New Year with the Crew (Kalibo)

Last December, Mom announced that for New Year, she’d be having a flight to Kalibo, and invited me to come along. I had never actually been there to linger, as it’s always been just the passageway to the popular beach destination of Boracay. Arrived there at night and went straight to where the crew was staying, Sampaguita Hotel. To my surprise, it’s a year-round Christmas village! We were greeted by a row of Precious Moments angels and Christmas lights. Plus, check out our room! IMG_0555.JPG

Got me quite nostalgic since I used to have Precious Moments coloring books and figurines as a child. More where that came from…

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These dolls are housed in the hotel’s very own Christmas museum. Apparently, the owner of the franchise wanted to retire in the Philippines, and so he put this up.

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On New Year’s Eve, Mom and her crew were bound for a roundtrip flight to Incheon. They currently have several flights of that route because in Korea, going on a trip to Boracay is on everyone’s must-do lists. To the point that if you haven’t been to Boracay, you’re not “in.”

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Saying bye to my mom, the purser 😉

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So, I still had lots of company during New Year’s Eve because PAL crew of different flights were stationed there or on standby. It was a simple celebration of wine, beer and chips, with only a handful of fireworks in sight, but hours of chatting and playing Categories.

I used to wonder if they ever felt lonely during occassions like these, normally spent with family. I looked back at those Christmases and birthdays when mom would be away. I clearly remember those long distance phone calls she would make using those phone cards (Skype and Viber were non-existent) and oh, how I would miss her back then!

But I took comfort in what lay before me- people who were not necessarily close, but who made each other feel warmth and companionship. Who knows when they’d be on the same flight again? What mattered was the moment, the fact that they shared it with one another, with laughter and celebration. In fact, some of them shared with me how blessed the feel to be there, to have made it into their dream profession.

A middle-aged couple, upon meeting me asked if I had plans to apply as a flight attendant, and I said no because I was still enjoying my job. The husband replied, “Yeah, flying is so demanding. I mean, we get to stay in such nice hotels, we get allowance while traveling the world, free wifi, free breakfast, it’s a tough job!” — of course it goes without noting his sarcasm..

Later on, someone working for about 20 years, still feels it’s the best job in the world because “how many people can say they saw the ball drop in New York for New Years Eve?Let alone, bring their families along with them on free vacations- something that corporate folk spend their entire year saving up for”

That got me thinking quite a bit haha. But one thing’s for sure- I’ve always been proud of my mom for all her hardwork and for sticking it out for over 30 years, even more so now. So, cheers to these people who are at the forefront of our safety and comfort throughout our travels!

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