By Gemma Nemenzo
NewsBreak, Wednesday, July 20, 2011
As the BRP Gregorio del Pilar leaves the US Coast Guard dock in Alameda, California, the crew unfurls a banner.
Philippine Navy Captain Alberto Cruz uttered these all-important words softly, almost privately—away from the chatter of supporters and onlookers—to the Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) of the Navy, Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, at around 1530 hours on July 18 in Alameda, California.
Philippine Navy Captain Alberto Cruz, the author, and Vice Admiral Alex Pama. After this photo was napped, Cruz turned to Pama to ask permission to sail.
Not an easy task considering that this is the first time he and his crew will traverse this lengthy route, and the first time they will navigate this ship with her unfamiliar technology for an extended period in the open sea without the assistance and know-how of its former American crew.
A US Coast Guard tugboat begins to steer the BRP Gregorio del Pilar out of US waters to proceed to the Philippines.