MS. BECKY VERSOZA-SANTOS
By Apolinario Villalobos
She’s Ms. Becky Versoza, among the few pioneer stewardesses of Philippine Airlines. When she sought a ground-based position, she was given the post of Supervisor-Baggage Central Tracing Unit at the old Domestic Airport Terminal. That was where our paths crossed but never did I know about her flying stint with the airline as a Flight Attendant. It was only when the late Mr. Ed Guatelara told me about her that I got interested in her story.
She confided that during her time, the airline was utilizing DC-3s and among their job as Flight Attendant was to prepare sandwiches for the passengers. They were carefully packed in picnic baskets. They also trained the stewardesses of other airlines that operated, one of which was Japan Airlines. As an information, PAL was Asia’s first airline.
Every time I was on OB (official business trip), when I arrive at the domestic terminal, I would drop by her office for an amiable chat. I would give her durian candies from Davao as pasalubong. I also recalled giving her a sack of medium-sized pomelo and packs of dried filleted fish from Iloilo. But, what she loved most are durian and mangosteen candies.
Much later on, when I joined the International Sales-Philippines (ISP) group with offices at the S&L Building along Roxas Boulevard in Ermita, I learned that she has retired. Many years later, I received an e-mail from her telling me that she was based in New York. She added that she was the only Asian woman included in a coffee table book about the prominent women of the city. We communicated via e-mail as the facebook was not so popular then. When finally, we got connected via the facebook, she sent me messages and photos showing her emaciated body. I was grief-stricken….