International floating book fair Doulos Hope sails back to PH

It has always been the mission of GBA Ships, the NGO behind the book fair, to share knowledge, foster literacy, and promote international goodwill. 

Book fairs are cool. But what’s even cooler than a book fair? A floating book fair, of course!

After over a decade, the international floating book fair on the vessel Doulos Hope has found its way back to Philippine shores. It’s scheduled to dock at three ports in Luzon from March to April.

It is currently anchored to Subic Bay’s Rivera North Wharf Port until March 3, and from there it will proceed to its first stop, the San Fernando International Seaport in San Fernando, La Union from March 7 to 24. 

Its second stop will be Manila from March 28 to April 23. Lastly, it will dock in Batangas City from April 16 to 28.

Sharing knowledge, bridging cultures

It has always been the mission of GBA Ships, the non-profit organization behind Doulos Hope to share knowledge, foster literacy, and promote international goodwill. 

The floating book fair is also an enduring testament to the power of books to connect and inspire people across the globe.

Since its inception in 1970, the fleet, which includes Doulos Hope’s sister ship Logos Hope, has visited over 160 countries and welcomed aboard over 50 million visitors. 

GBA Ships’ two vessels visit each port of call for several weeks at a time and open the gangways to hundreds and often thousands of visitors every day.

While Doulos Hope is now docked in Subic Bay, Logos Hope is thousands of miles away in Gqeberha, South Africa.

The multicultural crew comprised of over 50 nationalities is a reflection of Doulos Hope’s tireless efforts to promote international camaraderie and goodwill, especially at a time when wars, discrimination, poverty, and inequality are causing grief in many parts of the world. 

Its visit to the Philippines highlights the organization’s commitment to bridging cultures and building a more connected and informed world.

Thousands of affordable books

The older vessel, Logos Hope, was in the Philippines in 2012, with Cebu City as its first stop. At that time, it carried more than 5,000 titles and 500,000 pieces of books sold at affordable price points.

Doulos Hope is the latest addition to the GBA Ships fleet, which completed a period of refurbishment and entered service in May 2023.

Since then, it has made stops in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and most recently in Cambodia.

Any book fair promises an enriching experience for visitors, especially with the floating library making quality literature accessible to many, emphasizing the importance of reading in today’s digital age. 

That’s why this global outreach is not only about sharing books and bridging cultures, but also engages with local communities, participates in projects, and promotes literacy and education.

Before you visit

The floating book fair is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 2:00 to 9:00 pm, with the last entry at 8:00 pm.

There is a P50 entrance fee per head, with free admission for children under 12 and senior citizens. Please note that kids must be accompanied by an adult.

Be advised as well that the vessel is not PWD-friendly. While this poses a significant limitation, the event offers an opportunity for dialogue and improvement as regards the need for more inclusive cultural initiatives. 

According to the Doulos Hope Philippines Facebook page, priority is given to online bookings. Walk-ins are allowed but things can get busy so it’s better if you book yourself a slot ahead of your intended date and time of visit. 

Visit its Facebook page for more information on registration.

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.