
One Con-Carrier vessel, without complete support equipments, is a losing business. And it is not easy for my family to sell a Con-Carrier vessel at 25M pesos, a 35 tons truck crane for 2M pesos, a 15 tons forklift for 2M pesos, and the other small units at the valuation prices I had evaluated suited only for our purpose for us to be able to equally and fairly divide, We came up with the amount of 784,066,000.00 pesos for Aleson’s Total Operational Property Assets for the main purpose for us to be able to properly distribute our assets but it is not applicable for sale to others. The price and/or valuation value of the assets does not matter. As shown in the next page, even if the prices and/or valuation value were doubled, every member can only afford to get the same assets.
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ORIGINAL ALEX NELSON BOBONG JAYJAY DAD & MOM A 100.00 A 100.00 B 180.00 B 180.00 C 120.00 C 120.00 D 50.00 D 50.00 E 90.00 E 90.00 F 185.00 F 185.00 G 25.00 G 25.00 H 270.00 H 270.00 I 90.00 I 90.00 J 30.00 J 30.00 K 150.00 K 150.00 L 130.00 L 130.00 M 250.00 M 250.00 N 230.00 N 230.00 O 200.00 O 200.00 2,100.00 600.00 300.00 300.00 300.00 600.00 DOUBLE ALEX NELSON BOBONG JAYJAY DAD & MOM A 200.00 A 200.00 B 360.00 B 360.00 C 240.00 C 240.00 D 100.00 D 100.00 E 180.00 E 180.00 F 370.00 F 370.00 G 50.00 G 50.00 H 540.00 H 540.00 I 180.00 I 180.00 J 60.00 J 60.00 K 300.00 K 300.00 L 260.00 L 260.00 M 500.00 M 500.00 N 460.00 N 460.00 O 400.00 O 400.00 4,200.00 1,200.00 600.00 600.00 600.00 1,200.00 However, please do not let me to sell these assets. The prices we used are not exact “market prices”, meaning they do not represent “actual prices”. The price are just to prove that no matter what price is in-calculated for the assets, each family member will get the same exact vessel and or property.
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Just like in the example shown, if we double the value of all the items of properties in the Aleson Total Operational Property Assets from 78,406,600.00 pesos to 1,568,132,000.00 pesos, the value of my share will increase to 448,037,714.28 but I still will only be able “”to afford” only to get the same number of vessels and property items because all the values of the vessels and properties will also be doubled. M/V Lady Mary Joy 2 price will be 160,000,000 pesos, M/V Kristel Jane 3 price will be 100,000,000 pesos, a Con-Carrier vessel will be priced at 50,000,000 pesos, etc. And definitely we cannot sell M/V Lady Mary Joy 2 at a price of 160,000,000 pesos or any of the other property items at the prices we have priced for the purpose of our distributions commensurate to each family member’s shares. So it is not applicable for sale to others. With the hope that you and the rest of our family members will not let me venture with vessels my family will have little chance to succeed, I tried to work on with the scenario of accepting M/V Stephanie Marie and negotiated for an office in Zamboanga, print ticket forms, print official receipts, and other necessary shipping forms, but in the hope that you and the rest of our family can later allocate us vessels that will augment our family income. Under your original December List (M/V Stephanie Marie, M/V Lady Mary Joy 2, one Con-Carrier, etc.), maybe we can make some small revisions. Maybe you can allow us to operate M/V Stephanie Marie, M/V Kristel Jane 3. My operational survival of these two vessels does not require us to compete. Although the total values of both M/V Stephanie Marie and M/V Kristel Jane 3 is only 110M, the balance (115,580,000 pesos) can be set aside later for any other proposals and or suggestions by anyone to be agreed upon. I am requesting this to happen because I would like to already start my company as soon as possible to be able to support my family. I don’t really know if the operational incomes from these two vessels will be enough to cover my family’s high monthly expenditures so if possible, please also try to reconsider my previous offer to time charter Con-Carrier vessels. I am sure I can still earn for myself even at 525T per vessel per month. I will be in competition with Apo Cement Corporation, not Aleson. If assuming, you will agree to give us M/V Stephanie Marie, M/V Kristel Jane 3, and allow us to time charter 3 units Con-Carriers for three years, the total amount for the three years charter for the three Con-Carriers amounting to 56,700,000.00 pesos (525T x 3 units x 12months x 3 years) is a large amount which we can workout to deduct from the 115,580,000 balance. By doing so, my remaining balance will then be down to just 58,880,000 pesos which our family business can easily afford even to convert to cash or allocate other remaining property assets or a combination of both. These we will do without competitions and maximizing our present property assets.
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With regards to M/V Lady Mary Joy 2, I would like to ask permission to independently check for myself to see why until now it has not finished dry-docking. I think no valid reason whatsoever can the persons who were put in charge of it can give valid reason for it to be dry-docking for nine (9) months already and doing it during the 3 most crucial peak-season months of the year (October semester break, December Christmas, and whole of Summer). There was a buyer from abroad I brought to Zamboanga last September (or October) last year who inspected but wants to inspect again once she goes up the shipyard slipway to inspect her bottom hull. So I think they are serious buyer. There are other few who have make inquiries but providing basic requirements of photocopies of documents like CI, Ownership, Philippine Registry to would be buyers is difficult because said documents are not accessible to me anymore. But of course, if anyone of our family is against the selling of LMJ2, it’s also ok with me. Mine was just a suggestion. Just please do not allocate her to me and let me sell it by myself. We should sell it (assuming you want it to be sold) together because LMJ2 size is not easy for anyone to sell. My separation with our family business which was necessary (my opinion), can be made with less emotional and financial loss. The key point is for us to work together in trying to maximize the property assets our family business already have. Allocating one property asset for the other to force to sell at a loss value can be prevented if we can shrewdly decide the distribution of our property assets to where it can be better utilized. Quarreling forever with you, Mamang, or the rest of our family is something I don’t intend to do. Our present indifferences now may have cause me to depart from our family business company but I believe if we can part ways nicely for the time being, things will in the future fall to their proper places, and maybe in no time we can be one whole happy family again.
Sincerely your son,
April 24, 2006
Dear Papang & Mamang,
I am writing this letter to you again because I as your son love both of you very much. It is my desire to part ways from our family business in the nicest way possible for all of us. People including me respect the struggle both of you transcended in your life to achieved success which translated to what we have today. Whatever you will decide to give me and my family I shall be grateful. However, I am just concern about what people will say about your decision. Attached is a simple colored list showing Aleson’s Operational Assets consisting of 76 items presently valued at 784,066,000 pesos. Out of the 76 items involved, I personally effected the acquisitions of 73 units presently valued at 727,066,000 pesos in my years with Aleson. These 73 units were acquired in the span of those 26 years work. Simply we cannot reach item 76 if the items before were not successful. It is the success of item 1 which afforded us to buy item 2, the success of item 2 which afforded us to buy item 3 and so forth and on. I never claimed or said this ever before in my 26 years of work with Aleson but am saying now for the purpose only to give weight on my appeal to you that allocating me M/V Stephanie, M/V Kristel Jane 3, and 3 units Con-Carriers to time charter for 3 years with the balance of 58.88M to be negotiated at a later date can be appropriate and just. Insisting on giving me and my family Options 1 & 2, I think would not be a conscientious act and might not look good on both of you. Deciding with compassions and generosity will benefit us all. What would it cost you to “replace” or to “insist” on Options 1 & 2? (I think) to “replace” the cost is only money. To “insist”, however, (I think) might cost you your honor, character, and prestige. (I think) at your age, position, and situations, many people would find that they care about more in life than money and “beating” or “teaching” the other side a lesson. If I fail, what lessons will it teach my children and me? Is it necessary? What gains of satisfactions will it bring to both of you? There is a saying that says “be careful of what you ask for because you might get it”. I would like to end this letter by relating to you a story about a tourist who bought a beautiful Kashmiri rug from the family who labored for a full year to make it. Cleverly he offered to pay in German marks, and then offered worthless marks from the inflationary pre-WWII Weimar period. Only when he told the story to shocked friends back home did he begin to think about what he had done to this family. In time, the very sight of his beautiful rug turned his stomach.
The Sandakan Episode
July 1994 (or 2004???)
Mr. Sakai-san of Hayashi Marines offered and invited me sometime early July of 1994 (or 2004???) to inspect in Japan one of their company-owned small 1972 built ferry roro vessel Nakajima.
After complete inspections of the ship I made a counter offer US$20,000 less than their asking price of US$500,000 which according to him was refused by their Chairman Mr. Eiji Hayashi who at that time owned brand new ocean going luxury ships bigger than the biggest (second-hand) Super Ferries of WG&A, 2 brand new hotels the size and glamour in the category of Shangri-La’s hotels, and many other business in Nagasaki, Japan.
I was billeted of course by my host to stay in one of their glamorous hotel for free with nightly expensive authentic Japanese diners and drinking with Mr. Sakai-san and other ranking company officers (Mr. Nakamoto-sanXXXX - right hand man, Mr. Ninomiya) of Mr Hayashi.
On the day I was to fly back home to Manila, Mr Sakai-san pick me up hurriedly as I arrived in my hotel after a morning jog and told me that Mr. Hayashi wants to talk to me. I was not even permitted to change my T-shirt and jogging pants as I was brought still perspiring to Mr Hayashi’s office to talk to him about the price of his vessel. After still not agreeing to his price I was whisked out from his office to a waiting room as he conferred with his officers, and after a few minutes Mr Sakai-san came in with a happy face telling me that Mr. Hayashi-san finally agreed with my price at US$480,000! He then brought me downstairs to another floor of their office building were hundreds of Seiko watches were on tables and told me that Mr Hayashi would want me to have for souvenirs for my family back home! Even as I wanted to get only one piece, Mr Sakai-san insisted to get as many as I want because according to him those watches were from a failed join venture of Mr. Hayashi-san and it were nothing of great significant to them. (I’m not sure if those watches were given to me at that time or on my taking delivery of the vessel).
When I arrived Zamboanga and told Papang and you about the MOA I signed for the acquisition of our first ever roro vessel, Papang even castigated me by saying in-front of around 10 office personnel that who in the world will give you free watches, and insisted that I was lying?! I can still remember Lito Lim’s sitting and his uneasy facial expression and Bonnie Tan bowing his head to escape my looks as they heard and I tried to looked at them in disbelief of why a father would want to tell the world that his son is a liar!
But after a week or so I noticed Papang wearing the watch that I gave him. I guess at that time that maybe somebody made him realized that I was telling the truth and that he was wrong in his accusation to his own son in-front of so many people. He wore it actually for so many years!
Same month that year I went with the 21-man delegation of Mayor Agan to Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, and Brunei on a business exploratory talk between our city with said Malaysian cities. Our delegations met with the cities’ mayors and their respective businessmen, traders in the hope of exploring business opportunities that can be created with the 4-nations economic thrust called BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines/East Asian Growth Association).
During our dialogues with our Malaysian business counter parts it has always been about traders saying that they will ship their goods if there is a vessel plying but on the other hand shipping lines representatives were asking from traders for prove from traders what cargoes they can or intend to load. Our last city to visit was Sandakan and it was there that I decided to deploy MV Danica Joy 1 to ply a once a week schedule between the Ports of Zamboanga and Sandakan.
Atty Orlando Ong who was also with our delegation, drafted for me the letter of intent dated July 23, 1994 which I presented to the surprise and delight of everyone present in our meeting with Government Officials of both countries and businessmen.
I also showed to them a photo of M/V Danica Joy and told them that the one way fare will be 875 pesos for non-aircon and 975 pesos for aircon accommodation.
But of course I didn’t decide to deploy our vessel for the sake of publicity. I decided on the basis after knowing that there were 500,000 legal Filipinos working in the whole Island of Sabah, Borneo and I calculated that 500,000 divided by 12 (months) divided by 4 (week) gives 10,000 plus which was way out far from the full capacity of M/V Danica Joy 1.
Although M/V Danica Joy were used in Japan with accommodation for 500 seats only and no sleeping accommodations, I calculated that she can accommodate 400 to 500 over-night passengers if I construct sleeping bunks and install them on the wagon deck and the price of bunker fuel at that time would support its commercial operations even at 875 pesos one way fare.
I was further interviewed after the meeting by a local newspaper writer and he published the following morning in his newspaper detailing everything I told him including the schedules, fare, photo of the vessel and the targeting date month of start of operation which I planned for October that year.
After our delegation’s arrival back to Zamboanga, I had a call from the late Marina Administrator Boy Balbon who informed me that he received direct instruction from Mr. Paul Dominges, who at that time was President Ramos’ Presidential Assistant for Mindanao who accordingly read and came to know about my decision to deploy a vessel in the Zamboanga - Sandakan route that coming October.
I knew Boy before he became the Marina Administrator the reason why he was able to tell me that Mr. Dominges called to him and personally gave him special instruction to “get hold of me” because accordingly it has been some time that the BIMP-EAGA concept was formulated but no shipping lines have decided to deploy any vessels and without shipping, BIMP-EAGA trading concept will not materialize.
I told him about the problem of the travel tax, emphasizing among others our fare of only 375 pesos and the Government’s 1,200 pesos tax that passenger’s will surely noticed. He told me that I should asked the help from our City Government for them to pass a city resolution for the temporary exemption of travel tax for my planned deployment of a pioneering ferry services between Zamboanga City and Sandakan emphasizing among others its importance to the BIMP-EAGA project.
I remember calling my cousin Atty Joe Tan and asking him how to draft a City Resolution and he told me to start the resolution with “Where As” Aleson Shipping is a corporation engaged in domestic Philippine trade, where as ASLI intend to deploy a pioneering ferry service in the Zambaonga - Sandakan route, where as ASLI’s intended fare is only 975 pesos, where as said shipping service is vital to the start of the BIMP-EAGA trading concept . . . and to end it with a prayer that a tax exemption be granted to my deployment of the shipping service between Zamboanga and Sandakan route.
Next I went to asked for a letter head from the Mindano Regional Council explaining to them that it is important that I print the Resolution in their letter head after which I went around to have it signed by various Government Departments like The Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Associations Heads, and many others and submitted it to Mayor Vitaliano Agan for the city’s resolution approval and submission to NEDA and to Mr. Paul Dominges Office in Davao and ultimately to be submitted to the Office of President Ramos for his approval.
President Ramos later issued P.D. 1183 allowing the Philippine Tourism Authority to issue Travel Tax Exemption in time for the October Maiden Voyage of M/V Danica Joy 1 to Sandakan !
I went back to Manila and busied myself with the documentations from Marina for the importation of M/V Danica Joy, brought the 7 conduction crew to Manila whom I personally chosen to apply with them for our visa at the Japanese Embassy, and applied a permit from National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) for the SSB Radio which I intend to bring with us in our flight to Japan.
I doubt if there are other local shipping lines who send their own company crew for the conduction of their acquired vessel from Japan. Even before I asked the conduction crew to come to Manila for their interview applications in the Japanese Embassy I had already prepared and completed their application papers with invitations for each of them from Japan that in almost all of my applications for all of them, it took only the maximum 3 days approval of their visas. The SSB radio that I buy is from a store in Manila who doesn’t issue receipt but price is the lowest.
When I went to take delivery of Nakajima (TBN: M/V Danica Joy 1) with our own company crew, Papang gave me only one instruction and that was never to buy or carry any motorcycle onboard.
However, on the day the vessel was scheduled to sail from Nakajima, Japan for Zamboanga City, some people whom our crew befriended went out of their way and brought their old motorcycles to the vessel itself and gave them to our crew. A day before, I and some of the crew (after already having prepared and trial-run the vessel and turned over to us by the owner’s Japanese crew and bunkers, foods, water & other supplies already loaded onboard) went out walking in the small island of Nakajima in search to buy second-hand bicycles, television sets, and refrigirators for the crew but not allowing them to buy any motorcycles.
Anyone in my position would not at that very moment like to deny the happiness of my crew receiving the motorcycles from their Japanese “friends” who even brought by their motorcycles themselves as gifts and especially knowing for the fact that it will take 8 days navigation of the vessel to reach Zamboanga and I have installed radio onboard the vessel where I can give instruction to throw it out to the sea if it really will be a problem with Zbga Customs.
After the vessel had left Japan, I flew back to Manila and related Papang by phone of the motorcycle-on-board story. He was in raged! Even if I explained to him that it would be very difficult for me not to allow the crew to accept the motorcycle gifts from their Japanese friends at that moment plus the fact that I gave our crew a pre-condition that they will disassemble their motorcycle and hide it completely or that they will have to throw it out of the vessel on their way if we think we will have problems upon arrival at Zamboanga with Customs, he just would not listened to my reasoning. But he never also want the crew to throw their motorcycle to sea. He simply was just angry on me. The vessel arrived Zamboanga safely without Customs problem and our crew having their assembled motorcycle gifts to themselves.
After the customs cleared the vessel and converted to domestic status, I immediately deployed welders and carpenters to take out the seats, re-configure and install double bunks on both upper and wagon deck, ordered marine plates and even the orders of the bed foams. I decided to extend fully the rear end of the vessel to accommodate more passengers.
I worked with welders and carpenters in time to have M/V Danica Joy 1’s maiden voyage to Sandakan as promised, October 24????, 2004.
An hour or so before the departure of the maiden voyage, we received a call from our Malaysian Office Agent, Mr. Chan Kok Hing saying that the Malaysian Authority would not permit the vessel to berth.
This was a tremendous setback since onboard were a Governor (Real) and his wife, some mayors of nearby towns, Government Department representatives, and businessmen with their local products that will be showcased onboard for Sandakan people to see in the hope that they will place future orders.
I have invited many local manufacturers thru the help of the Department of Trade and Industy (DTI) to join us and had them install booths for their product display weeks before the scheduled maiden voyage.
With all the things that people had been thru, it was difficult for us to cancel the maiden voyage and so we decided to have M/V Danica Joy 1 sail even against the repeated advice of our Malaysian Agency Office that the vessel will be arrested when she arrives Sandakan.
I went with the vessel and true to our Malaysian Agent’s warning, M/V Danica Joy 1, with all its Government Official, Trader passengers were held to anchorage area and not permitted to dock!
For the next 24 hours we were stuck onboard and each passing hours the pressure mounted on me on why these things were happening. VHF Radio was the only communications we have with Sandakan but this helps little since we can only radio to the Sandakan Ports Authority and all we can get from them is an order that we will not be allowed to enter their port.
It is with our SSB Radio that we can communicate back home to Zamboanga Office to relay to them our situations and with it we more or less were told that Government representatives from the Office of Mr. Paul Dominges are in Sandakan trying to sort out things for our docking permit.
After hours on achorage, Ms Carol Arguiles of Philippine Daily Inquirer was angry and said that the Malaysian Authority cannot do what they were doing so she wanted that she be given to communicate to her Manila base home office using our SSB Radio onboard to report what was happening. I told her that better to be patient and give time to Secretary Paul Dominguez personnel whom we learned are aware and were in Sandakan to diplomatically negotiate to allow us to berth even just for humanitarian reason especially we have very little drinking water.
But she was furious that I didn't allow her to change the frequency of our SSB Radio for her to contact her Manila office.
Governor Real, who was the most highest ranking Government Official onboard our ship was as relax as a person could be. When he was asked for his opinion on what to do of our (predicament) situations we were in, he having maybe observed, heard, and saw how people onboard were reacting, meeting, discussing, contacting and exchanging said with a relax manner that since almost everything has been done possible so there’s nothing else to do but wait and there for the first time I heard one of the most wonderful advice to a person who had done what was possible to wait and that eventually things will just fall to its proper places!
At that time, Engr Siason (not sure, if my memory serves me right) came to report to me that water onboard was critically low and that there is a need for water rationing. I went down to the engine room to personally validate his report because it was hard for me to believe why on Earth after just 24 hours we had run out of water?
After my inspection and evaluations, my fear of his report of being unwontedly correct sunk into me as I went up to announce another bad news for our passengers. However, I gave orders that all our bottled water be given to our passengers for free hoping for their patience and understading. I myself was helping distribute the bottled water to each passengers saying so sorry about these things.
Most were nice passengers who even in their discomfort showed that they understand. However, there was one passenger I remembered who was restless, who even insulted me with his 100 pesos saying that he can pay for his coffee as long as he don’t have to fall in line.
As I served and gave him his free hot coffee hot I wondered how it would end if instead of giving him his hot free coffee I would pour it to his face! I remember that moment well because I almost did it.
Then after almost 24 hours afloat on anchorage, we finally received the good news over our VHF radio the Malaysian Port Authority informing us that we are allowed to dock!
Everybody was happy to hear the good news especially me knowing together that my decision to hold my ground of not allowing to let Carol Arguiles of Philippine Daily Inquirer get hold of our SSB Radio to make a report to her Philippine base station was but correct!
Our vessel and the trade exhibits onboard were only allowed to stay for a couple of days. But, it was a joyful and festive experiences for everyone. Our traders onboard were able to finally showcase and sell their products to the Malaysian public who were curious to see what we have back in Zamboanga. In a way it was a successful trade exhibit, a first of it's kind.