PHILIPPINE Airlines had a grand press conference, followed by an even grander cocktail party, at the ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel. This was to announce PAL’s direct flight from Cebu to Los Angeles starting March 15.
Present were PAL’s top brass like Erick Clark Tan, senior assistant vice president; Ryan Uy, vice president for sales; Harry Inoferio, senior assistant vice president for Philippine sales; and Chris Lebumfacil, area head for Visayas sales and services.
Handling the press con with her usual aplomb was Cielo Villaluna, PAL’s spokesperson and manager for external communications. She stressed that March 15 was chosen as it marks the 75th anniversary of PAL’s first flight ever.
Direct flights from Cebu to Los Angeles are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing at 6:25 p.m. and arriving at 6 p.m. on the same day, due to the international date line.
The return flights from Los Angeles to Cebu are on the same days departing at 8:40 p.m., and arriving in Cebu at 4:40 p.m. two days later, again due to the international date line.
The schedule is very convenient, says Chris Lebumfacil, for the interior US domestic connections, as well as for the inbound Philippine for Visayas and Mindanao. The aircraft used is an Airbus 343. The long-haul flight takes 14 hours and 30 minutes.
The launch party saw the presence of PAL’s ticket sales officers like Marijo Araneta of Gorordo; Emelie Parawan of the Mactan airport; Mary Ong of Osmeña Boulevard; Benedict Yap, in charge of airport standards compliance; and Pamela Samson, district sales manager.
Glimpsed among the PAL staffers were Annie Borromeo, Mary Ann Tiu Herman Gargabera, Tonette Bastera, Cheryl Borneo, Leah Libres, Ruselle Albino, Edith Alcantara and Solvie Cabigon.
Congratulatory messages were delivered by Andrew Harrison, chief adviser of GMR which manages the Cebu Mactan airport; Glenn Loop, consular agent of the US in Cebu; and Rowena Montecillo, director of the Department of Tourism in Region VII.
Four business class round trip tickets Cebu-Los Angeles-Cebu were raffled off that evening and won by Allan Carvajal of Travelways; Anika Fernandez of the Department of Foreign Affairs office in Cebu; Aniceto Serrato of C.P. Kelko, a major PAL corporate client; and Carlo Villarica of Destinations Specialists.
Present and welcomed effusively by Cielo Villaluna was Dr. Jose Enrique de las Peñas, PAL’s youngest million miler in this area.
Amparito Lhuillier may just soon be in that magic circle. As she was saying, the flights from Cebu to Los Angeles are most convenient for her, as she and Michel have a home in Bel Air, as does their daughter, fashion designer Monique, with her husband Tom Bugbee and their two children.
Among those present were Bobit and Jessica Avila, former DOT head in Cebu Dawn Roa, Radisson Blu’s Princes Anderle and Arabella Barz, Marco Polo’s Jude Pangan, and travel agents Aida Uy, Zenaida Chua, Gwen Po, Jerome Mandaros, Cookie Chan and Andrew Teh.
More international flights
Other pertinent information about PAL includes its international flights out of Cebu to Tokyo/Narita, Osaka, and Nafoya in Japan; and Incheon in Korea.
Out of Cebu in the domestic schedule are 10 daily flights to Manila and back. Add to them daily connections to Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Davao, Cagayan de Oro in Butuan.
In the forthcoming months these may well be increased in both the international and local areas, given that PAL has ordered more brand-new aircraft.
Members of Cebu media have been invited to the March 15 inaugural flight from Cebu to Los Angeles. With them will be PAL’s Ryan Uy, Harry Inoferio and Chris Lebumfacil.
They will be joined on March 17 in Los Angeles by PAL president Jaime Bautista, VP for marketing Ria Domingo, Erick Clark Tan, Cielo Villaluna and Pinky Custodio, head of marketing activations.
On March 18 in Los Angeles, they will all attend a grand gala dinner to celebrate the historical event.