After the welcome ceremonies at the Makar Wharf (read account here), the guests including myself were invited to take a tour of the USS Blue Ridge. Before this, we (with the mayor) passed through a rigid search for credentials/bombs/explosives/etc at the entrance to the welcome area which was cordoned off by container vans. We were in Philippine soil but it felt like I was entering American territory with the burly marines with high-powered firearms watching our every move.
Here, we are now inside the middle deck where a comprehensive display of the ship’s history is in exhibit. This photo shows the Mayor being briefed by Command Master Chief John Becker.
On the right is the ship’s bank where the servicemen can withdraw, deposit & change their dollars or send money via telegraphic transfer.
The library and internet lounge where the servicemen contact their familes thru the 5 or more MACS available
The infirmary which boasts of modern & state-of-the art medical equipment… a mini-hospital in itself. Look at those halogen lights above the operating table.
The mess mall which smells of steaks and fries.
The Mayor at the bridge. I was shooed away here but the ABS-CBN cameraman Arthur behind the mayor was not.
A helicopter landing at the upper deck’s helipad.