Döhle Seafront and RCES pioneer ‘Adopt A Ship’ in Laguna

As posted by The Manila Times on August 2,2023

THE maritime awareness program Adopt A Ship (AAS) Philippines has found its pioneering home in Laguna through the collaboration of Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila) Inc. and Rosario Complex Elementary School (RCES).

This remarkable educational program allows students to embark on a 10-week voyage of discovery through proactive email exchanges with select sailing officers and the school’s social study teachers to enhance their knowledge and instill a deep appreciation for the maritime industry and its significance in daily life.

“I am thrilled to be a part of [Adopt A Ship] as it allowed me to connect with the young generation of learners. The insightful questions they provided and the entire 10-week program have been both fulfilling and nostalgic, taking me back to my youthful days when I was just like my dear students,” said Capt. Ruben Bermudez, one of the management-level sea officers involved in the program. He was joined by Döhle Seafront officers Capt. Nilgie Morandarte, Chief Officer Jeffrey Ladaga and Second Engineer Ernel Bartolome.

The journey started on February 28 with 119 students participating in the pre-test and survey evaluating their knowledge of maritime awareness. The program was officially launched on March 10 with 331 students from Grades 4, 5 and 6. During the event, RCES School Head Principal Emlyn Gazzingan warmly welcomed the guests from Döhle Seafront, including Tomas Huelar 3rd and Capt. Climaco Galang. The latter shared his personal sea journey to inspire the students.

The event also saw the presence of Adopt A Ship Global Coordinator and IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador George Hoyt and his team.

“It was an emotional moment for me,” said Hoyt. “All I could think about were those wonderful children who were so kind and surrounded me with so much energy. Their smiles and energy touched me deeply,” added the goodwill ambassador.

AAS first came to the Philippines in 2019 and started at select schools in Metro Manila. It was paused during the pandemic and came back with the pioneering leg in Laguna.

The program culminated on June 15, 2023, with five pocket activities that included competitions on poster and slogan making, recyclable bottle painting, and a virtual-reality ship immersion powered by maritime tech group Seaversity. Additionally, there was an instructional material contest where students crafted miniature galleons — all promoting marine environment conservation and maritime awareness. As a testament to the program’s impact, galleons crafted by the students were later presented as tokens to prominent key figures, including Ambassador Carlos Salinas and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The successful program concluded with a remarkable post-test result, showcasing a 163 percent increase in geography and shipping-related awareness among the students.

“The Adopt a Ship program aligns with our subject lessons, benefiting students by fostering their understanding of geography, history, culture, and traditions both locally and globally. This alignment was achieved by integrating our lessons with valuable insights from the lives of our partner sailors,” said RCES Principal Emlyn Gazzingan.

Following the success of the first leg of the program in Laguna, the Department of Education San Pedro, Laguna Division, lauded Rosario Complex Elementary School for being one of the pioneering schools of Adopt a Ship in the Southern Tagalog region, alongside Chrysanthemum Village Elementary School.

The division office enthusiastically supported the program by endorsing 18 additional public elementary schools in the province for the September 2023 program. Adopt A Ship also plans to expand and include schools from the province of Cavite in its roster of Metro Manila and Laguna institutions.

“Adopt a Ship is a promising program, and we are bringing it to Cavite to further our cause of raising awareness about the maritime industry. I believe that the program could help us ensure that a new generation of maritime-aware professionals will emerge and take on the challenges of our industry in the future,” said Chief Officer Jeffrey Aldas, the Philippine Adopt A Ship coordinator for Laguna.