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Filipino sailors docked in Port Arthur contact family back home
PORT ARTHUR - by Lauren Huet
A crew of Filipino sailors found out about the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan while out at sea. The most they could do to check on and communicate with their families and friends, was e-mail. Now docked in Port Arthur, the sailors are taking advantage of every opportunity to Skype and call their loved ones.
The crew gathers at the Seafarer's Center of Port Arthur, a Christian outreach center that provides free Wi-Fi and a home-like atmosphere for sailors.
Reginald Villaruel, one of the Filipino crew members, says it's difficult to see pictures of the damage, and he wishes he could be home to help.
"It's very difficult, because also, I have a daughter, here, and my wife," he said, pointing to a picture of her on his laptop. In the photo, she's sitting on his wife's lap, and they're in the middle of a damaged room. "Our shop is damaged, so it's very difficult... because we have no electricity, maybe almost one month."
Although crew members could e-mail while at sea, they say they wanted to hear their family members' voices.
"That's why very sad, and very lonely," said Juffran Caeubig. "That's why after we came here, I just called them. I want to call. I want to see if they're okay."
Hearing from family made all the difference.
"I'm happy now we are here every day to communicate. Now all we need is Wi-Fi, and we can communicate with our family," said Villaruel.
"Happy. I'm very happy," agreed Caeubig. "I'm glad also that they are good."
This crew is on contract for nine months. Their contract will be up in April, and then they can return home.
"He really needs to stay on board to make money for his family," Doreen Badeaux explained about one of the crew. "The only reason he was able to have a concrete house is because he's a seafarer. That is one of the best paying jobs in the Philippines."
The crew plans to call their family members before leaving port tonight. Caeubig said this is what he'd say if he could talk to his family:
"To my mother, to take care of themselves. They can recover from the typhoon that comes to the Philippines. And then to my fellow friends, just take care. We will see each other again. Soon," said Caeubig.