Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIVERTED PAL EXPRESS AND CEBU PACIFIC FLIGHTS @ OCTOBER 5 AND 6, 2013

Last Saturday, I was coming back to Zamboanga after a few days in Manila. I heard it had been raining hard the day before, but the weather in Manila was so fine!
9:00 am PAL Express flight: Goodbye, Manila! 
I enjoyed the flight because I was able to find new friends who were actually already familiar faces. Such a pleasant flight until we were already nearing Zamboanga City when we felt some air pockets.
However, we had to hover over Zamboanga City for sometime and this now worried us. It was Zero Visibility for ZC plus the wind factor, thus, we were diverted to Cebu City for refueling.
Now in Cebu!!! I wish I could go down... my son called and said he is willing to come right away if we would go down!
The pilot tried to go back to Zamboanga and we felt more air pockets, but what was more nerve wracking, was the sudden acceleration from being close to the Zamboanga airport (I see the water!) and back to the skies and heading back to Manila!!! Imagine, acceleration without the runway! The reason is flooded ZC runway! The Cebu Pacific flights were able to land...we didn't know what to think. In the end, we comforted ourselves that it was the pilot's call and that he thought of our safety!
3 p.m. = = we are back in Manila!...  after 6 hours of mostly flying... seemed like a long haul flight!
As soon as the plane landed, the steward said, "Welcome to Manila!"
And everyone said, "Again" with laughter!
It was quite unusual for me that I never heard anyone shout or complain out loud.
Have the people become more tolerant and understanding?
So here I am back in Manila, without stepping out of the plane along the way!
Since it was a problem of the weather, we just had our biscuit and peanuts and with no meals nor accommodation.
Some had to stay on in the airport.
Still fortunate was that PAL Express would let the whole group take the flight back to ZC the next day if we decide to do so.
The next day (Sunday), we see familiar faces again at the Manila airport.
We all had mixed feelings from the day before and of course, what this day would bring!
Then, I saw a famous face...
APL. DE AP is going to Zamboanga City
Nobody went near Apl. de Ap!!!
It may be because the people around were of the older age group... or everyone was concerned with their tickets...or many were shy and just waiting for someone to start off!
He was going to Zamboanga City on the earlier flight!
I was already happy of his effort to help out Zamboanga City at our lowest. 
He was helping out ZC for housing projects and for school projects in Talon-Talon.
From the Mayor's FB: Mayor Beng Climaco shares with Apl de Ap the situation of evacuees in various sites. Apl is in Zamboanga today to help in the rehabilitation efforts. He will help build classrooms in Barangay Talon-Talon. ‪#‎RebuilZambo‬
Back to my story: so on Sunday, we finally flew to ZC. Everyone was hopeful but still worried since we heard news the downpour was heavier than the day before. My friend had a "minute-to-minute advisory" from her husband who was able to land the day before!
We see Zamboanga City from above! There is visibility!!!
Some said, PAL gave us the best pilot so we can finally go home! This must just be a booster! And anyway, we did land safely... a bit bumpy...but still, safe!
View of Zamboanga City... I see flooded areas now!
Everyone gave a loud applause as soon as we landed!!!
So, we are back to the very wet Zamboanga City, now on Day 3 of the heavy rains! 
I now waited for my husband who is coming on the Cebu Pacific flight about 30 minutes from our flight.

Then, I heard the announcement: The Cebu Pacific flight has been diverted to Davao and those who decided to deplane in Davao can do so. Again, it was due to flooded ZC runway!!! Imagine just a few minutes from our flight!
The passengers of Cebu Pacific were also diverted to Manila.
Still no food nor accommodations but of course, you can buy some sandwiches on the plane.
The passengers now complained because only the next flight out was free. They had to find their next flight...unfortunately, the next flight to ZC was still four or five days after!!!
There were those who considered diversion to another place like to Cebu, Pagadian or Dipolog or elsewhere (still free), but the next flight from there to Zamboanga would now be paid the passenger!
A friend got the Cebu flight, then, used his extra plane ticket for the Cebu-Zam flight. Those who went to Pagadian or Dipolog decided to take the road trip back to ZC.
We had a better deal with PAL Express than Cebu Pacific, but of course, this is based on these circumstances and individual experiences.
Lessons learned:
* nice to talk to a friend (may be new) while on a not-so-good flight...may help ease the stress! * always bring contigency money like for the additional flights or accommodation ~~~ maybe a credit card may be of help in situations like these.
~~~ but, they can stay in the airport overnight, too! ~~~ I met a new lady friend from Siocon, who was offered by a nice lady stranger from Ipil to stay in her house...so gracious...there is still trust in the world!!!
* always bring additional clothes and underwear for an additional day or two...
* CONTINUE TO PRAY!
These are unusual times... 23 days of stand-off plus additional six days of heavy rain and flooding and on going! Zamboanga is not known for typhoons. They just called it an ITCZ or an intertropical convergence zone...but still so destructive. Zamboanga leaders better consider all the drainage and flooding problems, including the runway problems, before adding more shelter! The plans should, therefore, be holistic and the environmental issues considered in the plans. Maybe, this situation is a way of reminding our leaders of the things to think of, before making any rush plans in rebuilding Zamboanga!
It is also month since the MNLF Stand-off started!...  Two calamities in a month...one man-made...the other, natural... How time flies!!! Can we endure more?
Credits: Aileen Decrepito... we were looking at the same sun! But she uploaded her photo right away... allow me to share the sunny day!
Today, I see the sun... and we are hopeful (again!)!!!

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