This chapter is the halfway point in this love story
With Mamma back at the helm once more, the family business continued to prosper, While Bill was away, Lin became Mamma’s indispensable right arm. Noticing that he was getting fidgety with two of the three females in his life fully occupied during the day to day running of things, when Bill offered to sail north to Manila to report back on how the Philippine branch of Mamma’s business empire was doing, both women sent him off with their blessing. For her part, even though Tilde couldn’t yet speak, she understood that her beloved daddy was leaving without her. Lin told him later that their daughter pouted and screamed the entire time he was away. He determined that as soon as she could walk, she would accompany him on some voyages.
East Wind made her entrance into the bay, not far from the Philippine’s capital city Manila, ten days after leaving what was now her home port of Sembawang on the island of Singapore. The passage from the northern Malaysian mainland to Manila meant sailing north across the darkly green waters of the Sulu Sea, calling in at Puerto Princesa on Palawan’s east coast to clear customs, before heading north to the Sibuyan Sea, keeping Mindaro to the west, before heading NNW for Manila, on the northern island of Luzon.
With one of his men staying aboard East Wind to put Bill’s mind at rest, Mamma’s contact Diego Alvarez escorted him to the Philippine head office of her empire.
“Can you please inform Mamma that we have a need for small arms and ammunition Señor Bill. Once again there is revolution in the air. This time here on Luzon. I have tentative orders for two thousand Kalashnikov rifles, and fifty RPG-7’s, plus ammunition. I promised the rebels that we can supply, but not without Mamma’s blessing.”
“Why not M16’s? They’re much more reliable.”
“Too expensive and not so easy to source…”
After giving Bill the coordinates for delivery near to Laoag on the northwestern coast of Luzon, by midnight, East Wind was already heading back south and home. The potential cargo was far too dangerous for him to transport aboard her, should they encounter pirates. So other means must be found.
A month went by with no news from Diego. Then a courier arrived with a hand delivered note. Mamma handed it to Bill. “What does it say,” she asked.
“All it says is consignment arrived with thanks.”
Several months later when Bill once again made port in Manila Bay, this time with Lin and Tilde accompanying him, Diego related what had happened.
A flotilla of Malaysian fishing boats appeared off Luzon’s north western coast. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except these ones offloaded their cargo of crates on a beach just to the north of Laoag in the dead of night. As they returned to their fishing ground, in the distance lights could be seen in the vicinity of the crates. Diego was informed that the consignment had been quickly spirited away. A couple of days went by before he found a small parcel on the front desk of his office. It contained the payment and a note of thanks. On their arrival back at Sembawang, Bill handed over the money to Mamma. Ordinarily she shied away from gun running. But when Bill told her who the recipients were, she relented. Once more the Philippines was being controlled by a megalomaniac. Ferdinand Marcos and his formidable wife had been bad enough. This latest tyrant was, if anything, far worse…
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