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.


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!


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.

Excerpts from a recent email a friend send to our small band of brothers spanning more than 24 years. We have struggled through our careers, relationships, families and yet despite all that, have forged a friendship that is a source of affirmation and encouragement. We made a covenant to come together at least once a year, particularly during the month of August. What an empowering email. How about you? Have you discovered your passion?

Those were really trying times for me both professionally and personally. I went through dark and uncertain times yet as they always do, I emerged out of it more enlightened and strengthened personally, recharged and more motivated professionally.

The down side started last October. Grabe ang pressure kasi wala kming forecast and management, as usual, pinipiga kami. I was real real close to resigning and was deeply contemplating on transferring to another company. Yet I moved on, day by day, night by night, though a litte depressed and discouraged. I was aching for a change somewhere partly maybe because I was burned out (Remember when we got together last August that we just closed another JPY 340M project for the Ayala’s electonics firm). Partly maybe because I wanted to make more money so there was an urge to search for greener pastures. I was ready at that time to consider a lower salary job but with commissions. Overall, I was unstable at that point. Low morale, distracted and out of focus most of the time. Even during the Japan trip in December, I was not my usual self.

I took a few days leave around the end of December to search myself an meditate internally. Come January, I came back to work refreshed and charged up. While still there was no good outlook for sales, I started to work with the enthusiasm of a neophyte. I visited again customers here and there. I went back to basics. In my mobile time, I found great strength in the music I play in my car. I reverted to some old high school 80’s music and day by day, it strengthened me and took me out of the doldrums. I also revisited the old Karate Kid movies (1 & 2), thanks to Limewire and saw the movies in a different perspective and in a new light.

Somewhere along the way, come February, I managed to clinch the most important deal of my professional sales career, get a new account. Not just a local one but a big Taiwanese conglomerate which has plants in Thailand, China (3 sites) and Taiwan. It was a career defining deal and it was the moment that finally snapped me out of my slump. Yes, the deal itself wasn’t that big – US$ 586K (roughly PHP 24M) and the margin was very small, yet, it brought a different person out of me. The real salesman surfaced, defied the odds (I beat two major players in this entry level equipment market), persevered and did not quit, but most of all, created a strong relationship with a new client.

The aftermath of this landmark deal earned me instant recognition amongst all of our sites and even up to our HQ. Now, every body wants to know how I did it. Yes, the big deals with the Ayala group were good, but the account was already there when I arrived and joined the company 8 years ago. This was different. This was pure marketing development and when asked about it, I told them that this was 4 years in the making.

But the real big and profound end result of the deal was that of self discovery and enlighthenment for me. Like when the Apostle Paul (then Saul of Tarsus) was suddenly struck by very strong ray of light in his journey and was blinded and afterwards emerged out as a totally different person, it was a similar experience. Suddenly, I knew who I am and what I will be for the rest of my career. I decided I am not resigning and search for greener pastures. I decided to stay put and finish my career here and build on my name and reputation here.

Well, the reason I’m all sharing this with you is that I know all of us go through these types of situations and stages in life. The concept of being a square peg in around hole is the fitting description. Many people just have this job because they have to but they did not necessarily want. For my case, I believe I was for the past 7 and a half years in this company (until that moment). It was just a job for me because I need it for personal reasons. But it was not what I liked. The passion was not there.

Now, things are different. This is the real Rommel. I am proud to say I am a salesman. I am passionate in what I do. I now welcome any challenge and feel that the sky is the limit to anything I want to do. I do not fear failure. I press forward, unrelenting in doing whatever i needed. I do not need to be motivated. I just go out and sell, develop and establish new accounts and business relationships. And most of all, I am now happy and contented in what I do. I’m not interested in making more money than what I need. I don’t care anymore if I get promoted out of this deal or not though my boss has already recommended me for promotion as early as 3 weeks ago. I’m more interested in maximizing my time and resources so that I can spend more important time with my family.

My brothers, I hope that all of you have identified yourselves also. I hope my experience can help you also in your personal journey in life. I’ll share with you more when we get to meet again. I’m scheduled to go to Tokyo by the last week of April to accompany one prospective client (big car electronics company) to one of our principal’s sites.

My regards to all,