The mountaineer in me is always intrigued by the sea. That’s why I enjoy novels like Mutiny on the Bounty and movies such as Pirates of the Carribean. There’s something about the sea that is mysterious and inviting. So I consider it a blessing when I have to take a long trip by boat to the Visayas or
In any case, the sea is home for two ships named after two Cordillera provinces — the BRP Kalinga-Apayao and the BRP Benguet. For some reason the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) decided to name its amphibious warfare ships after Philippine provinces. Since the AFP doesn’t have as much amphibious ships as there are provinces, we should consider it an honor that these two ships are so named.
Here are photos of our ships (well they named it after us so let’s call them our ships). The one on the left is BRP Benguet while the one on the right and on the bottom is BRP Kalinga-Apayao.
Not very modern looking at all huh? Yeah but what do we expect? We’re third world you know. For those interested in ship lore, the BRP Kalinga Apayao actually used to be the South Vietnamese ship Can Tho which used to be the USS Garrett County. Its history is described in this website: “
What about BRP Benguet? The ship was also acquired from the U.S. Navy but its past life has not been as dramatic. However, it has interesting exploits in recent times as it figured in a number of encounters against Chinese forces. In 2002, it ran aground in the
So there you have it, our ships sailing the Philippine seas, protecting our territory and serving as the nation’s defense against the mighty Chinese who, by the way, are monitoring us. The ships are obviously old but what can we do. Having Kalinga-Apayao and Benguet guarding our sealanes, no matter how ancient they may be, is better than nothing. I think they are more reliable than a politician guarding the integrity of the ballot box.