BRP Alcaraz enters Aurora waters, gets welcome ritual
Some 30 fishing bancas surrounded the BRP Ramon Alcaraz in Aurora waters, radio dzBB's correspondent Ronald Leander reported.
The vessel, which entered the Philippine area of responsibility early Thursday, will then head toward Pangasinan, where it is expected to get a similar welcome on Saturday.
It is scheduled to dock at Subic on Aug. 6, where it is expected to get a welcome led by President Benigno Aquino III.
Philippine Navy blogger Lt. J.G. Errol dela Cruz, who is chronicling the BRP Alcaraz's voyage home, said the vessel entered the Philippine area of responsibility at 2 a.m. Thursday.
"After almost two months of long journey from South Carolina, we can now confidently say that she BRP Alcaraz is finally home! Hurray!" he said.
"Although we can’t still see any land from where we are at the moment and we are still surrounded by 360 degrees view of nothing but the sea, just the fact that we finally entered our territory is enough reason for all of us aboard to celebrate," he added.
He also said the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which like the Alcaraz is a former US Coast Guard vessel, was expected to escort the Alcaraz to Casiguran, Aurora.
Dela Cruz also said the crew met at the ward room to discuss final preparations of the ship for her arrival in Subic at the end of this week.
"Everything must be in place, not only for the formalities and ceremonies that will take place upon our arrival, but also for the series of activities lined up for the ship starting tomorrow," he said.
But for now, he said it seems that "nature is one with the country in welcoming us in our arrival."
"Even with a developing Low Pressure Area that appears to be following us on our track; we are smoothly sailing with fair winds, clear skies, and following seas," he said.
Dela Cruz said Friday is to be a “reunion” day with the BRP Gregorio del Pilar. — LBG, GMA News