I first set foot in Dumaguete in the year 2000 to take my college application exam. But little did my parents know I just really wanted to go out of town. Upon arrival, I was amazed at how clean the port was—one could still see fishes swimming under the clear blue water. When we went out of the port, I was immediately sold by the quaint and beautiful ambiance along the boulevard. I fell in love with Dumaguete. I told myself, this is where I want to spend my college days.

Upon graduation, it was very difficult to detach myself from the place. Indeed, the city has a power to attract and keep visitors for good.

When I learned that it was going to be the first stop for the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza “Ocean Defender Tour 2013”, I was excited for the people in the city. The support that Dumaguetenos gave Greenpeace was just massive. Even before the ship’s arrival, the local government, various schools and universities, media and the general public gave their support to our cause.

 

But I have to admit I underestimated the Dumaguetenos at first. An hour before the ship welcomed visitors to have a look on-board, there were around 250 people on the gate already waiting to get inside. To our surprise, we received 2,500 visitors from all ages and nationalities! It was really a blockbuster event.

These past few days, I still can’t get over the inspiration I got from that day. To the solid 12-man volunteers, who helped us; to the media, who gave us their space on broadsheets and air time; to everyone who waited under the scourging heat – words are not enough to express how much your efforts are greatly appreciated. Daghang salamat, Dumaguete!