MANILA, Philippines (AP) — When his cruise ship sailed into Manila Bay after weeks of voyaging like a castaway amid port closures set off by the global pandemic, Erick Arenas felt he was finally home.
But the 34-year-old dance performer of the Ovation of the Seas saw an ominous sign even before he can set foot on homeland. An array of the world’s best-known cruise ships was waiting at anchor off the Philippine capital to drop off thousands of Filipino crew members like him who were displaced across the world by the contagion.
“I thought I was on my final mile to home,” said Arenas, whose homecoming was made tragic by the death of his father from pneumonia a few weeks before his ship reached Manila.
Nearly a month after disembarking, however, Arenas was still stuck in complete isolation in a hotel used for quarantine in metropolitan Manila, about an