On Cloud Nine

Have you ever been so happy that it’s almost like nothing can ever go wrong again in your life? Be it the time you landed a job; aced an exam or report; had the time of your life with friends, or won something you never expected to. You’re so transfixed in that particular moment you’re certain that once you jump for joy, you could actually hit the ceiling. How your happiness is so contagious that everyone around you starts to feel like you’re radiating with golden aura or walking with a halo over your head, or probably leaving trails of enchanting music, flowers, and rainbows wherever you go.

It’s also akin to the feeling of being high up in the sky, on a plane, and you’re bound to someplace you’ve never been before. The journey towards the destination is always exciting.

We’ve all had those moments; those favorite memories we like to replay in our heads. We cherish it not only because they happened to us, but also because the feeling and experience is ours and ours alone.

I had such an experience on February 10 of this year. My colleagues and I, together with other well-known figures in the media industry of Iloilo City, were invited to a press conference organized by Philippine Airlines at Seda Hotel Iloilo. It was to promote their newest route to celebrate their 75th Anniversary non-stop flight from Cebu to Los Angeles. You’ve known about this by now, for sure.

Our boss, the Publisher of Cream de la Creme Magazine – Iloilo’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine, for whom I have been a contributing writer of for eight years now, was also present. Tito Joeboy was the one who asked me and my co-writers, Karen and Russel, to join him.

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Our press kit came with an ID, program, a newsletter, and a free blanket from Philippine Airlines. 

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This PAL leather journal with USB lock makes for the perfect travel diary on your trips!

We were also asked to fill up a raffle stub. Whoever wins gets to have a free round-trip business class ticket, Iloilo-Cebu-Los Angeles! There would be four winners – two from the media, and two from the guests. Upon hearing that, I was like, whoa! It’s like the grandest of grand prizes in an airline raffle. I totally wished that I could be one of the chosen ones. Who wouldn’t want to be the recipient of such a prize??? Deep inside me were mixed emotions of hope, expectation, suspense, and calm. I wanted to win. For some strange reason, I felt a bit territorial about the free ticket. I was already creating scenarios in my head where I was onstage, the token in my hands, and everyone beaming at me. But at the same time, I told myself not to keep my hopes up or else be disappointed. I texted my Mom and best friends about it and they replied with well wishes. One of my BFF’s even jokingly replied he’d go as far as to light candles, burn incense to his ancestors, and ask for their intervention for me.

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Miss Cielo Villaluna, official spokesperson of Philippine Airlines.

After the conference, everyone was treated to appetizing cocktails before dinner was served.

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Press conference dinner. 

Melchora “Bobbie” Mabilog, who wrote the catchy song, “Mahal Kita Pero” sung by actress-singer Janella Salvador for Himig Handog Love Songs entertained us by playing the violin, then guitar, and capped off her performance by singing two of her favorite songs. She’s so talented!

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With colleagues Karen and Russel. 

When everyone had finished their dinner, the emcees Sir Bobby Rodriguez and Kate Chaves announced that it was time to announce the raffle winners. I gave Russel and Karen hopeful glances and said, “It would be nice to win, but neah, I doubt I’ll get to.” The three of us just ended up chatting in our table and waiting for the hosts to call out the first name…

And mine was called.

It was me.

OH MY GOD. I won. 

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT.  I actually won… This is not a dream; this is real…

My spirits soared. My heart somersaulted. 

The announcement had everyone in the function room joyously cheering and screaming in unison. I looked at Karen and Russel with eyes and mouth wide open in shock. Their jubilant expressions, as well as everybody’s, mirrored mine. Karen nodded towards the stage where Sir Bobby, Kate, Miss Cielo and the other heads of Philippine Airlines eagerly waited for me to join them.

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Indescribable feeling

 

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Mandatory photo op. (L-R) Bobby Rodriguez, yours truly, Miss Cielo Villaluna, and Kate Chaves

 

This is so surreal. Just won free, round-trip business class tickets, ILOILO – CEBU – LOS ANGELES! 

“Congratulations!” or “You’re so lucky!” and other similar greetings poured in. I was equally happy for the other winners as well! It’s not everyday you get to have a free trip, especially a business class one… and to a city as awesome as Los Angeles! Just imagine how much money people spend for that kind of trip. And hurray, this chinita gets to save money. (*wink wink*) Another cool thing was that I get to choose when I’ll fly to LA and how long I’ll stay. There was no schedule or deadline given whatsoever. Also, this meant a chance for me to visit other cities or states in America like Las Vegas and San Francisco.

All my loved ones expressed pride and happiness at my recently acquired triumph upon letting them know. After all, I wouldn’t be where I was that time had it not been for my hard work and love for writing. I’ve always believed in the saying that hard work puts you where good luck can find you. In my case and for the three other recipients, it held true. That evening firmly instilled in me that lesson. To whoever is reading this, I want to let you know that something good is always just around the corner and waiting for the perfect time to surprise you. Just do your part, be patient and have faith. It’ll be worth it. 

And I swear, in that moment, I may not have been onboard the plane yet, but I completely felt like I was flying high up in the sky already.

Thank you so much, Philippine Airlines and Mabuhay!

PAL flies from Cebu to Los Angeles every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. ETD: 18:25, ETA: 17:55. Meanwhile, PAL flies from Los Angeles to Cebu every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. ETD: 20:40, ETA: 04:40 +2. Book your tickets now! 

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