BRP Alcaraz Captain Overwhelmed by Warm Welcome of Filipinos


Capt Ernesto Baldovino, commander of the Navy's newest vessel, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, with Mrs. Concepcion Alcaraz, widow of the World War II naval hero after whom the ship is named. (Philippine Navy photo)

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, — The captain of Navy warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz Ernesto Baldovino was overwhelmed with the outpour of support from Filipinos in the United States and here in the Philippines during their almost two-month voyage back home.

“Sa bawat pantalang aming hinintuan ay mainit kaming sinasalubong ng mga kapwa Pilipino. Dito namin nakita at naramdan ang kanilang pakikiisa at pagsuporta sa adhikain ng ating pamahalaan sa malakas na hukbong dagat dahil na rin sa malaki nilang tiwala sa mabuting pamamahala at tuwid na daang tinatahak ng kasalukuyang administrasyon sa pamumuno ng ating mahal na Pangulo,” (In every port stop, we were warmly welcomed by our fellow Filipinos. We realized and felt their unity and support towards the advocacy of our government to Philippine Navy because of the enormous trust on the good governance that we are venturing in the current administration through the governance of our beloved president. ) Baldovino said.

BRP Alcaraz, with bow number PF-16, was formally transferred by the United States to the Philippine government on May 22, 2012 during a ceremony in North Charleston, South Carolina. Henceforth, 88 official personnel have been training on proper use and maintenance of various equipment, systems and machinery embedded in the ship so that the voyage of the second Gregorio Del Pilar class brigade to the Philippines will be safe and successful.

“Isa pong malaking hamon sa amin ang magampanan ang aming misyon subalit ang aming masidhing determinasyon ang nagpatatag sa aming loob dahil alam naming mas malayo at mas malawak na karagatan ang aming tatawirin pabalik dito sa Pilipinas,” (It is a great challenge for us to accomplish our mission, however, our immense determination made us stronger because we know that our voyage going back to the Philippines is longer and father.) Baldivino shared.  Baldovino said that during their stay in the United States, they were taught by its Coast Guard and Navy on how to perform over-all diesel engine, renovation of generator, evaporator, how to manipulate the machinery of the ship including the proper use of the military weapons which is very important in order for them to achieve their mission to keep our ocean safe and peaceful.  He also shared that the voyage was not easy for them as there were times that they encountered strong waves due to low pressure and tropical depression in the different places along their way.  However, the strong winds and waves fail to dampen their spirit, as they were able to surpass it all.

“The dock of BRP Alcaraz in Alava Pier of Subic Bay Freeportis not just a success and honor to the leaders and personnel of the ship but as well as to the whole nation,” Baldovino emphasized.  Baldovino extended his gratitude to President Benigno Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and to every Filipino all over the world who supported their voyage and prayed for their safety.

The warship, which is a Hamilton-class cutter, was named after Navy war veteran Ramon Alcaraz. He was born on August 31, 1915 and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1940.  During World War II, Alcaraz was part of the offshore patrol serving under the direct command of General Douglas McArthur.  He showed his gallantry in battle when he shot down three low-flying Japanese planes off Bataan in January 17, 1942.  After the war, Alcaraz returned to offshore patrolling and helped for the modernization of the Navy.  He went to the United States after leaving the Navy and became part of several movements advocating equity and justice for Filipino war veterans.  Although living in another country, Alcaraz never forgot his roots and love of country.  He died on June 25, 2009, in Orange County, California. (CLJD/JGB-PIA 3)


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