MANILA, Philippines - The guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) arrived in Manila May 31 for a port visit.
"We are thrilled to be visiting Manila," said Cmdr. Luke Frost, commanding officer of Paul Hamilton.
"As a ship based in the Middle Pacific, we enjoy strong and vital ties to the people of the Philippines that go back generations and generations. Our visit provides today's Sailors the chance to strengthen their own personal connections, experience our common history in a real and tangible way and strengthen this partnership that makes our world more secure and prosperous."
Sailors will be given the opportunity to experience the rich culture of the Philippines with various tours of local historic locations and regional attractions.
Twenty four Filipino-American Sailors will also be able to spend time with their families and close friends who reside in the Philippines.
"My two older sisters and older brother were both born in Illoco Norte-the birthplace of my parents and my grandparents," said Ensign Mark Villa, one of the ship's engineering officers. "I have been back for family reunions twice before, and I will always remember the incredibly closely knit small towns, the strong families and strong bonds. Everyone grows up together and knows each other. There is such a strong sense of community."
"I was born and raised in Zambales until I was 14," said Hospital Corpsman Eulogio Gutierrez. "My father still lives in Bulacan, but I haven't been back since 2007. I'm excited to see my family and to taste the diniguan and enjoy the desserts! To me the Philippines is all about family."
In addition to enjoying the beauty and activities that attract tourists to Manila, Paul Hamilton Sailors will also volunteer at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, affording an opportunity to celebrate the shared sacrifices of a longstanding partnership and alliance, develop and enhance friendships with historic partners and help preserve this legacy for future generations.
Operations Specialist Ralph Kevin Camabaliza was born and raised in Pampanga.
"I lived in Pampanga until I was five, and returned again for high school," said Camabaliza. "My mother and her family still live in Pampanga and she raised me to know the tight community, interconnectedness and ready willingness to help a neighbor that will always make the Philippines a part of who I am."
Paul Hamilton deployed Sept. 21, 2012 and has been operating in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility for the past eight months, conducting a wide array of operations supporting regional security, counter-terrorism and combating transnational crime as partners in securing the global commons.
"Our ship is the third destroyer our Navy has named for Paul Hamilton," said Frost. "The World War II 'tin can' destroyer earned seven battle stars in these waters. It is such an honor to inherit the legacy of this partnership. This alliance has safeguarded regional peace and security for the past half century and helped support the remarkable economic growth of this vast and diverse region. We are really excited to make a port call here, in the Philippines."
Paul Hamilton, an Arleigh burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is one of 11 surface combatants of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, and is assigned to Destroyer Squadron THREE ONE. The ship is home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.