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Freeman Region

Rainy day in quake-hit Bohol cruise ship brings in 280 tourists

Ric V. Obedencio - The Freeman

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — Non-stop rain, due to a low pressure area threatening the country, did not deter the arrival of M/V Europa 2, a German luxury cruise ship, to drop anchor about a mile from this city's port and ferry into the mainland of Bohol 280 foreign tourists yesterday.

TAGBILARAN CITY — Non-stop rain, due to a low pressure area threatening the country, did not deter the arrival of M/V Europa 2, a German luxury cruise ship, to drop anchor about a mile from this city's port and ferry into the mainland of Bohol 280 foreign tourists yesterday.

Governor Edgar Chatto with his wife Pureza, vice-mayor of Balilihan town, and tourism officials welcomed the visitors, who were transported into the mainland to savor Bohol's natural treasures and heritage, notwithstanding the damage caused by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake in October last year.

"Bohol tourism is back," PIA-Bohol quoted tourism officer Josephine Cabarrus as saying as the ship arrived in the city.

Lourdes Sultan, a local tour operator who also assisted in welcoming the guests, said about 90 percent of the passengers were German, while the rest were Britons.

According to Ute Muller (pronounced "Uta Mola"), a German who guided local officials to a tour of the luxury liner, Bohol was the final port of call in the Philippines before the ship sails for Sendakan in Malaysia and then to Singapore.

She told the visiting officials that, before the Bohol sojourn, M/V Europa 2 first went to the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, then to Manila, Boracay and Calanggaman island in Leyte.

Muller said that the ship has a capacity of more than 500 passengers and 317 crew, 109 of whom are Filipinos. Taking the cruise ship will cost at least 600 Euros and at most 6,000 Euros per person per day, she said.

The ship, skippered by Capt. Wolfer Adolf Paul, is an 11-storey tall, 220-meter long vessel, which could not be accommodated by the city port that has a span of only 180 meter long, according to an official of the Philippine Ports Authority here.

At six tour buses accommodated the guests who went into river cruising on floating restaurants in Loboc town before visiting the man-made forest of Bilar town and the Chocolate Hills in Carmen town.

Other visitors went to a cruise of the Abatan River where a concrete bridge collapsed due to the earthquake, and then to the white beaches of Panglao island.

By dusk yesterday, the foreign tourists returned to board M/V Europa for its cruise to Malaysia. (FREEMAN)

ABATAN RIVER

BOHOL

BORACAY AND CALANGGAMAN

CHOCOLATE HILLS

GOVERNOR EDGAR CHATTO

HUNDRED ISLANDS

JOSEPHINE CABARRUS

LOURDES SULTAN

PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY

SHIP

V EUROPA

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