The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

22 August 2022

All aboard the BRP Melchora Aquino

My mom and I couldn’t sleep when we heard about the invitation for ASP members to tour the newest and biggest vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard. We were imagining how big the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Melchora Aquino. Will it be like the warship in the movie?

Most of the 27 children and youth on the spectrum like me, with our companions, arrived one hour earlier at our assembly place in the Coast Guard Education Training And Doctrine Command Center (CGDETDC). We were overwhelmed by the extreme hospitality of our hosts, the Coast Guard Officers' Course (CGOC) Class 12-2011. Upon arrival, they served us taho, dirty ice cream, baked macaroni, and my favorite, Jolly Hotdog. There were singers in uniform playing guitars in the open-air dining area set up for us. Someone in uniform was even blowing bubbles in the air through an electric fan. We explored around the Command Center and discovered their swimming pool was 18 ft deep. Wow! I can’t imagine myself standing in that pool without drowning!

All the members of Coast Guard Officers' Course (CGOC) Class 12-2011, led by Class President CG LCDR Michael John P. Encina and CG LCDR Geriel Cabacungan, were present from the start of the event until the end of the vessel tour. Even CG COMMO Roben De Guzman greeted us. They all made us feel really special, and we appreciate them so much. They even called each of us and gifted us with a water jug, a dri-fit shirt, a woven bag, a school bag, and school supplies!

PWA Rhav Lomboy wearing 2020 Angels Walk T-Shirt, black pants with designs and shoes with color red, black, yellow and white. He holds a tripod with a camera and his red and black backpack hanged on his right shoulder.
Rhav during the BRP Tour

PWAs Rhav Lomboy, Zion Cruz and Rheyn Martinez standing in front of a tan thin table with styro of foods, bottles of water and tetra pack of Zesto Juice.
Rhav (right) with his fellow Pweymates Zion (middle) and Rheyn (left)

During the tour proper, we learned and discovered a lot about advanced technology in coast guard sensors and devices. We came across a large map of Manila Bay. There were radars for detecting the presence, direction, distances, and speed of ships. We tried the binoculars and pretended to be the captain of the ship. Our most thrilling experience was when we took our turns riding a PCG boat. Some of us were excited about the ride, while others were scared. The PCG boat crew made extra effort to make the ride comfortable, even while we felt the waves. We had to balance our posture while riding!

PWA Rhav Lomboy Rhav with Mommy Rizza riding the PCG small vessel with PCG Officers. Rhav and the other ASP member taking photos using iphone.
Rhav with Mommy Rizza riding the PCG small vessel

We are all so thankful and blessed with these amazing PCG officers who supported, uplifted, and brought so much joy to us. Special thanks also to FKK volunteers Edward Yanez and Louie Reformado for documenting this Lakbay Aral with their professional lenses. Thank you all for being part of our journey, and please continue your advocacy for individuals like us to inspire other people. God Bless.

About the contributor: Rhav Lomboy is a young adult on the spectrum and a member of ASP Self-Advocates. He is a multimedia arts student. He’s a vlogger, loves to play drums, a bowler, and works for their family business.


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