MANILA — Fewer passengers boarded the ships that departed from the Manila North Harbour Port on Holy Tuesday.
Only two ships had been scheduled with less than a thousand passengers, based on port records.
The first trip bound for Palawan left at 9 a.m., carrying only 285 people, leaving big room for its 944 passenger-capacity.
Only the second trip that departed at 12 noon was fully booked, with 644 passengers.
These numbers are almost half of yesterday's record of more than 2,000 travelers that left for Cebu and Zamboanga provinces.
Despite the fewer number on Tuesday, security around and inside the port remains tight.
Police Lt. Col. Cristito Acohon, commander of the Manila Police Station 12, visited the Manila North Harbour Port with his team to monitor the security details.
"So far, very stable ang situation, intact ang PNP, at ang maritime natin. The [Philippine] Coast Guard, at wala pa naman nagiging problem so far," he told ABS-CBN News.
Nonetheless, they remain vigilant, especially as they expect more passengers to flock to the port tomorrow.
"Hindi po very static ang aming deployment, base sa doon sa pagkakataon, we are doing proactive measures," Acohon said.
"Ang concern kasi namin sa labas baka kapag nagdatingan iyan, very prone sila sa snatching incident, robbery at pagsasamantala, 'yan ang iniiwasan din namin," he added.
He also reminded passengers that carrying guns is allowed, but only if the owner could present complete documents and permits.
"Doon sa mga magdadala ng baril, kung mayroon kayong permit to carry outside of residence, pwede po iyan pero mayroon po tayo proseso na sinusunod sa pagbyahe, lalo na po sa uniformed personnel," he stressed.
Some passengers, on the other hand, found some of the shipping line's requirements very tedious, especially for those who travel with pets.
Marivic Cordova almost lost faith that she could finish all the documents before her boarding time.
"Na-stress ako sa permit ng aso. Online iyong permit so ang hirap pumasok, ang dami na naming nag-online at ngayon lang naaprubahan,
so by faith lang din kung maaprubahan," she told ABS-CBN news.
"Ang kaparaanan para ako ay makapagbakasyon ay iyong aso, kasi iyong aso ay dalhin ko sa Bacolod. Kung walang aso, hindi ako makapagbakasyon," she added.
Other passengers opted to stay for days in the port after failing to get tickets for their trips.
Karen Mae Salazar, 31, said she was not aware of the ships' schedule when she went to the port on Friday to book for a trip to Misamis Oriental.
She has been staying at the port for almost five days now.
"Iyong P5,000 ko kulang na, pati pagkain wala na rin po. Sabi ko magtiis nalang ako ng tubig at biskwit," she said.
"Hirap tapos gutom. Tiyaga lang po hanggang sa makauwi lang," she added.
Luzminda Avila, a senior citizen, was also hoping to be a chance passenger for the Cebu trip yesterday, but she missed it because of traffic.
"Hindi kami nakasakay kahapon eh. Wala pa kaming ticket, sabi ng anak ko umuwi nalang. Eh malayo naman, kaya dito nalang ako sa terminal kasi mapagod ako," she told ABS-CBN news.
This morning, she asked some port personnel to help her break the lock on her luggage after she lost her key.
"Maliligo sana ako, pero walang susi," she said.
Manila North Harbour Port manager Aurora Mendoza said they don't usually allow overnight stay at the terminal, but they have been considerate of passengers who have come from far places.