Most people are greatly familiar with the Titanic. MV Doulos, which was built two years after the Titanic, is acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World as the oldest ocean going passenger ship. But more than that, Doulos is known for bringing “knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world.”
I was lucky enough to have been on board MV Doulos when it docked at Davao City in March, 1990. That was the first and last visit of Doulos to Davao. It has been to Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro at least twice and many times to Cebu, Batangas and Manila.
Doulos is in dry dock at Batangas from November 6 to 29 so no selling of books onboard. It creative staff however managed to set up an onshore book fair while the ship is undergoing repair and maintenance. It will be in Manila from November 29 to December 26 and Subic Bay from December 26 to January 15, 2008 and then off to Lae, Papua New Guinea on January 24, 2008.
The name Doulos means servant in Greek and the volunteer service offered by its international crew is evident of this.
Doulos was built in 1914 and has sailed as a cruise ship, freight ship, and for the transport of immigrants. Its most recent mission of bringing books (more than 6,000 book titles on board) to the world has made it a byword among book lover the world over. Doulos also grabbed the headlines for having an all-volunteer crew of 350 people from all over the world. It used to be known as Medina, Franca C and Roma.
A Germany-based non-profit organization named Gute Bücher für Alle e.V.whih means “Good Books for All” bought the ship in 1977. Since then, Doulos has been visited by 20 million people and has called on 568 ports of call in over 103 countries. Over 13 million books have been purchased from the ship.