The former reporter on dealing with loss, changes, and moving forward
On the first day of college, everyone was eager to meet our new professor—a well-known name in the TV broadcast industry, a name that, if it weren’t for his trademark sign-off “spieeel,” would never have made him a subject of somehow funny yet harmless memes.
But when he barged into the room all grave yet sleek, the first thing Steve Dailisan said was “get a lengthwise paper.” No comical prolonged introduction, nor did he ever mention that to us.
I’ve included a personal introduction because a lot of people didn’t know he was also a professor at a time he was reporting news. When I heard about his new endeavor as a commercial pilot last year, I remembered thinking, “flying papers, now flying planes? He goes the distance.”
He was a really good teacher. Cheeky and witty on some days like his online persona, but nothing he said on the first day or the lasting impression he gave throughout the semester was out of shtick. I tried to come to terms with that—we would misconstrue seriousness and professionalism for something “terror,” when it was just pure seriousness and professionalism, and sheer discipline.
Discipline is Steve’s main driver
He has taken a detour from delivering news to delivering people to destinations. “Flying has been my lifelong dream ever since I was a kid,” he tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. Discipline is what gets him jumping from passion A to passion B to passion C in a process that makes sure he would stand out in every field. “But it wasn’t all smooth-sailing,” he adds.
Steve recounts that when he was younger, his family would move back and forth from his province and the city, and he tried to juggle both his sideline job and academe during his college years at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. “I’ll do everything to stay afloat, baka dahil na rin dumidiskarte na ako ‘nung bata pa ako (because of my childhood),” he says. “I make sure to execute every plan at the right time. I give it my 100 percent.”
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THE DAY I EARNED MY WINGS "It takes a certain level of commitment. No time to waste, every second counts. Imagine you defy gravity. Its enduring and should be humbling. That feeling when you land safely, will remain forever." Thank you, Lord! I can only pray for clear blue skies ahead. #pilotlife #pilotjourney #JournalistPilot #AAGBatch39?✈️?✈️
In it for the long haul
When tourism was badly hit by the pandemic at the very time Steve was soaring as a pilot, he got laid off along with other tourism workers. Not long after, he decided to venture into an online business by selling different kinds of meat, or what he called TASTEeeve, poking fun at his sign-off out of amusement. He also made sure to support SMMEs through social media posts and videos.
“Nakakatuwa magbenta kasi pati ‘yung mga kaibigan ko ay natulungan ko (It was fun to sell online because I was able to help my friends as well),” he says. “When people ask me to endorse their products, I realize I can help them through promotions. It’s my way of giving back.”
Tikman na ang mas pinahabang SARAAAP!TASTEeeve to believe it!Order now! #TASTEeeve
Behind the attempt to productivity and challenge for his fickle self, Steve turned pensive for quite a while, resorting to self-pity over the risks he took just to fly. “I was alone at my condo, self-reflecting. I shifted careers, I studied a very complicated role, and nawala na lang sila bigla (and they just vanished). Nakakalungkot lang (It’s just saddening).”
Still, the hardest challenge he has encountered, not just in the time of the pandemic, is losing his dad just recently. “I kept asking God why a lot of things are happening at the same time. I was trying to stay strong for my family and this happened,” he says. “Those were the longest days of my life.”
Steve admits he has looked past the need for long-term plans, but he takes to mind his lifetime pursuit in aviation, especially now that he’s the public affairs manager and spokesperson of AirAsia.
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I am RED-y "Red" has always been associated with courage, passion, and adventure. It is usually painted in the sky at dusk — the beginning of a bright new day. A few months ago, I thought it was the end of my much loved aviation career. Tears were shed and so the vision turned blurry. But my good friend Claire Delfin told me, "Steve, bleak times are not always bad." I figured, I will find my way back, so I carried on each day with high hopes, "Laban lang!" More or less 8 months into this pandemic, we should learn how to be tough, resilient, and bullish. As pilots, we were trained to rely on our instruments, but when all else fails, you just have to trust your instincts to survive. My foresight as a journalist perhaps helped a lot in planning the next step. It's actually the same thing we do before we take on each flight, so we know what to expect and what to do if there's inclement weather. I admit, I was anxious and exhausted but I never entertained the thought of giving up. This is what we need right now to stay afloat. FIGHT and WIN, ONE DAY at a TIME. True enough, we are never denied, just redirected by God to a better path. And for everyone who lost their dream job, their nurtured businesses, their family member or anything precious during this difficult time, just hang in there! You will definitely find your way back! PRAY and BELIEVE that a new opportunity awaits. Today, I am RED-y for yet another challenging role — to be with you, and empathize with you, our flying public. I am more than RED-y to provide you relevant information to ensure your safety, comfort, and #Allstar experience amid this pandemic. Indeed, it's never too late to dream big, to reach the sky, and be with your stars! Lord, whatever comes my way, I am #Allstar RED-y. Just like all my pilot colleagues and cabin crew friends, I shall patiently look forward to the time when all of us will be RED-y to paint the skies again. As my former mentor, Capt. Noel said, "It should not matter whether with red, blue, gold or yellow, we all share a common horizon!" For now, stay safe and healthy! Still, FIGHTING! #LearnShareInspireAdvocacy
“Going back to media relations is a blessing in disguise for me because it came at a time I was trying to get back up. It’s also exciting to do two things that I am most passionate about. This job gives me a chance to practice service and connect to people through different familiar perspectives—as a passenger, media, and leader. This job will help my stature as a pilot that advocates for safety in the long run.”
As a new AllStar, AirAsia promises to secure him a position behind the “wings” once the airline resumes full operations. “I’m really happy about this opportunity, and I’m willing to wait,” he says. “Just like all my pilot colleagues and cabin crew friends, I shall patiently look forward to the time when all of us will be ready to paint the skies again.”
I’m convinced he really does go the distance.