He is the best of Philippine Airlines.

Since Philippine Airlines has launched its new philosophy of being the “Heart of the Filipino”, I never had the chance to completely comprehend it. For me, a “Filipino heart” is formed by distinct strands of compassion, hospitality and love. Honestly, I never felt the perfect experience not until my last three flights last week. A flight attendant perfectly embodies the real meaning of “Heart of the Filipino”.

His name is Vincent as stated on his nameplate. I had the chance to witness his unbelievable power three times in a row. In one of my trip, I was very angry because the flight was delayed for almost one and a half hour. I want to shout out loud that could reach the control tower of NAIA from Cotabato but when I entered the plane, it was different.

Vincent stands at the door–confident.  He gave his unique Filipino smile to each guest. That same powerful smile appeased the agitated passengers. I returned the warm gesture, he smiled back and he assisted me to my section. The moment after I fastened my seat-belt, he smiled again.

He won. I was pacified. Everyone from rows 1-15 experienced serenity inside the plane. At that moment, I understood that the heart of the Filipino is reflected in every genuine smile. He nailed it. Vincent perfected the art of smiling. His smile could stop time, could make you feel that you are a Million Miler,  could make you experience that you are the Queen of the Universe.

I want to say to the captain, “Hey Captain, let’s depart tomorrow.”

He also possesses the essential element of sensitivity. He could easily ascertain if someone is suffering from discomfort. He assesses the situation and he renders the appropriate intervention. Afterwards, he returns to evaluate. He will never leave you even you are sitting along the Economy Class. His attention never changes from the head up to the tail of the plane. He is compassionate, his technique undoubtedly comes from a deeper origin—his heart.

When snacks are being distributed and you happened to be sleeping, don’t worry because he will respect you. He will not disturb you, instead he will look at you as if you are Snow White.  He won’t ask you coffee, tea or water. He will not force you to wake up and receive the Banana Bread Slice. He will open the tray and will place your food for you to enjoy once you are awake. Then he will return with a smile and asks you for your choice of drinks. He will never leave you hungry, thirsty or sleepy.

His comforting words will kiss and caress you.

Just like with other flights, the time for deplaning will come—sad. The relationship ends after a passenger leaves the plane. But Vincent is not one of those who easily terminate the relationship. He ends the experience with a smile composed of 99% happiness and wishes of safety and inspiration. He hides the remaining 1% for you to feel that you need to return to discover and to experience over and over and over again. He knows how to connect.

With all of these, I can say that Vincent has the heart of a Filipino, a perfect personification of Philippine Airlines Philosophy and Values of highest costumer service. He made me so proud because he had shown the best of the Philippines and the distinct brand of service marked by heartfelt warmth and hospitality. He is one of a kind, a total mixture of passion, dedication and service. Philippine Airlines must be proud of him.

#Mutya

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#Mutya: A sad reminder to all airline companies in the Philippines.

This is only a sad reminder to all airline companies in the Philippines.

If you can’t handle our luggage carefully and with due respect to our belongings, then be honest, so that we can use, metal covered bags, which could prevent molestation, from the heavy and inconsiderate hands of your ground personnel.

I am a constant patron. I love to fly.

Last Saturday, we took the morning flight from Iloilo to Manila. We chose the airline which is known to provide excellent service to passengers. I have no bitter feelings before that event, aside of course, to some delayed departure and arrivals, which I understand, not their fault. Airport in the Philippines are congested. Only in the Philippines where airplanes are falling in line with passengers on board, wasting their time waiting for the plane to fly, one by one. The airport is starting to become the streets of EDSA.

It was a smooth flight, as expected but not until I witnessed how the porters handled the bags. They were throwing it on the carousel without regards to the contents of the luggage– which possessed my humanity. They seemed that they were in a hurry. I could see them through the rubber curtains near the carousel.

For instance, a guitar container, with a sticker labelled “FRAGILE”, was treated as if it contains cotton. The man threw the guitar, and I heard the high note from the strong impact. I closed my eyes and prayed that my bags would not end up with the same barbaric fate.

In addition, the precious bag of my office mate was very dirty. I don’t know what happened under the plane. I can speculate but I want concrete explanations. Also, the bag of our cameraman was severed. My bag was safe, but with scars from the claws of careless men. I swallowed my dismay, but, I’m sorry, I have to say this. I have to say that the airline disappointed me.

I believe that a person with a real heart of the Filipino will not destroy our bags.

Our bags are the extension of our being, of our existence. They are not merely leather or plastic, but it figuratively possess our skin, also, capable of feeling pain from your inhumane treatment.

The bags possess significant meaning and with imprints of happy experiences, from various travels and escapades, that when destroyed, will hurt our trusting feelings. If you are really the heart of the Filipino, please take good care for our bags. The care should include respect for our luggage.

Airline companies should admonish and teach its personnel about basic respect both to passengers and his/her belongings. It is more acceptable to have no snacks while on the air than handling our bags without dignity.

We don’t need your sky treats; we need your caring hands.

Now, since the damage has been done, I hope that airline companies should take necessary steps to ensure that passengers’ bags should be under the care of passionate and caring hands- a typical trait of a Filipino.

It takes common sense to perform basic luggage care, but the irony holds true, that if you can’t even treat non-living things with respect, then, what more should living things expect from you?

Don’t wait for people to associate your brand with hard, careless and destructive hands.

Because believe me, the bags are speaking, and I will echo this to you.

-MutyaRN 

*photo not from the author.