THE PHILIPPINE AIR LINES Airbus A300 touched down on the tarmac of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) without the slightest jar in the early morning of June 24, 2009. It was a superb show of skill by the pilot of whose plane he flew through on the heels of a signal number 2 storm from Cebu to Manila.
STORMY WEATHER IN CEBU
I was quite worried leaving Cebu on a 6:15 AM flight knowing that there is a weather disturbance at hand. Nevertheless, I have to be in Metro Manila. My employers have faithfully placed their confidence on my shoulders to process the firearms application papers for their new pistols and revolvers. My destination – Camp Crame.
I have been on a similar task before on March 23 and 24, 2009 but I traveled then in a much favorable clime. However, I placed my trust in a short prayer and the flying skills of the Great Helmsman. I arrived in one piece and thanked the heavens for the feat.
ON BOARD THE PAL AIRBUS A300
From the NAIA Terminal 2, I hailed a taxicab for my billet in Harrison Street in Pasay City and by ten I was off to Camp Crame by way of the LRT and the MRT. It was raining and I put on my windbreaker. I arrived at eleven and met my contact, PO3 Flora Ocampo of the Office of the Chief, Civil Security Group.
Before taking lunch, I visited the Saint Joseph Chapel located in the center of the police camp and heard a noontime Holy Mass. The approach of the storm, however, threatened the whole of Metro Manila as classes were suspended and non-uniformed personnel streamed out of their offices leaving my papers untouched and unprocessed for that day.
AT THE LRT TERMINAL IN LIBERTAD
I returned to Harrison and ate dinner together with my wife's cousins – the siblings Brett, Micah and Donna Mantos. Micah and Donna, now CPAs and blooming beauties, I last saw when they were just grade schoolers on a camp-out visit to the East Visayas Academy in Talisay City, Cebu in 1994 while Brett stayed with us in our old home back in 2000.
It rained the whole night as the storm passed overhead and the morn found me waking up early to find that the sky have cleared for a few hours and it rained again. As was yesterday's, I took a light rail travel to Camp Crame passing by over several stations. I left the licensing fees in the care of PO3 Ocampo and she assured me that the processing will be over by Friday or Monday, at the most.
THE PNP HQS AT THE BACKGROUND
I bade farewell again at the camp, which have been home to me on two occasions: from August to November 1991 when I was housed in Kiangan Hall, courtesy of Senior Superintendent Fortunato de Gracia during my police intelligence training; and from December 2001 to July 2002 when I was then quartered at the “White House” and attached as a part of the security team detail for Mrs. Sol Mendoza, the lovely wife of then-PNP chief, Director General Larry R. Mendoza.
I went directly to Harrison to say my warmest thanks and goodbyes to Brett and took a cab for NAIA 2 to catch a 5:15 PM flight to Cebu. On the way, the weather was fine and – surprise of surprises - there were no traffic! I arrived at the terminal an hour-and-a-half ahead of check-in time and poured my vacant time reading GUTS by Gary Paulsen.
Time to leave Manila once more and I settled in the A300 cabin still reading the same book. I took a PAL plane on my way to Cebu and safely landed at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at about 7:00 PM. I arrived home just in time to partake of a homely dinner prepared by my beautiful wife.
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