‘Missing’ teachers back in the Philippines
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The three retired Filipino teachers who were reported missing during a layover in China more than a week ago arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Sunday night.

Sisters Linda Varela Guce, 72; Josefina Varela Baysic, 70; and Pacita Varela de Guzman, 77 – all retired teachers of Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City – have been reunited with their families. 

“We just sat there along with our baggages. At one point, we just embraced our luggages while we were sleeping. And we prayed the rosary. We prayed hard: Lord, please save us. We had no contact with our families,” De Guzman recalled their ordeal.

China Eastern Airlines did not rebook the women after their connecting flight was cancelled due to bad weather.

Each day, they waited as chance passengers at the airport in Shanghai for a flight to Manila. 

The three women left John F. Kennedy Airport in New York aboard a China Eastern Airlines flight for Shanghai on Aug. 9.

The plane was forced to land in Hubei due to bad weather. They then flew to Shanghai, where they were stranded again due to a rebooking problem.

They were able to board a flight after their relatives sought the assistance of President Duterte and media to help locate them.

After being in New Jersey for five months, De Guzman said their cell phones no longer worked and airline personnel did not give any means of communication.

“We had no contact at all, that’s why have been crying. How can we contact our loved ones?” she said. 

Baysic lamented that some of their belongings were lost.

“When we picked up our luggage, I saw that the keys were no longer there. The keys were removed and the contents are nowhere to be found,” she said.

CHINA JOSEFINA VARELA BAYSIC LINDA VARELA GUCE MISSING TEACHERS PACITA VARELA DE GUZMA
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