amazing filipino sailors in europe – true stories of adventure

True Stories of Adventure


eastwind journals 144


By Bernie V. Lopez


fear is the enemy
you must seek danger
for danger will save you
from danger and from fear itself


between reality and imagination
between relevance and absurdity
between ecstasy and agony
between pleasure and pain
between stratospheric highs and subterranean lows
is a lonely, dangerous, exciting road called adventure



At the age of 26, I left New York to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that I dubbed eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 long years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. This was in the mid-70s.


Everywhere I went, I met the amazing daring Filipino sailors in major Atlantic ports – Piraeus, Bremen, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, you name it. Where the big ports were, the colorful Filipino sailors converged, seeking the razor’s edge. They were at once gentle and violent, lovable and feared. The true stories below are excerpts from a book I subsequently wrote, Wings and Wanderlust – the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self. (send the book as a Christmas gift to friends anywhere in the Philipines, Php450 all postal charges included, received via JRS in 2 to 3 days, no credit card needed. Email request to


eastwind memoirs 01
This is the true story of two Filipino sailors. The first is a second-officer from a Panamanian ship who invited thousands of Filipinos he did not know to his birthday party in Athens, squandering 5 years of savings in a single night. The second is a US Navy sailor who earned as much money from smuggling contraband as from his salary.


eastwind memoirs 09
This is the story of how a bunch of Filipino sailors smuggled an entertainment girl aboard their ship for thousands of miles, for several months, through dozens of Atlantic ports, without the ship’s captain knowing about it. It is also the story of a sailor who faked his engineering license for 20 years and got away with it. Finally, it tells why Capetown bar girls prefer Filipinos from Japanese or Korean sailors, triggering violent brawls.


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