Soon enough, the day I fly to Dubai came. My e-ticket from the company who employed me indicated that I’m flying with Cathay Pacific and that there’s a 3-hour stopover in Hongkong. I was so excited and also nervous! I’ve never been inside an airplane before, more off, never been inside it, FLYING! 🙂

I got my stuff ready in my medium-sized luggage that weighed almost 5 kgs already by itself (this luggage was donated by my mother’s friend, but then, I eventually paid for it). It’s funny everytime I remember this luggage. It was covered with packaging tape all over and got my name and work address in Dubai in every space available. Reason for this, according to my mother, was that in case someone wants to get or steal something from my luggage or put something inside it, like drugs or lethal weapons, it will take that person ages to open it and that my name was for no one to accidentally take it and think it was theirs. I was not aware of the chances of these things happening but I gave in to what my mother wanted as I know it will make her calm. She was more nervous than I was. I thought that if someone wants to steal it, that person won’t even attempt to take all the packing tape off, he will just take it and run away. Besides, anyone who takes it, either by accident or not will probably try to return it to me or just dump it somewhere. Only 1/4 of the contents of that luggage were my stuff, like clothes and the rest were stuff for some Filipinos in Dubai who’s relatives asked me to bring them. I remember one that asked me to give some sweet peanut preserves and carefully packed and sealed home-made Filipino rice cakes to her son. (what actually happened to these, including my clothes will be on my next post! LOL) These and many other things you won’t imagine being in my luggage to Dubai. Mind you, nothing illegal! Just a bit unusual! 🙂 Hahahhaha… The “JOYS” of being a Filipino! 🙂

So there I was that morning in 2006 at NAIA Internatiol airport, about to fly for the first time! My mother was quite emotional as she hugged me goodbye before I entered the entrance to the Terminal. She shed some tears and uttered her last minute panic if I had all the documentation I needed. (I actually had a plastic envelope with my name printed in humongous capital letters containing multiple copies of documents and papers I need and won’t even need!) My father hugged me too and told me to look after myself. I had my last wave and entered the terminal.

Upon entering the terminal, all excitement vanished and fear occupied my whole system. What if the immigration questions my papers? What if they won’t allow me to exit the Philippines? What if they question all those food and stuff that’s inside my check-in luggage? Would I make it to my flight if they ask me to remove all the packaging tape around my luggage and take out all the stuff in there? What if I did get in and be inside the airplane and then something wrong happens? What will I do now that I am officially in charge of my self??? I was extremely scared but I continued walking  towards the check-in counter.

So I checked-in my stuff, got no questions, got my passport stamped and passed the immigration. Oh yeah! Haha. 🙂 Everything went well and I waited for boarding time at Cathay Pacific Lounge. (I never imagined that it would be that easy! I, together with my mother, definitely over-reacted, on everything!)

All my excitement went back when it was time to board our flight. This is it Tin. I hid my big plastic envelope with my name in humongous capital letters (hahaha, this still makes me laugh!) inside my handcarry bag and marched my way to the plane. I found my seat, placed my bag on the compartment, sat and put on my seat belt. Ok, Mr. Pilot, I’m ready to fly! ~ That’s what I murmured! 🙂

It’s just a little over an hour from Philippines to Hongkong. The second the plane started to move, I sort of pressed my faced towards the window. I don’t want to miss a second of the plane’s take off.  The plane started to move and there was that BIG SMILE on my face, but then all of a sudden, my ears started to buzz  (sh*t what’s happening to me???!!!). My ears felt like it was about to explode, I thought it was gonna bleed. I was about to call on the flight attendant when it started to ease and return to how it feels normally. Geeezzz… (I eventually found out, it’s normal to feel like that, esp. when it’s your first time to fly; would have been embarrassing if I freaked out! LOL) The view of Manila from the plane was quite nice, it was my first time to see it like that.

Some minutes passed and there suddenly came an announcement from the captain that we’re gonna experience a bit of turbulence as it’s raining quite hard in the area to Hongkong. I was still relaxed. He said ‘just a bit’, so I thought it will just be a little shake or some wee movement. Then after a while, I heard thunder, then there came the wee movement, then the sudden gush, then (sh*t!) that’s not just a bit of turbulence! I thought the plane’s in trouble! There came the pilot’s voice again, for us to stay calm and be sure to have our seatbelts on. Now, it’s a storm, not just some heavy raining! I felt the plane moving up and down and I suddenly got hold of my seatmate’s hand. It was like a rollercoaster ride (I hate rollercoasters!) I looked on the screen infront of me, it showed last 5 minutes till we reach Hongkong Airport. “OK, relax Tin. It will be like this for less than 5 minutes. Relax”, that’s what i told myself that time.  More shakes, more turbulence, lots of screams from passengers. I heard someone said, “Guys, let’s pray. Our Father…”. No one followed, someone answered it with another scream, “Eeeeekkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!”. I saw a woman who looks like she’s in convulsion, her whole body shaking and her face terrified; beside her, her kid who looked like he was having the time of his life, all smiles and happily screaming (he must like rollercoasters!) The next time I looked on the screen, it showed last 2 minutes. Time was freakin’ SLOWWWW!!!

The next announcement from the captain was that we’ll be circling round the airspace of Hongkong and attempt to land as safely and possibly as he and the plane can, else we’ll be flying back to the Philippines. He assured us that the plane has enough fuel and we shouldn’t worry too much. I looked again on the screen infront of me and saw that the time before landing was changed to 8 minutes… then 5 minutes… then 2 minutes… then back to 5 minutes… then 2 minutes again… (that was the longest 2 minutes of my life!) The plane was still going up and down, more turbulence, more screams, no one attempted to pray at that point anymore, even the flight attendant who was trying to still look composed and calm was already holding onto a seat.

And then the final dive, my stomach experienced a jump and the loudest scream from the woman with the kid… I saw the landing strip of Hongkong airport from my window as the plane was about to touchdown. We landed safely… Scared to death but safe!

When the plane finally came to a stop, I heard the captain screamed, “Woooahhh!!! Wooooohhhh!” I looked at the guy beside me, who’s hand I was still holding, we both smiled and then started to clap our hands, together with the other passengers in the plane. I had another look at the woman with the kid. She looked like she’s in shock and her kid, he looked like he just had the best time of his life!

I will never, ever forget this flight! My first flight, EVER! 🙂


my first ever boarding pass – flight from manila to hongkong. 🙂