Beautiful Skies

May 2, 2008

I boarded my plane the following day… bound for Manila. And with the flying-fever raging inside of me, I took some pictures of the wings of the plane.

My seat assignment was 10E and this was my view:

The flight back was an hour long so i was also able to take a nap. But I would always look at the window and try to see the changing vista beside me.

Here is another shot:

Tomorrow, we are flying back to Dumaguete. I could hardly wait to be on a plane again and see the beautiful skies!

Thank you Lord for the awesome beauty of Your creation. Truly, Your invisible attributes are seen through the Creation – so much so, that we are without any excuse. We can see You in Your beautiful creation.

Thank you Lord. – Romans 1:20

Not having anything to do, I just lounged at the office of Aviation Training One International. Capt Dan Bahinting approached me and said something so fast that I failed to properly hear him. He dropped in my hand a pair of headsets.

i thought we were just going to listen to some music until his sister and other employees started making remarks of the possibility of me throwing up? Then i heard the word Aerobat 152.

I WAS GOING TO FLY!

He prepped the plane….The only one in the Philippines

He gave me some very clear run through of the instruments… I could not believe it. The last time I flew with him was July 16, 2004! And the first time I ever flew a Cessna was in 1998 with his father, Capt Jessup Bahinting over in Mactan International Airport, Cebu.

When the instructions were done, we proceeded to the runway. He did the communications with the Dumaguete Air Traffic office. When it was all set… the view of the runway ( newly asphalted – so there were no lines and numbers) was truly an amazing sight…

I pushed the throttle and the engine fired up …. and we started through the runway… and when given the direction, I pulled the lever and off we went… what an awesome feeling! The most beautiful sight of the sea, islands, clouds… the city below!

I was like a little boy… telling Capt Dan “this is so awesome and you get to see this everyday!” I was really thrilled…. Capt Dan would remind me to level the plane so I could see clearly infront of me….

The landing was a little scary but Capt Dan really just put me at ease. We landed and went back to the edge of the runway for another take off…. and off we went. Capt Dan was telling me that flying feels so natural for me….and that I was getting it….

We circled around the bay and he pointed Cebu, Siquijor and over to the far side, Bohol… it was simply amazing. It was the greatest feeling. I was too happy that this time, i got Sarah’s camera (Dan’s sister) before I boarded the Cessna Aerobat 152 … (the only one that has been exported to the Philippines, as per FAA records!)

What an awesome feeling. Here I was feeling miserable for missing my flight yet God has other plans for me! God was redeeming my stressful experience earlier. Here I was… fulfilling my childhood dream of flying!

It started to drizzle as I was preparing to land the second time. When I released the latch 30 degrees and lessened the power, I got distracted when I saw the vehicles down below that I was on the far left of the runway when I started to descend….

But finally made it back to the middle of the runway… and what a relief to be on the ground again…

It was the greatest feeling! From despair to rejoicing!

And come to think of it, there are many times when we despair in our lives. When things are not working out no matter how much we planned them. When things are falling apart beyond our control. Yet in an instant, God can redeem all these things. I am not trying to minimize your pain or the hurt you are going through, but one thing I know, He can redeem our sufferings. He can redeem our traveling inconveniences! He can redeem our flight plan errors and missed details!

Yesterday, I was in despair. I was anxious to be home. When I called my wife about the change of my flight details. She was very relaxed and said “maybe God is protecting you from something…” as it turned out, I was going to miss my Air Philippines flight so that in a moment, I could be piloting a Cessna Aerobat 152 over the city of Dumaguete and the seas beyond!

Hey, to those of you skeptics (har har har) I did not use Photoshop for this. I don’t know how to use that ( ask my wife, I am ignorant of those photo editing softwares), but hey, one of the things I do know, is to fly a Cessna. And maybe, one of these years, I could also teach you how to fly.

Thank you Capt Dan Bahinting. Amazing how flying can make me feel like an excited little boy. Thank you for teaching me how to fly…it is still my dream to be a certified flyer and be part of that awesome men and women who get to play up in the skies!

April 29, 2008

7:28AM

Dumaguete/ Sibulan Airport while waiting for my AIRPHILS flight to Manila

Here I am again sitting and waiting for my flight. I do not even know where to begin writing about the events that took place yesterday.

It was a difficult experience that eventually got redeemed beyond my expectations!

With the camp staff training done, I was ready to go home. It was an afternoon flight so I had plenty of time to spare in the morning to prepare for my trip.

I went to the airport and the counter of AirPhilippines was still closed. Joedan took me there early because I was just really anxious to get home. Before reaching the airport premises, I called my wife to tell her about the package that we were waiting to receive. Her voice sounded really excited to tell that it just arrived – seconds before my call. We were just really elated!

Anyways, at the queue, I chatted with two ladies from the nearby island of Siquijor. From what they told me, I took note that I need to visit Siquijor one of these days.

When it was my turn – I asked for my favorite seat ( EXIT row, WINDOW) and the man said “ Sir, did you have your ticket re-book?” I just said “No…” and he looked at me and said the most painful words an anxious husband dying to see his wife..”Sir, your ticket is dated for yesterday’s flight at 2:45PM”

I could not believe my ears! I looked at the ticket and there it was – April 27! How could I have missed it! How could I look at this ticket during the weekend and didn’t realize the date of my flight? I thought all along that what I got was a Monday flight!

I was asked to try as a chance passenger. Whooaaaa….. I have always been a CONFIRMED passenger, not a CHANCE passenger. I started to feel the tension rushing to my head as I imagined my wife getting ready or worse, already driving down the South Luzon Expressway, bearing with the traffic jams to pick up a husband who missed the flight not by a couple of minutes, but 24 HOURS!!!

I rushed to the ticketing office only to hear another bombshell:

“Sir, you need to pay P2,554 to be a chance passenger. But I need to tell you that you are going to be Priority Number 2. “

Now that sounds really funny! How can I be PRIORITY when it is all left to CHANCE?! Anyways, you know what I mean.

“If you want sir, there is a last seat available for the first flight tomorrow….”

My head was spinning. From a CONFIRMED passenger, to CHANCE passenger, to CHANCE passenger Priority Number 2 and now to the LAST Possible SEAT for the first flight the following day!

Seeing how there were a lot of passengers and CHANCE priority NUMBER 1 was really determined to be a CHANCE PASSENGER, I opted to take the last seat for the following day’s first flight. I took out my wallet – and my wallet wasn’t cooperating with me! I asked if I could use my credit card and I was told “Sir, we don’t have the swiping machine for the credit card at this time…”

So to be the LAST CONFIRMED Passenger, we rushed to find a BPI ATM…. And it seemed to me that the trycicles in Dumaguete were driving faster than Joedan (sorry bro… har har har)

Found the ATM.

Stood as the 6th in line.

My turn. The machine took my card.

Punched some numbers. Waited… and the screen showed me the amount. I did not even have the full money for it.

I lacked P100 to get the final seat on the following day’s flight. If I do not get this ticket, I will be flying on Wednesday afternoon, I was told.

Joedan gave me the P100 and I flew to the ticket counter.

“Sir, are you sure you don’t want to be CHANCE passenger NUMBER 2?”

I said calmly “I will take the last seat for tomorrow’s flight” and I saw PRIORITY NUMBER ONE stood up because they are starting to board and he needs to get ready…

(Ok we are about to board….

A Boy’s Dream

April 26, 2008

When I was in grade school, I encountered a poem that I never left me. To immortalize it, I am posting it here. The poem captured my love and my excitement whenever I am around airplanes. Well, this training  I am conducting right now took me to the city of Dumaguete, Philippines. This was also the place where I first flew a Cessna 4 years ago… (but that’s another blog…)

“When I grow up, I’d like to be

A brave strong rubber out on the sea

I’ll sail on the ocean wide

To see the big world far and wide

But then I also wish to fly

A whizzing jet plane in the sky

I’ll make a loop and zoom and dash

And come to land without a crash…

(there are some parts here that I had forgotten. But the thought of making loops and zooming in the big blue yonder never left. )

I arrived in Dumaguete and a good friend of mine is running an Aviation Flight School there. I stayed there in the office for several hours surrounded by small and lightweight planes parked outside. Well, the president was also in the city so there were some military planes and helicopters parked as well. I was like a little boy again… reminiscing the poem “but then I also wish to fly….” ( see the ABOUT page of my BLOG)

Here in the little airstrip, people would really stop to look at airplanes that land and take-off. Flight students, maintenance crews and even happy guests like me were just too eager to take out our digital cameras to capture even for a moment a plane about to soar into the sky.

Whew! The sights and sounds of these planes! What I wouldn’t do just to be able to fly one of these? It would be the most awesome of all a young boy’s dream.