Joery Falloria: Surviving Typhoon Yolanda and Life’s Excruciating Challenges (…unsung hero of Philippine Airlines)

Joery Falloria: Surviving Typhoon Yolanda

And Life’s Excruciating Challenges

(…unsung hero of Philippine Airlines)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Just like most of Philippine Airline marketing and airport personnel, Joery started his career at the lowest rung of the airline’s corporate ladder which is his case was as a porter. Although, the trainings involved courses on cargo handling, passenger check in, basic domestic ticketing, and customer handling, the employee of “long ago” cannot say no, if he was assigned at the airport to haul carry checked-in baggage and cargoes on tow carts from the terminal to the aircraft. This was what Joery experienced when he joined the airline.

 

The kind of exposure that an employee gets has been actually designed to toughen and prepare him for more responsibilities ahead as he advances in his career. It makes the employee some kind of a well-rounded guy – an airline man who can later handle responsibilities as manager. Joery has marshaled incoming aircrafts to guide them to their slot in the tarmac, computed weights to be loaded for safe flight,  which included those of cargoes, checked-in and carry-on baggage, as well as passengers that also include the crew and paying ones.

 

Along the way, he was also trained to handle PAL customers, be they walk-ins who would like to make inquiries or purchase tickets. To cap this particular training, he was also fed with knowledge on values and attitudes to maintain the high quality of service standards that his person should exude. It was a long journey for Joery from the airport ramp as loader to his present managerial position as Head of the Tacloban Station. It was a journey beset with financial difficulty and emotional pressure. But he made it….on August 15, 2015, he was designated as Officer-In-Charge of Tacloban Station, a managerial position.

 

It was while navigating his challenging career path that he met Pomela Corni Tan who eventually became his wife, and who gave him two offspring, Anthony who is now a registered Nurse working with the Davao Doctors’ Hospital, and Mary Rose, on her second year of Veterinary Medicine course at the VISCA in Baybay City.

 

The typhoon Yolanda devastated Tacloban to the maximum, and recovery was even more challenging, as Joery and his local PAL team, worked hard to rise from such disheartening situation. To make PAL operational again, he had to coordinate with concerned government agencies and the head office in Manila for replacement of lost equipment and office supplies, as well as, reconstruct destroyed records. The story of recovery that was woven around the effort of the PAL Team, with Joery at the helm, was just one of the many that inspired many people around the world.

 

With Tacloban City propped back to normalcy, Joery resumes his overall administration of the whole Tacloban station that includes routine calls on travel agents, issuance of tickets and airport operation. His free time is spent on spiritual-related activities of the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, being a Lay Minister. He is also an active officer of their homeowners’ association.

 

Over a simple lunch at the canteen of SSS near the PAL Administrative Offices in PNB building, he confided that he feels blessed for working with the airline. And, as the company is in its recovery stage, he has committed himself to do his best as part of the team. In a way, Joery has survived the various changes at the top management of the airline…just like the survival that he experienced when typhoon Yolanda devastated their city.

BRM Tac

Michael Villaflor, Jr.: Profile of Diligence and Humility…another “unsung hero” of Philippine Airlines

Michael Villaflor, Jr.: Profile of Diligence and Humility

…another “unsung hero” of Philippine Airlines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

When Michael Villaflor, Jr, or “Mike” to his friends and family was looking for a job after graduating from Mapua Institute of Technology with a Management Engineering course, the country was in its economic and political healing stage after Ferdinand Marcos was successfully ousted by the “People Power” which saw the installation of Corazon Aquino into presidency.  It was during this uneasy period when Mike initially tried his luck for a job in San Miguel Corporation. Unfortunately, the company was giving priority to applicants who graduated from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo. He went through similar discouraging experience when he applied at Philippine Airlines which was giving priority for applicants from the two aforementioned universities, as well as, the De La Salle University.

 

His persistence, however, in following up his application with PAL paid up when he was finally given the chance to undergo an interview and a series of written exams which he passed with flying colors. For assignment, when he visited the Office of the Metro Manila Sales in March 1986, headed by Milagros Limgenco, without much ado, he was sent to the Escolta Ticket Office to immediately render duty as Information Clerk. Due to his remarkable good performance, in less than a year, he was promoted as Cash Custodian, then, as Domestic Ticket Representative in the same ticketing office. In 1988, he was further promoted as Integrated Ticket Representative, a job which required him to compute international fares, as well. Unfortunately, on that same year, the Escolta Ticket Office was closed which caused his transfer to the Makati (Greenbelt) Ticket Office.  A little later of that same year he was transferred to the Taft Ticket Office, located on the ground floor of the Philippine Women’s University.

 

In early 1989, he retraced his steps to the Metro Manila Sales Area, but this time, with a new appointment as Sr. Market Planning Analyst under Marcial Zamora. His fast journey along the path of his corporate career brought him the following year, to the position of Staff Assistant for Luzon Sales Area which was merged with Metro Manila Sales by the VP-Sales and Services, Avelino Zapanta. This time, he worked under Teresita Al Luna.

 

While the career of Mike was gaining momentum, the general economic situation of the country was at its crucial that resulted to a slow down. Meanwhile, the management of the airline changed hands from Eduardo Cojuangco to Lucio Tan. In addition to the airline’s struggle to keep afloat, there were also problems that had to be dealt with – those of  PALEA (Philippine Airlines Employees Association) and the ALPAP (pilots’ and flight attendants’ association), which finally resulted to the temporary closure of the company in 1998. During the time, Mike was under Danny Lim who was at the helm of the Metro Manila and Luzon Sales.

 

When Philippine Airlines resumed its operations, Mike was transferred to its “flagship” office located at S & L building along Roxas Boulevard as Staff Manager in place of Atty. Cris Pascual, to work under Enrique Javier, the Country Manager for Philippines and Guam. Later, all PAL offices at S & L building were transferred to the airline’s Learning Center along Padre Faura, where he worked under different Country Managers such as Marilla Revilla, Genaro Velasques, and Dina May Flores.  When the San Miguel Corporation took over the company, it installed Salvador Britanico, Jr., as the Country Manager, and it was during this time that finally, Mike got his biggest break when he was appointed as Area Sales Manager for Luzon and Metro Manila.

 

When the Lucio Tan Group of Companies took over PAL from San Miguel Corporation in September 2014, Mike retained his job to work under his current boss, Harry Inoferio, who is virtually on a “home coming” stint, for he had spent a good number of years with PAL until he resigned to work with other airlines. Mike is doubling his effort, especially, at this critical moment of the airline industry under the shadow of the “open air policy” which is characterized by the cutthroat competition posed by locally- based airlines, as well as, foreign carriers that offer attractive fares. Despite the challenge, according to him, PAL is unfazed because its on-time departure reliability aside from its overall excellent service, have always been traditional trademarks that keep it flying with pride. Many passengers, especially the finicky, learn the lesson that a low fare can never replace an excellent service which is equated with comfort all the way of the flight, especially, long haul ones, hence, they go back to PAL after a “sad experience”.

 

In the office, Mike is ably supported by his equally diligent secretary, Melle San Jose Artillaga, who like him is equally meticulous in carrying out her job. And, at home, he is supported by his wife, Madeline and children, Mara Louise, Michael III, and Louise who understand his coming home late due to meetings. With all the challenges that he enjoys and the compassion of people around him that lightens his burden, he considers himself lucky and successful, yet feels at the same time, that he could still do more for the company.

 

To date, with a contented smile, he looks back to the day he was given a great opportunity by PAL which put him on the best career path, more than reason enough for him to continue doing his best. He also considers the short administration of the San Miguel Corporation as a good karma because it was during such time, while working with Salvador “Bud” Britanico, that he became a full-fledged manager.

 

But, most especially, for what he is now, Mike thanks his parents, Remy and Michael Sr. They molded him into a humble person who can work with utmost diligence and patience under pressure. Admirably, both parents who were supervisors of PAL then, did not try to use their influence when he was applying for a job in the company, as they wanted him to prove his worth on his own. Michael Sr. was a Ticket Office Supervisor (later on, a Manager), while Remy was a Desk Supervisor (later on, a Manager) of the Reservations Department.

 

 

Isang Kending Hinati, at iba pang Kuwento

Isang Kending Hinati, at iba pang Kuwento

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Malaking bagay ang pag-uusap kung minsan ng magkakaibigan upang sumariwa ng mga nakaraan. Nangyari ito nang magkita kami nina Del Merano, mag-asawang Mona at Reuben Pecson na isinama ang tinuturing kong “miracle baby” nila noon, at ngayon ay binata na, si JR. Ibinuntis ni Mona si JR nang panahong mayroon siyang malaking cyst sa sinapupunan, subalit sa awa ng Diyos, nakaraos siya sa pagbuo nito hanggang maipanganak bilang isang malusog na sanggol. Ngayon si JR ay isa nang piloto. Pananalig sa Diyos ang naging kasangkapan ni Mona sa pagkakaroon ng isang matagumpay na ngayong anak na Piloto.

 

Sa mga kuwentuhan namin, lumabas ang pinakatago-tago sigurong kuwento ni Del tungkol sa kending hinahati pa niya upang magkasya sa maghapon niyang pagsi-sales call noong kami ay nagtatrabaho pa sa Philippine Airlines (PAL). Isa si Del sa mga pinagkakatiwalaang Account Officers ng PAL. At, dahil sa kanyang pagka-single mom, tipid na tipid ang ganyang gastos. Nagulat daw ang kasama naming kasabay niya sa pag-sales call nang ilabas niya ang kalahati ng isang kendi at isinubo bilang miryenda. Ang natirang kalahati ay kanyang itinabi para sa hapon naman.

 

Ikinuwento rin niya na sa pagpipilit na makapasok sa PAL ay halos nanikluhod sa nagbibigay ng typing test na bigyan siya ng ilang pagkakataon na umabot sa pang-apat hanggang abutin niya ang standard na bilis sa pagmamanikilya. Mangiyak –ngiyak siya nang makalusot sa test. Ang unang trabaho niya ay sa Accounting Office subalit napansin siya ng namumuno ng Internationals Sales Department na si Manny Relova, kaya on the spot ay sinabihan siyang mag-report sa opisina nito upang mag-issue ng mga tiket na pang-international. Dumaan siya sa masusing pag-aaral ng iba’t ibang pamasahe sa eroplano, kasama na ang sa iba pang airlines. Dahil sa kagalingan niya, mabilis ang kanyang promotion hanggang sa ma-assign sa iba’t ibang international station bilang District Sales Manager.

 

Naalala ko noon ang kuwento niya nang ma-assign sa San Franciso (USA). Ang tinirhan niya ay walang kagamit-gamit kaya sa sahig siya natutulog nang kung ilang araw. Kahit bago sa America ay malakas ang loob sa paglibot kaya sandali lang ay dumami na ang kanyang kontak at mga kaibigan na nakatulong ng malaki sa kanya bilang District Sales Manager.

 

Nag-resign siya nang bilhin ng San Miguel ang PAL, subalit nang bilhin uli ito ni Lucio Tan ay inimbita siyang bumalik na malugod naman niyang tinanggap dahil iba daw na challenge ang nararamdaman niya bilang kawani ng nasabing airline. Iniwan niya ang isang managerial job at ang malaking suweldo mula dito. Bumalik siya sa kumpanyang nagbigay sa kanya ng magandang pagkakataon upang mabago ang kanyang buhay, lalo pa at siya ay single mom. Ipinakita ni Del na ang pagtanaw ng utang na loob ay nakakagaan ng damdamin. Ngayon si Del ay District Sales Manager na uli ng San Franciso (USA).

 

DEL MERANO 3 JR OK

“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

(tungkol sa mga isyu ng “tanim-bala” at “Maguindanao Massacre”)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ayon sa matalinong presidente ng Pilipinas, maliit na bagay lang daw ang isyu tungkol sa tanim-bala sa airport at pinalaki lang ng media. Para sa kanya, maliit palang bagay ang mga sumusunod na ilan lang sa mga nangyari dahil sa eskandalong ito:

 

  • Ang mawalan ng trabaho sa ibang bansa ang isang pasaherong hindi nagbigay ng suhol kaya pinigilang sumakay sa kanyang flight.

 

  • Ang halos ikamatay ng isang matandang pasahero ang ginawang pagbintang na nagbibitbit siya ng bala.

 

  • Ang kahihiyang idinulot ng pagposas agad sa isang may katandaan nang pasaherong babae dahil lang sa iisang balang nakita daw sa kanyang bagahe.

 

  • Ang mapagtawanan ang Pilipinas ng buong mundo dahil pati ang inosenteng bala ay ginawang kasangkapan sa pangingikil, kaya ang kahihiyang ito ay ginawan pa ng isang TV show sa Japan.

 

  • Ang maalipusta ng mga banyaga na ang tingin sa Pilipino ay hindi mapapagkatiwalaan.

 

  • Ang masira ang imahe ng bansa pagdating sa turismo dahil pati mga banyagang turista ay hindi pinatawad ng mga nangingikil sa airport.

 

  • Ang maungkat uli ang literal na mabahong amoy sa mga airport dahil sa mga sirang gripo, baradong inuduro at tadtad ng mantsang mga lavatory o lababo, kaya hindi na nawala ang black eye ng tourism industry ng bansa na hindi na nga nakakasabay kahit lang sa mga kapit-bansa na kasapi sa ASEAN.

 

Pinsan ng pangulo ang nakaupong General Manager ng MIAA, na tahasang nagsasabing wala siyang pakialam sa pangkabuuhang operasyon ng airport sa kabila ng ipinakita na sa kanyang responsibilidad na nakapaloob sa isang kauutusan. Bakit hindi na lang siya mag-resign upang mapalitan ng talagang may kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng airport? Kung may pagmamahal siya sa pinsan niyang matalinong president, dapat umalis na siya upang mabawasan naman ang bigat na nakapatong sa balikat nito – mga problemang siya rin ang may gawa.

 

Ang Maguindanao Massacre na ilang araw lang ang nakaraan ay umabot na sa ika-anim na taon ay malamang “maliit na bagay” lang din para sa matalinong pangulo. Nakalimutan yata niyang isa ito sa mga pinangako niyang matutuldukan noong siya ay nangangampanya pa lang. Nakakatawa pa sila sa Malakanyang dahil ngayong araw na ito lang, November 24, nagbigay ng “reminder” sa Department of Justice na “bilisan” kuno ang pagpausad sa gulong ng hustisya para sa mga namatayan!

 

Maliit din sigurong bagay ang pag-appoint niya ng mga kakilala, kaeskwela, at kung ano pang kakakahan sa mga sensitibong puwesto sa iba’t ibang ahensiya. Mabuti na lang at kahit paano ay nabistong ang palagi niyang sinusumbat na cronyism kay Gloria Arroyo ay ginagawa din pala niya – mas matindi pa! Bumaba man siya sa puwesto, hindi siya makakalimutan ng mga Pilipino dahil sa pagduduro niya ng isang daliri kay Gloria, samantalang ang tatlo pa ay nakaturo naman sa kanya!

 

Para sa isang taong hindi nakadanas ng kahirapan, lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay maliit dahil malamang, iniisip niyang lahat ito may katumbas na pera!…o hindi kaya dahil lang sa talagang ugali niyang walang pakialam sa kanyang kapwa?

 

 

Ang Pangangasiwa ng Manila International Airport (MIA)

Ang Pangangasiwa ng Manila International Airport (MIA)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Hindi pala alam ni G. Honrado na saklaw ng kanyang responsibilidad bilang General Manager, ang buong Manila International Airport. Ibig sabihin, hindi pala niya alam na Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) ang nag-iisyu ng mga temporary pass sa buong airport para sa lahat ng mga taong may kaugnayan sa operasyon nito. Hindi pala niya alam na para maisyuhan ng temporary pass ay kailangang i-surrender ang company ID, o di kaya ay dapat magsumite lahat ng mga ahensiya ng listahan ng mga empleyado nila upang maisyuhan ng pangmatagalang temporary pass. Hindi pala niya alam na ang  malalaki hanggang sa kaliit-liitan gamit ng MIA, ay may tatak na “MIAA Property” at may control number. Nakalimutan rin siguro niya ang malaking “insidente” na nangyari noong panahon ni Gloria Arroyo tungkol sa pagsugod nito sa MIA nang walang pasubali o abiso upang makita talaga ang mga kapalpakan sa mga parking areas, kaya nang mabisto nga ay “sinabon” niya on the spot ang pinsan nitong in-assign din na tulad niya bilang General Manager.

 

Ang Manila International Airport ay parang shopping mall. Ito ay may pinaka-hepe na dapat mangasiwa sa lahat ng mga nagtatrabaho sa loob, kasama na ang security, mga concessionaires, contracted agencies at mga namimili o namamasyal lang. Ibig sabihin ang pinaka-hepe nito ay may responsibilidad na sumasaklaw sa buong operasyon ng mall. Ganoon din sa MIA na dapat lahat ng bahagi nito ay pinangangasiwaan sa kabuuhan ng General Manager – mula sa runways, tarmac, terminals at parking lots. Siya ang nasa itaas at sa ilalim niya ay iba’t ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno at mga concessionaires na nagkakanya-kanya ng pagkontrol ayon sa saklaw nilang operasyon na nakasaad sa mga Operating Manual nila, na nakabatay naman sa Operating Manual ng MIAA. Sa pinakagitna ng kani-kanilang operasyon ay ang Manila International Airport Authority.

 

Dapat ang susunod na itatalaga bilang General Manager ng MIA ay taong may “managerial skill” (kaya nga tinawag na General Manager) at may malawak na kaalaman sa airline operation. Saklaw ng airline operation ang iba’t ibang kaalaman tungkol sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa “aviation security” kaya hindi kailangang manggaling ang taong itatalaga mula sa anumang military branch ng Pilipinas. Bilang isang industriya, ang international aviation ay may mga pinatutupad na mga patakaran upang masigurong ligtas ang mga pasahero ng iba’t ibang airlines. Napapag-aralan ang mga patakaran sa pagpapatupad ng security sa airport, at palagi ring ina-update batay sa pangangailangan ng panahon, na tulad ngayon ay hantad sa terorismo. Dahil dito, hindi kailangang may actual exposure sa military operation, na napakalayo sa isang civilian airline operation, ang General Manager.  Dapat ay ituring na malaking leksiyon dito ang nakaupo ngayong General Manager na nagpipilit na wala siyang pakialam sa ibang operasyon ng MiA.

 

Ang malaking problema nga lang ay kung umiral uli ang napakakorap na pag-iisip ng uupong Presidente na magtatalaga na naman ng pinsan, o kapatid, o bayaw, o tiyuhin, o dating driver, o dating messenger, o dating masahista, bilang General Manager. May napapagbatayan na kasi…kung sa Ingles – may “precedent”….may mga una nang ginawa kaya gagayahin na lang!