Philippine Airlines (PAL) held a grand party at the Santa Maria ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel to launch direct flights from Cebu to Osaka, and to Nagoya.
Flights to Osaka started on Dec. 19, while those to Nagoya began on Dec. 20. Weekly flights to Osaka are on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday. The three weekly flights to Nagoya are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Currently PAL has two flights daily from Cebu to Tokyo-Narita, as well as regular service between Cebu and Seoul (Incheon).
At the event, PAL’s OIC country manager Harry Inoferio announced that the airline will inaugurate flights from Manila to New York via Vancouver on March 15, 2015.
Also in Cebu from Manila were OIC vice president for marketing Ria Domingo; manager for external corporate communications Cielo Villaluna, who hosted the evening’s program; and Donna Casimiro from the marketing activation team.
From the Cebu end was PAL’s top man Chris Lebumfacil, who is area head for sales in the Visayas. He and his efficient staff look forward to more direct flights out of Cebu to important international destinations.
“We’re ready,” said PAL’s sales and services managers in Cebu Marijo Araneta at the Gorordo Avenue office, Emelie Parawan at the Mactan Airport station, and Victor Suarez at the Osmeña Boulevard office.
Add to them Pamela Quizeo who is in charge of district passenger sales in the Visayas and Mindanao; and Banjoe del Rosario, finance manager for Southern Philippines. All smiles at the reception desk were the Cebu account officers, namely: Annie Borromeo, Mary Ann Tiu, Mae Ong, Herman Garganera, Honey Ortiz, Eddie Alvaro, Tonette Bastasas, Eros Cagaanan, Rusella Albino, Leah Libres and Cheryl Borneo, the last two clad in flowery kimonos and twirling Japanese parasols.
VIPs present included Japan’s Consul in Cebu Shoji Otake with his wife Naomi; the Department of Tourism’s regional director Rowena Montecillo; Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Tess Chan; and PAL million miler Dr. Jose Enrique de las Peñas.
It was nice to see retired Cebu PAL top executives like Victor and Gemma Karganilla, Aye Noval and Ticks Yngente. The hotels were represented by the Radisson’s GM Nishan Silva and Ann Olalo; and the Marco Polo’s GM Julie Najar and Lara Constantino.
More: Tsuneishi’s Jun Exaltacion, Nel Ediza of Aboitiz who won one of the raffle tickets, and PAL frequent flier Yuki Takahashi for whom there was a collective cheer when his name was drawn for another raffle ticket.
Among the travel agents were Sheila Colmenares, Rosi Mancao, Margett Villarica, Aiday Uy, Joan Tiu, Jeanne Te, Alan Carvajal, Gwen Po, Angelina Dy, Cookie Chan and more.
Entertainment was part of the evening’s program with balladeer Richard Poon. He sang to an attentive bevy of news gals out front on a velvet sofa: Flor Ynclino, Chinggay Utzurrum, Mila Espina, Honey Loop, Nelia Neri and Cookie Newman, who both won those special tickets raffled to the Cebu press.
The party did not end there. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama caught up with the tail end of the celebration which was actually when it began to peak. Program and raffle over, it was time for all to relax and have more tempura, sushi and other Japanese specialties, including a large tuna fish served sashimi style.
The general consensus was that PAL had hosted a first rate celebration in the style of what glamour airline parties used to be, or rather as they should be. Who can forget when PAL brought Glenn Ford to Cebu? So, who can remember 50 years back? That’s what unforgettable really means.