In the last week, the word around the Philippines has focused on the country’s elections. The island chain has been making a big, sometimes controversial splash lately, with an improving economy and a new leader who’s dedicated to restoring the country to glory (for better or worse). Not only that, but the islands made history by electing the world’s first transgender woman to Congress. In other words, you’ll be hearing more from this place in the near future, and — if you travel by sea — you’ve likely run across a Filipino citizen in your journeys. That’s because a sizable portion of the Filipino population makes its living abroad, working aboard ships and cruise lines across the world. There’s a lot to know about these industrious but often mistreated seafarers, so let’s get to it.
1. Filipinos Are The Most Popular Sailors in the World
Thanks to their rigorous four-year training program and the country’s widespread efforts to educate their young as to the ways of the sea, Filipino sailors are known internationally for their maritime acumen. Recent surveys indicate that Filipino seamen account for more than 25 percent of merchant sailors currently working. That’s nearly half a million currently employed Filipino sailors working in merchant and cruise ships all over the world. That’s why the Philippines has earned the reputation for being the manning capital of the world.