rp_Jannelle-So_So-LA-300x170.jpgOn the 6th month of this year, 2014; and after 6 years of work from the Philippine government and the Philippine aviation sector, Philippine Airlines (PAL), the nation’s flag carrier, proudly announced its upgrade to Category 1 by the United States Federal Aviation Administration. These big numbers ushered in a big celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
“I commend Ramon Ang and his management team for all the significant improvements they have implemented in PAL’s operations,” said Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia, Jr., who offered a toast during the PAL “Big Event” that was held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel last June 12th 2014.

The date of the event couldn’t have been more appropriate as it also coincided with the celebration and commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence Day, another big number to celebrate.

“As the Asia’s first republic, the Philippines has gone through many tough times and tribulations; yet has successfully proceeded on its course for development over the years,” Ambassador Cuisia added. “Now we continue our nation-building even from abroad.”

Filipinos abroad, especially those in Southern California, may now benefit from the big reveal that evening as PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang talked about the latest addition to their fleet, the Boeing 777-300ER.

“It can carry at least an additional 40 tons of cargo. And it emits 20% less carbon. It will have an additional 600 nautical miles range over the 747, allowing us to fly direct from LA to Manila without stopping in Honolulu or Guam, even during the winter season,” Ang said. “We have also installed the latest wifi, internet and GSM connectivity, allowing passengers to call, text or surf during the flight.”

It was clear to the close to 300 invited guests in attendance that evening that PAL was making it possible for Filipinos and non-Filipino flying patrons to enjoy 3 very important things during air travel – safety, newer aircraft, and excellent service.

pal big event

Philippine Ambassador to U.S. Jose Cuisia Jr. offers a toast (top left) during Philippine Airlines’ “Something Big is Happening” night at Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills last June 12, where PAL’s very own President Ramon Ang (bottom left receiving a plaque of recognition). Photo: Benny Uy

“Now, the ‘more fun’ experience in the Philippines can start with Philippine Airlines,” said Rene Delos Santos, Deputy Tourism Attache from the Department of Tourism-San Francisco, adding that tourism is one of the priorities of the current administration; and PAL is one of the private companies that’s helping to develop and improve this industry. “From PAL’s Boeing 747 to 777, now tourists can experience a more relaxed. Comfortable journey to the Philippines,” he said.

Boeing representatives also shared their thoughts about the celebration that evening. Boeing Vice President and Head of Marketing Randy Tinseth recalled his 2011 trip to the Philippines where he had an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first airline in Asia: “Philippine Airlines fleets have carried millions passengers in comfort and style across the Pacific,” he said, as he continued to talk about the Boeing 777-300ER, “an airplane that is more than 25% more efficient than the airplane its replacing. It will build upon the excellent comfort and service that Philippine Airlines has offered throughout the years.”

Mr. Tinseth’s speech drew applause when he talked about “perfect timing” of these big changes and big partnerships implemented by PAL, emphasizing that the strong Philippine economy and the robsust economy in Southeast Asia will lead to more travel opportunities between North America and Southeast Asia. “This is an opportunity for Philippine Airlines to gain a lion’s share of that market.”

While the acquisition of Boeing 777 planes and the upgrade to Category 1; along with the 116th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence were the big numbers celebrated that evening, the sense of Philippine pride was also felt in the ballroom… and more strongly when one of the Philippines’ most esteemed performers was called on stage. Lani Misalucha, dubbed as the Asia’s Nightingale, brought the house down with some covers and medleys.

Indeed, everyone in the audience was pampered with good food, great news, awesome entertainment; and even amazing surprises. Two lucky guests went home with round-trip business class tickets to the Philippines, plus a ticket to any domestic destination of their choice, once in Manila.

At the end of the evening, the whole affair oozed with class, style, comfort, and fun entertainment – words I know I can also use to describe a PAL flight experience.
Jannelle So is taking a break from 20-years of print and broadcast journalism career that began in the Philippines and continued here in the US. Connect to her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/JannelleSoOFFICIAL); Twiiter (www.twitter.com/JannelleSo); and Instagram (www.instagram.com/JannelleSo) or email her at sojannelle77@gmail.com.