PAL’s Cebu to LAX flight to celebrate its 75th year
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2016 - 10:00am

Today is a red-letter day in the history of Philippine Airlines (PAL) when on Feb. 26, 1941, Filipino businessmen led by Andres Soriano Sr. incorporated Philippine Air Lines and on March 15, 1941 a single Beechcraft Model 18 NPC-54 flew a daily service between Manila from the old Nielson Field (What’s left of that today is the Nielson Tower) and Baguio City. That was a short-lived airline service because it was interrupted by World War II. Flight operations resumed after the war and on July 31, 1946, PAL became the first Asian airline to cross the Pacific Ocean on a chartered DC-4 that carried US servicemen from Nielson Airport to Oakland.

Today PAL commemorates this historic flight with the first ever Cebu direct to Los Angeles International (LAX) on board PR-122. For us Cebuanos and for me especially who has been writing and asking PAL if we Cebuanos could bypass Manila on our way to visit our friends in the US Mainland. Today, PAL is here to deliver on my dream and I have been invited to be on this historic maiden flight with PAL president Jimmy Bautista.

Mind you, Mr. Patrick Paez of TV-5 also invited me to be one of the panelists for the Visayas Leg of the Presidential Debates on March 20, but honestly, I’d rather be on his historic flight, as it will be imprinted in PAL’s history and my own memorabilia for a long time. Secondly, PAL invited me ahead of time. But between that historical-political event, for me taking the historic flight is more eventful, besides, I haven’t been back to LA in a long time. When I go to the US, it’s usually San Francisco, New York or Houston.

While today is already the proverbial Ides of March,last Friday, March 11, on the 5th year of the Great Japanese Tsunami earthquake a.k.a. Fukushima nuclear disaster, I too made my own little history when I entered the Cebu Doctors University Hospital (CebuDoc) to have a thorough check up of this 64-year-old body… that has never been hospitalized since birth, as I was born in Emmanuel Maternity in Echavez St., Cebu City. I had an earlier check up with my blood sample and my daughter, Dr. Fara Avila-Tequillo insisted for a more thorough test and that meant a few days in the hospital for tests, which for me was quite scary!

Of course I was hesitant to enter the hospital, especially with my 64-year clean health record of never been hospitalized. But what made my decision easier to make was five years ago, JESA Management Corp., our family corporation got a medical insurance from Kaiser International Healthgroup Inc. which is being marketed all over the nation through the International Marketing Group (IMG)… and one call to Kaiser for a Letter of Authority (LOA) then things went into motion quickly. That took a lot of my anxiety away, especially that after a weekend at the hospital, I’m off to an international flight.

I guess this is Kaiser International’s belief in their own slogan, “At Kaiser, you need not worry about the Future!” More importantly, Kaiser has over 1,000 accredited physicians and 500 accredited hospitals from all over the country, while it is quite comforting if you got your medical insurance from them, the increasing cost of HMOs is your best protection from an uncertain future. The Kaiser International Healthgroup Inc. covers all ages and people from the low, middle and upper classes.

I’m only staying for five days in California because I really have nothing to do there anyway and the things we need that are in the US (like golf clubs) are already available here or often it is cheaper to buy these in Asia. So I will be back in no time to rejoin the presidential circus.

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Last week we attended the National Lay Leaders “Citizen’s For Life-Philippines” Summit at the Golden Prince Hotel which was held last Friday and Saturday. While I was the first speaker at 1 p.m. and talked about national and local political scenarios, the next speaker was Fr. Archie Intengan, someone whom I haven’t heard speak in a long time. The timing was perfect and he gave us an overview of the many issues hounding the nation… including one on the Mamasapano massacre that we never heard before. Then he added that the guns that the 44 SAF who were killed were never surrendered and later discovered to have killed soldiers in Samar. This was something new that we ever heard.

We listened to the PowerPoint presentation of Atty. Glenn Chiong who came to Cebu fresh from his giving the Supreme Court how the Comelec with the help of Smartmatic rigged the 2010 and 2013 elections. He confirmed all suspicions that there will be massive electronic dagdag bawas happening in the 2016 elections. We have written about this extensively but the Filipino people are so apathetic to anything information technology (IT) not realizing that their ballots were not counted and above all, we have a leadership in the Comelec who does not give any sacredness to the ballot.

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