CebPac, the tale

Published September 23, 2022, 7:32 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

One valuable lesson that the pandemic has taught us is to be more extra careful. The virus has, to some, changed their concern about their health to a point of exaggerated attention.

Though it has been classified and downgraded into endemic rather than pandemic, Covid virus is still in the air. And, the claustrophobic in me is still fearful of travelling, specifically taking that enclosed airline trip.

Considering that pre-pandemic I am a footloose, I resolved to conquer this fear. Thus, no second thoughts were entertained when Cebu Pacific invited me along with two other colleagues to a familiarization trip to the Queen City of the South.

‘Twas my first attempt to fly after more than 18 months of just shuttling between the urban jungle of Manila and the cool breeze of Tagaytay with a bit of a side trip to Laoag City, the farthest I’ve gone to date.

While I am more of a full-service airline client, I would, every now and then patronize CebPac, like going to Vietnam and Thailand as well as Macau. The last time I rode this budget airline was sometime four years ago when the whole family went to Singapore for a vacation.

I was a bit surprised how CebPac has leveled-up its service. I was definitely satisfied. Brings me back down the memory lane when Mr. Lance Gokongwei in an elaborate press conference held at the posh Ramada Hotel, announced his family’s foray in the airline industry.

Let me digress for a bit. I’m pretty sure millennials could not relate with Ramada Hotel. A bit of history here, Ramada Hotel stands where Robinsons Manila now is, dubbed to be the largest shopping mall in Ermita area. Prior to the mall’s construction in 2006, Ramada was renamed Midtown Hotel.

Back to CebPac, the way Mr. Lance explained the operation protocol, it reminded me of Southwest Airlines, which I used to take from Oakland in the Bay Area to Burbank in San Fernando Valley as well as Las Vegas when I’m in the US.

While in the past, our flight would land in the international airport at a little over midnight with no tube, just boarding stairs and difficult for those with carry-on luggage in tow, now it’s no worries with boarding ramps for domestic flights already made available. Indeed, CebPac has improved tremendously.

Comparably, CebPac is relatively at par with Southwest. Since its first service flight, CebPac has gone a long way. It has achieved much success and is now known as Asia’s oldest low-cost airline. In 2010, CebPac became the country’s largest airline based on the number of passengers flown on domestic and international routes while Southwest is the world’s largest low-cost airline. 

The CebPac invite is kind of a litmus test for me to get over my airline travel anxiety courtesy of the virus. Finally, I heard those magical words ”this is your captain speaking.”

Admittedly I am green with envy whenever I learn that most of my friends have been doing this so-called revenge travel. It’s maybe the case of being bitten by the travel bug, or could be both, that I finally decided to renew my travel document.

Now, my revenge travel list is getting longer, both domestic and international.

Guess, I’ve to prune it down a bit, especially with the peso depreciating, crossing over the P58 level against the US dollar. But, on second thought, CebPac may come in handy with its low-budget airfare.

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