On board MV Logos Hope

The lure of over 5,000 book titles at affordable prices couldn’t be ignored. I love to read, but I don’t really fit the bibliophile mold, so I guess it’s more of the curious cat in me that made me check out MV Logos Hope, the biggest floating book fair in the world currently berthed at Pier 15 in Manila’s South Harbor.

Logos Hope is the fourth ship operated on behalf of OM Ships International by GBA Ships e.V., a private, non-profit, charitable organization registered in Germany. The Ships Ministry started in 1970 as part of OM’s global Christian training and outreach movement. Logos is the Greek term for “word” and is used in the Holy Bible to refer to the Lord Jesus.

After paying the 20 pesos entrance fee (no fee for children aged 12 and below), one is given a welcome brochure that promises a ‘unique experience of knowledge, help and hope’ aboard the ship. A gallery showing the history of the GBA Ships greets the visitors and keeps them busy while they wait to be seated in the lifeboat theater to view a short video about Logos Hope.

Culinary books form the biggest part of the 5,000+ titles. There are plenty of children’s books, dictionaries, Bibles, self-help, inspirational and travel books. It has been reported that one of the most popular books in Logos history is titled How to Have a Happy Marriage.

The third leg of the ship tour is the “Journey of Life,” where visitors walk through a series of murals depicting the biblical story of the prodigal son.

The Logos Theater is where visitors get to meet and know more about the crew members composed of 45 nationalities, who serve as volunteers on the ship for two years. They share different aspects of their culture as well as their stories and motivations for joining the ministry. During their stay in Manila, some crew members, in coordination with local NGOs, visited a home for children with cancer where they interacted with patients through games and other fun activities. Others installed a water purifier in Smokey Mountain and spent time with young children of scavenger parents.

A crew member does a gospel pantomime at the theater.

Another volunteer explains the meaning of some Chinese characters.

Cultural icons from Europe include this alphorn from Switzerland. The long, curved, wooden horn is a tool traditionally used by mountain dwellers to herd cattle in the Alps, but is now mainly used as a musical instrument.

Young people aged 13 and above are encouraged to join “Life X-Perience,” a short presentation about a fictional character named Mark and his battle with HIV. Participants then get to interact with volunteer resource persons on how to overcome juvenile travails and post their comments on the presentation on a designated wall.

The tour winds up at the International Café, where visitors can relax while enjoying their snacks. Not too many choices, but the ice cream on cone is a real treat.

As we were walking down the gangway, scores of people were still waiting to be accommodated on board.

The Logos Hope experience is unique in so many ways, starting with its promise of knowledge through the thousands of books on board. The poem There is No Frigate Like a Book by Emily Dickinson, learned in high school several decades back, comes to mind with its tribute to the power of books and the joy of reading:

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

With apologies to Emily Dickinson, after that afternoon aboard the ship, I have every reason to say, ‘There is no frigate like the MV Logos Hope.’

***

MV Logos Hope will be at Pier 15 until March 13, 2012 and will be in Subic for three weeks thereafter.

Schedules:

Tuesday to Saturday (10:00 AM to 9:30 PM)

Sunday (1:00 PM to 9:30 PM)

 

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