Friday, March 5, 2010

Nostalgia on My Cebu ~ Cagayan De Oro Flight

Memories memories! Come to think of it, the first time I have seen CGY (that is airline code for Cagayan De Oro) was via a flight from Cebu on a small aircraft, decades ago. In those days, the little plane was called “SHORTS” (SD360) by PAL - the only airline flying regular domestic routes then. This afternoon, my flight was also on a ‘truboprop’ (that’s how airline folks call planes with propellers, not jet engines) though a bit bigger (or more appropriately ‘longer’) than SD360, Cebu Pacific’s ATR72 – twice the capacity actually (if you can get a hint from those numbers).

All other times I have been to CDO (or CGY if you prefer) since then, were on straight flights from Manila and on jet aircraft. In effect, this was just my second chance to fly between Cebu and CDO - a newly resurrected air route, by the way, as PAL ceased operating this sector when it went chapter 11 (many years ago). Hmm, I remember there were other smaller newer airliners that flew this route for sometime, also short-lived as they all folded and ‘clipped their wings’! Good that Cebu Pacific pioneered re-establishing this sector, now almost all domestic airlines are flying between the two cities!

Ah memories! Pagbigyan nyo na ang matanda hahaha!

Here is more. On that first flight of decades ago, where many of you reading this blog were probably not even sperms yet, there were seven of us hyper and rowdy ‘bagets’ on a tour of Cebu-Bohol-CDO-Camiguin-Davao. All 36 seats were taken and there was only one flight attendant who must stand up from her seat to let you pass going into or out of the lavatory! But this afternoon, my flight had two attendants. Many seats occupied, except the other 3 in my row and the 2 rows behind me. And, I was alone on another travel without a purpose!
Btw, on this afternoon’s flight, I was first to check-in. Being a frequent traveler, I know how to decipher that (do you?)! So how come I got a rear-area seat and all others did not sit beside or behind me? Ah there are too many probable reasons, but the most common is that, most Filipinos who ride airplanes always want to be up front as much as possible! For these smaller craft though, I like it at the back. Why? Because the door is at the back, so I board last and get off first. Plus, the views are clearer in that area since up front, especially rows 5, 6 or 7, the big electric fan (propeller) blocks the view! Be wary of the last row though, sometimes they have no windows. Second or 3rd to last is just fine with me.

Okay, as we cruised on a bright clear day, I remembered how it was decades ago on my first CEB-CGY flight. The young pilot came on public address telling us that the island down to our left was called Camiguin, and that the little islet was called White Island. Why did he do that? Because it was just getting famous in those days. The “in” thing, the talk of the town really. Again, in those days! And we were happy to hear and look down, because that was our destination after CGY!

Uhuh, remembering that flight of yesteryears, this time I immediately looked to the left window seat (I was on 18D). Since it was vacant, I quickly transferred and looked down. No, there was no announcement from the pilot this time, but I knew where to look and voila, I was just in time as we were passing by the same area! Whoa!
You guessed it… I told myself “aha, now I know what to do with this no-itinerary weekend! Tomorrow I will go to Camiguin and see that little white island again”.

As we neared CGY, the memories flashed back… the airport’s name was Lumbia and we were joking that it sounded like spring rolls, we were still high up in the clouds when suddenly we felt a thud to realize we just landed, (yeah the CGY runway and airport is high up the mountains), and it was a downhill ride from airport to city. I smiled remembering that in those days, only LimKetKai was the noteworthy place to see in the city and RJ Ledesma was one of the most popular musicians in the country then. Manila Pen, remember?!

Ah memories! But am I going to Camiguin tomorrow as planned while on the flight this afternoon? Nope, not yet! Something else wondrous came across me lowly mind hehe. But that story will come soon.

Meantime, let’s stop the nostalgia and tell what I did in CGY this afternoon, from arrival, until now that I’m writing this. It’s something interesting. Promise!

To read the chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:
02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52


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