PH Navy's newest ship blogs, tweets journey

MANILA, Philippines – Ever wondered what the life of a Philippine naval officer was like?

Now you can follow some crew members – as well as the Philippine Navy's newest ship BRP Alcaraz – on social media.

As part of a joint project between the Philippine Navy and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sent 3 of its Navy officers on board the BRP Alcaraz to document its journey from San Diego, California, to the Philippines.

Com Gilbert Pacio, Navy Lt Marineth Riano Domingo, and Lt Jr Grade Errol de la Cruz have been tasked to document its travel for Filipinos to experience.

How do they plan to share the trip? Through blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts.

The 3 officers will upload articles through a live blog of the Philippine Navy's website, as well as the personal blog of De la Cruz. Netizens may also follow the official Twitter accounts of the BRP Alcaraz, the Philippine Navy, the AFP and De la Cruz. The ship also has its own Facebook account.

On Tuesday, July 9, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte encouraged Filipinos to follow the online updates on BRP Alcaraz "and learn about the life and experiences of the members of the Philippine Navy."

The BRP Alcaraz's Facebook page said it left the port of Naval Station San Diego around 8 am on Saturday, July 6 enroute to Hawaii. It had originally come from Charleston, South Carolina, where it was modernized. Its crew members also stayed there for over a year to train on how to use its equipment, before sailing to San Diego, where it stayed for 8 days.

It will make stops in Hawaii and Guam, before it is expected to arrive in the Philippines in the first week of August.

BRP Alcaraz is the first Navy ship named after a Philippine Naval officer, Commodore  Ramon Alcaraz (not Commander, as earlier reported). According to the Navy website, Alcaraz was the commanding officer of the Q-Boat during World War II and was treated as a hero for dropping 3 Japan fighter planes. 

The BRP Alcaraz "is the newest acquisition of the Philippine Navy under the Excess Defense Article Military Assistance Program of the US. It is a 378-foot Hamilton-class weather high endurance cutter decommissioned by the US Coast Guard that had undergone retrofitting and refurbishment worth P620 million," said its Facebook page.

Valte said its arrival to the Philippines amidst tensions in the West Philippine Sea is "a step in the right direction in terms of upgrading our hardware, our capabilities, and...will certainly be a boost to our patrol abilities." – Rappler.com