Monday, December 11, 2006

Dumaguete Airport: Part 2

I learned a few valuable lessons on my first trip to Philippines that would be of use to me on later visits. I had taken Northwest Airlines on my first trip. I suppose they are a fine airline but, I'll never use them if I travel in the winter. When you leave Atlanta on Northwest you have to change planes in Detroit; not a good idea in December when Detroit can be covered in snow.

This happened on my first trip and my flight was delayed in Detroit for more than 12 hours. My second trip to Philippines was in December 2002 and I decided to go via Philippine Airlines by way of L.A ...... not likely to snow there.

It was around 5 AM when I landed in Manila; it was too late to take the AM flight to Dumaguete. I had to sit in the Domestic airport until about 3 PM. While sitting there, I met a Filipino who had also just arrived from L.A. He was going home to Dumaguete. He had seen me on the Philippine Airlines flight but, I hadn't noticed him.

We had a long wait so he had time to tell me his life story. He had been lucky enough to join the U.S.Navy because of a treaty between Philippines and the United States that required the U.S. to accept a certain number of Philippines citizens into the Navy. While in the Navy, he married a Filipina and they both became U.S. citizens. Their two children were born in Hawaii and were citizens by birth. He was no longer in the Navy. He and his wife had been able to build a very nice house in Sibulan. His wife and children were already living there while he had stayed in San Diego,trying to make money.

He was headed back to Philippines to live. He said he still had a certain amount of time to take advantage of the G.I.Bill which would pay for his schooling. He was planning on going to nursing school in Bacolod.(I didn't understand why he would not go to nursing school in Dumaguete since his home was in Sibulan).

When he landed in Manila, he was met by several members of his wife's family. They had more or less forced him to deliver several items to Dumaguete for them and now he was going to have to pay Air Philippine for excess baggage. He said that he could avoid having to pay the fee if I would claim part of the load as mine. I was not inclined to do that for a total stranger. I had no idea what he was carrying and I was not about to pretend his bags were mine.

When we boarded our plane for Dumaguete, he sat in the seat in front of me so he could finish his conversation. I learned that his home was within walking distance of the airport......his house could be seen from the air as we approached. He offered his cell phone number in case I needed his help for any reason. I declined the offer but, before this visit was over, I would regret my decision.

I was met at the airport by the person I had come to see. We would have a huge argument while I was there and I would have given anything to have had that man's cell phone number.

In the long term,things turned out for the best. But,I feel that God must have had a purpose in having me meet this fellow at the airport. Perhaps I'll see him in the future and learn what it is.

1 comment:

Corey said...

I used Delta from ATL to LAX, and then Cathay Pacific from LAX to ICN to HKG, and then Cebu Pacific from MNL to CEB, and then the SuperCat from Cebu to Dumaguete, and then a taxi from Dumaguete to Bacong :)

I'm sure you read the blog about my actual trip over there, and how the ICN and MNL stops were not planned.
The extra time allowed me to get to know this Filipino-American family from L.A. who I just happened to sit near (in a plane of 400 people with only 9 or so of us going on to Cebu). I still communicate periodically with them, even after all this time. They were the answer to prayers, for sure.

And can you believe one member of that family was Marilyn's elementary school teacher in Bayawan?