MANILA -- Few passengers have flocked to the Manila North Harbour Port to depart for provinces this Holy Monday.
Port Manager Aurora Mendoza explained that compared to other port passenger terminals, the Manila North Harbour Port usually schedules only one to two trips of the "2Go Travel" shipping line daily.
"Hindi ito 24/7 na operations so kasi ang mga byahe ng mga barko dito ay malalayo, Visayas and Mindanao. Mayroon lang isang Coron [sa Palawan] pero the rest Visayas and Mindanao, all the way from Dipolog, Osamiz, Zamboanga, Cebu," she told ABS-CBN News.
"Maybe because mahal na rin ang pamasahe tapos siguro nakapagbakasyon na sila noong December. So more on mas gusto nila ibang lugar naman kaysa sa same destination," she added.
On Monday, the port only accommodated two trips.
One was bound for Cebu and had departed at 3 o'clock in the afternoon carrying more than 800 passengers, leaving some room for its more than 900 passenger capacity.
The other one will leave the port at 10 o'clock in the evening for Dumaguete, Dipolog City and Zamboanga province with a passenger capacity of more than 1,900.
As of 4:25 p.m., only more than 1,300 people have booked the trip, Mendoza told ABS-CBN News.
Long queues and stranded passengers are not a common scene at the Manila North Harbour Port as ticket purchase is done online, Mendoza said.
Chance passengers can also easily buy tickets once the booths open an hour before the ship's departure.
"We advise them to through online sila bumili pero ngayon kasi based doon sa data na we gathered last week, during our meeting with 2Go, hindi ganoon karami ang booked tickets," Mendoza said.
"Iyong sinasabi nila na stranded, not true na matagal silang naghihintay hindi ganoon, kasi ang sasakyan nilang barko ay wala pa diyan ang barko nila. kasi ang iba bukas pa ang biyahe ng barko nila, mammayang hapon andyan na sila," she also explained.
Mendoza said they continued to anticipate that the number of passengers could increase towards the weekend.
Security around and within the terminal remains tight, as passengers have not been allowed to bring in bladed weapons and flammable materials.
Those who would be travelling with live animals or pets should secure a permits and requirements first.
"Vaccination record, tapos anti-rabbies dapat mayroon kasi dapat mayroon talaga tapos veterinary health certificate at permit ng Bureau of Animal Industry," said Maria Ruschelle Evardo, one of the passengers who brought two puppies to her travel to Zamboanga.
Due to the hot and humid weather, the port is providing free water to the waiting passengers, while pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens are allowed to use the port clinic where they comfortably wait for their departure time.
Port police, and the members of the PNP Maritime Group and the Philippine Coast Guard continue to monitor the safety of the passengers 24/7, Mendoza said.
An ambulance and a medical team are on standby as well for any possible emergencies, she added.