October 08, 2014


Dear texters of these local radio stations which claim to provide this so-called public service,

Instead of having your complaints aired, why not address them directly to the person/entity concerned? Please don't give these radio stations the luxury of gaining profit at the expense of others. If you think that what you are doing is a courageous act, "para sa bayan, sa barangay, para sa komunidad" thing, you're so so so wrong. It's actually the opposite. It's cowardice, for you people don't have the nerve to face these people head on, which would've solved the problem quicker without the whole world knowing My ghaaaad, kaya hindi umuunlad ang bansa, puro negative vibes ang naririnig sa umaga.

#Charm :)

October 03, 2014

Class Impression

Lao-Tzu once said that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Well, I say, “A journey of a thousand nautical miles begins and commences with air traffic management officers. Finally, we are a step closer to becoming one of them.

Being part of the training was one of the best amazing experiences we’ve ever had. Just simply being here in the academy, listening and trying to understand what used to be a foreign thing to most of us, gave us this sense of pride. The word aviation seemed too far off for most of us. We all did know about airplanes and airports and towers and all that stuff but that was just it. Nothing more. Now, we no longer know nor call them airplanes. Now, they’re Boeing 747s, 777s, Airbus 330s, 320s, Cessnas, Dorniers, Jetstreams, C130s.

The ten-month training had taught us a lot of things – from the very basic definitions of air traffic service up to the rules of separation and coordination. It was full-packed. Looking back, I can’t help but smile and wince at the same time remembering how much we have endured for the past months. It was indescribably hard. When Phase 1 started, we had to study like we’d never studied before. We had to study, study, study, every waking moment to survive a total of 16 exams in two months. We had to take care of those two precious lives we were given. Some of us even improvised techniques just to memorize phrases and numbers and sentences and even weird acronyms. The Phase 2 (Laboratory Phase) was even more gruelling. We had to memorize the TMA, the aerodrome layout, the FIR, and we even managed to compose songs just to memorize them. There were also the checkouts. Wow, the checkouts. How can we ever forget the anxiety they’ve given us? That was when you realized how a minute can define your future, for every minute of delay in separation can cost you a 5-point grade deduction. That’s when you had to face four instructors to prove your skills in separating those styroplanes. That’s when you had to prevent your hands from shaking so you can write on the flight strips while your instructor was beside you watching everything you do.

I guess fear was a great motivation. We feared of getting washed out. Just hearing that word made us shiver before. However, we believe that the training was hard on us because this is what an air traffic management job demands. Excellence is not an advantage but a necessity, knowing that it involves protecting thousands of lives and millions of property. I guess that’s one of the reasons why we chose not to quit despite of everything. We all came from different parts of the country; thousands of us took the exams, 55 of us made it to the training and only 45 made it to the end. I have to admit that most of us didn’t really dream or even imagine being air traffic management officers. Most of us are licensed engineers and registered nurses. We had questioned ourselves a lot of times of why we’re here when there were a lot of other opportunities out there. We could go abroad. We could earn bigger. But call it a leap of faith. We didn’t know what’s in store for us until we came here. Little by little, we have understood what it’s like to be an ATMO. We have learned to appreciate and love the job. It was no longer because we want to earn big or we want to work in the government. We want to take part of every airplane’s safe take-off, knowing that someone will be able to see and admire the world from up above. And we want to take part of every airplane’s safe landing, knowing that we will be able to bring someone safely home to his family. It’s that everyday fulfilment that by just doing your job well, you’ll be able to protect countless lives.

As to whether we would like to be called an ATMO or an ATC, we don’t really know. It doesn’t really matter. As what they say, what truly defines a person is not what he is but what he does. Regardless of the title, we are all working for one mission, that is to have a safe, secure and green Philippine sky. We just want to serve. We want to be CAAP. And the future looks bright, what with the coming of the new CNS-ATM. With the newer technology and CATC’s excellent training methods, surely we will not only maintain the Category 1 status but we can surely bring our country to greater heights.

Indeed, the training has transformed us into better individuals and has taught us the value of teamwork and friendship. I couldn’t remember how many times we have prayed not just for ourselves but for each and every one of us to pass. I remembered how we declined to celebrate passing the exams because one of our classmates didn’t make it. One’s success became everyone’s success. The failure of one became the failure of everyone.
It’s ironic. We’ve all been waiting for this graduation day to happen and now that this is finally happening, we are dreading it. Not that we don’t want to graduate. We will just miss being a trainee. We will miss being with these people sitting beside us. But I guess life is a journey of letting go. Whether we like it or not, after this very day, we would all have to say “see you soon” to everyone. There’s no turning back. When we return here after our vacation, we will now face the future that we all just once dreamed of. But then again, this chapter will remain a highlight. This page will always be dog-eared in our lifebook. To Dondie, Meljan, Angelo, Camille, Jeffrey, Ace, Abby, Niña, Patrick and Ledra, you are and will always be a part of CATS07.

We won’t be here today because we did it on our own. A lot of people have dreamed and believed in us. And so, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of this life-changing journey.

We wanted to thank CAAP for opening the doors for us.
We thank CATC for taking care of us.
Thank you to our very competent and patient instructors for teaching us during and even beyond office hours, for the inspiration and push for us to continue the training. Thank you for putting your jobs on the line each time you let us take over your positions. And most importantly, for letting us pass.
Thank you to the air traffic management officers we have worked with, most specially the CATS06, who helped us during our OJT.
To our dear Ma’am Arlin Panlilio, our superwoman, thank you for being our mother. Thank you for being there for us despite your busy schedule. We also would like to say sorry for I know how we all had been a pain in your neck. 
Heartfelt thanks to our parents, our family, who have made a great gamble. Most of us should’ve already worked and should’ve been the ones helping you but then you chose to sacrifice 10 more months to support us financially. Though you weren’t there for us physically, you have been our source of inspiration and hope. And so we have made this graduation day not just our celebration but also as an act of gratitude for all the sacrifices you’ve done. Our dear parents, this day is for you.
I personally would like to thank my papang, mamang and my brothers for all their sacrifices for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you and I miss you.
Lastly, we would like to thank our Creator, our Alpha Controller up there, Who made all these things possible. He Who answered our every prayer, Who guided us in order for our tiny blips and styroplanes to be separated, Who brought us here and made us who we are now.

Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith. We make choices in our life and sometimes these choices make us who and what we are. We have never regretted joining this training. The training is indeed a gift. This has been one hell of a plane ride. We’ve encountered a lot of turbulences along the way but we have survived it. We have reached our destination with pride. We now have a new flight plan and we are now on a new beginning of our flight. We just checked in. I hope each one of us will always remember one of the many important things that CATC has instilled in us, that it’s not the altitude of our success that defines us, it’s our attitude.

Cheers to us catsmates. We are ready for takeoff.

***my speech during the Comprehensive Air Traffic Service Batch 07 Graduation Day, Oct. 3, 2014