PAL takes pride in crew and pilots amid COVID crisis

IN a recent Facebook post, Ma. Cielo ‘Diva’ Villaluna, the tireless and very amiable spokesperson of Philippine Airlines (PAL), took great pride in  their ‘Cabin Crew - Initiated Project: 'Serving on First Shift.'

Here’s how she explained the said project: ‘On long - haul flights, crew members take turns in manning the cabin. Once it's your turn,  you're on first shift.

For Flight Stewards Allan Christian Martin,  Julio Mallari and Arwin Villafuerte, the first shift is a much-awaited moment. It's the opportunity to serve passengers and provide their needs inflight. After the shift, crew rest follows until it's the next shift. 

When the COVID problem started, Allan, Julio and Arwin answered their conscience call to help. Their working principle and project name: "1st shift" bec high alertness and high energy define this period.

The trio saw the need to provide free food for hospital workers on hectic duty and identified Cardinal Santos, East Avenue Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital as points of distribution. The next step was to look for sponsors to fuel their food distribution drive.

They created awareness on their food drive and found a sponsor who requested 1,000 meals for the three hospitals. The team produced up to 200 meals a day covering a specific period to meet this request. They also handled deliveries to these hospitals.

Aside from delivering good food, they also provide a special treat—milk tea! "We decided to make our food set more enticing to our tired frontliners by adding a refreshing drink - a simple luxury to relieve stress in these trying times," the trio said.   More deliveries are in the offing as more donations have poured in.

When asked what keeps them going despite the risks involved, FS Allan replied, "We do this all for the glory of God and we will continue helping for as long as we can."

Thank you to all of you for being of service to others. You make us truly proud! #LoveForOthersIntheTimeofCorona #PALServes.’

Another person who I’m sure is equally, truly proud are Martin’s sister Aleris Apple Martin-Alvarez, who also happens to be a PAL flight attendant and husband RapRap.

Apple shared that the initiative began when her brother received food orders for frontliners, in his restaurant in Makati City called, ‘The Good Kitchen.’ 

From there, Allan Christian collaborated with his batchmates who own a milk tea shop, until pledges began pouring in for different hospitals.

The joint effort grew in such a way that as of this writing, they are able to provide meals and drinks every week to various hospitals.

The pledges and donations then kept coming in so that the group of Allan Christian is also now engaged in giving groceries to the frontliners.

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Cielo also takes pride in PAL Express pilots who, together with PALex FOD VP - Capt. Rafael Andres -  have pooled their resources together after identifying the recipients of their donation drive in this period of COVID-19.

She said they donated food products to the. National Institute of Health's National Training Center for Biosafety and Security. The NIH is one of the main research facilities studying and finding ways to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pilots, she said, are also donating to the Disinfection Tent Project of Bgy. U.P.  A disinfection tent is placed in key areas so persons may individually enter the structure where disinfectant is sprayed.

These, according to Cielo, are just two projects that form part of the pilots' donation drive.

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These are young, private individuals going beyond their call of duty to help in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID 19.

I hope those in government who, up to this point in time, are yet to do something concrete to help and make their presence felt, will feel a bit of shame and grow some conscience.

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