The Ship that Launched a Thousand Books


It was several years ago when someone told me tales of a ship carrying lots of cheap books for sale. It’s called the M.V. Doulos, and it last docked in Cebu. I had since forgotten her story until two weeks ago when someone told me that this largest floating bookstore is currently in Manila. What followed is a text brigade of how to get to the Manila South Harbor. No one seemed to know how to get to the port, including my dad. But my companion soon was able to get directions and off we went immediately.

M. V. Doulos is a nonprofit organization from Germany. It aims to spread knowledge and faith in God through literature. They carry a wide selection of children’s books and reference books such as dictionaries and almanacs. There were lots of books also on cooking, basic drawing and sewing, and some other Christian books. Although I didn’t find anything I wanted, many parents hoarded on children’s lit and other reference books all of which were sold at good bargain prices.

The bookstore wasn’t really what I expected. With a ship for a venue, I was hoping for a more spacious display of books, rather than a sardine-packed place. It probably took us a longer time in our queue than the time it took us to browse inside. And making your way around the store wasn't exactly fun. You had to squeeze yourself pass through the throngs of people inside. If you will not mind the discomfort inside, it will be more interesting to note the group of volunteers running the ship. These volunteers come from different parts of the globe, all extending their time and effort for free. I saw a Korean, Norwegian, Indian, and a Singaporean volunteer. They leave their homes for about two years to be part of the Doulos team. Indeed, the M.V. Doulos ship is a haven of multi-culture, surpassing racial differences, with volunteers working together to propagate hope and unity around the world. It’s so cool. If only I can, I would like to be part of Doulos. It's like a diorama of a utopian world.


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