The Philippines Off Mindoro, a Night to Remember

A ferry and a tanker collide in a titanic disaster

At about 10 o'clock on a moonless night, the grungy 2,215-ton ferry Dona Paz coursed through the choppy waters of the Tablas Strait, some 110 miles south of Manila. The people who crammed the decks on makeshift cots and slept three or four to a bed were scheduled to be in the capital by morning, and the air was filled with anticipation. Young women from the impoverished island of Samar talked excitedly about finding jobs as maids in Manila homes. Mothers and fathers tucked their children into bed and chatted about the relatives and the sights they would soon see.

Suddenly,...

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