THE COURAGE OF MARCIAL (BUNNY) GAMALINDA TO SUCCEED
By Apolinario Villalobos
I remember seeing Bunny whose real name is Marcial T. Gamalinda on the early evening I, together with new recruits from Mindanao, Abet Yu and Fred Derequito, arrived in Manila Domestic Airport (today, Terminal 4) during the later part of 1975. He was issuing tickets at the Ticket Office. I also saw that evening, David Lim, who I was told by Bunny during our conversation, was their Cashier, but today is among the acknowledged think tanks of Philippine Airlines, holding a position of Senior Vice-President. During the time, the Ticket Office Manager was Teresita Al (Tessie) Luna, who at the time of her retirement was PAL’s AVP-Metro Manila. Bunny also mentioned the supervisors, Mon Lomuntad and Jun Garcia.
Our conversation brought us back to the time when he was interviewed in 1974, as an applicant by Mr. Ricardo G. Paloma, “Mr. Tourism” of the Philippine tourism industry during his time, as Regional Vice-President for Philippines and Guam. His last position was SVP-Finance when he finally retired from PAL at 65. One question that triggered his outright hiring was the question, “are you willing to be assigned anywhere?”, though such, was introduced with an explanation that the fluidity of the frontline job in PAL is such that, a personnel can be pulled out from his current assignment and transformed to another anytime as necessary. His profound “yes”, impressed Mr. Paloma.
As the Reservations Office in Cebu (RSPC) which was based at the Mactan International Airport was In need of additional staff, Bunny was assigned there after his training, although, his position title was Ticket Freight Clerk (TFC), as the training for which also included basic aspects of Reservations. His supervisors at RSPC were Raffy Gonzales and Loven Fernandez. What touched me was when he told me that he accepted the assignment in Cebu despite his having no relative or acquaintance in Cebu City. To put him at ease, he just considered the assignment as some kind of adventure. In no time, he was made to feel at home by his colleagues at RSPC, some of whom were also from other areas, and most especially, by the congeniality of his Cebuano colleagues, especially, the supervisors.
He did not stay long at RSPC-Mactan/Cebu for he was recalled back to Manila for an assignment at the Domestic Airport Ticket Office as Ticket Clerk. It was during the time that he joined the hectic frontline, and during which he worked with fellow Ticket Clerks, Dennis Balictar and Abel Santos. Not long after, he was taken in by the PAL Development Academy (PDA) as an Instructor. During the time, the training center was under Pinky Cuenca as Director and under her as Division Managers were Mila Abad and the late Cesar Lamberte.
His talent and skill brought him, after a few years at PDA, to Manila Station-International during the time of Jun Martirez who took over the directorship from Dodie Ramirez. He was designated as Staff Assistant of the Director, after which was promoted as Supervisor, a little later as Duty Manager and finally, as Division Manager. His position as Duty Manager opened the vast opportunity to be assigned as Station Manager at various airports abroad which further broadened his knowledge and honed his decision- making as regards airport operation. His unquestionable reliability, finally landed him on the position of Division Manager which he held until his retirement from PAL.
After discussing retirement plans with his wife, Desi (Maria Lourdes), they enrolled in a training center for business entrepreneurship, in which they chose laundry business. But, when they were about to embark on it, he was told by a friend that Tiks Yngente (Francisco Yngente IV), a colleague in PAL and whose last position when he retired was Vice-President of PAL’s Airport Operations Department, based at Termial 2, was with the Sky Logistics-Manila. Instinctively, he called the office and talked to Tiks with an intention to just say “Hi!”. On the spot however, he was asked if could join him (Tiks), to which he outright said yes. Foremost in his mind was their friendship which is founded on the Filipino adage, “may pinagsamahan”, and in English, “what are friends for?”.
Today, he is with the Sky Logistics-Manila, providing support to its President, Tiks Yngente, as the latter’s Executive Assistant. Their tandem provides Sky Logistics in Manila with the ever reliable leadership that steers the company towards indisputable credibility in handling PAL’s airport services needs, thanks also to their well-chosen staff who give them their all-out support.
Bunny and his wife, Desi are blessed with three children – all professionals, Paolo, Katrina, and Denise, as well as, four grandchildren. Paolo had a short stint with Philippine Airlines before joining San Miguel Corporation. Katrina also had served PAL as an Integrated Ticket Representative assigned at Cubao Ticket Office before joining the Dexterton Corp. as Executive Secretary to the President. On the other hand, Denise, who works with SMART as a Computer Business Analyst based in Manila, is now assigned at Auckland, New Zealand.