Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Ride with a 6-Seater Plane

Last June 23, 2011, I had one of the most unforgettable experience in my life!

I rode on a 6-seater airplane.  WOW!  I really couldn't believe it.   And it is all thanks to my ever loving and supportive husband, Pat, who showers me not only with love, hugs and kisses but also with gifts of adventure.   The gifts no amount of material things could replace.   All the adventures I have since we were together are all because of him.  Thank you Pat.

The night before June 23, Pat asked me if I have important things to do on the 23rd.  And I said no.   He then told me that if I could take a half day leave from work, he'd like to take me with him to Balo-i to ride on a chopper as they will take an aerial photo of Iligan City.   And of course, what else would I say but a resounding "YES! I'd love to!".

So the following day, Pat and his officemates picked me up at the highway near our house.  (Pat went to his office first and I waited at the house.)    When we arrived at the Balo-i airport, we were greeted by "Men in Uniform" - military personnel.   I was so excited to ride the chopper that the first thing I did was looked for it outside the building.   And I didn't find one.  Instead, I found a small plane.   And I thought, "could this be our ride?"  And yes, I found out in a few minutes, it was indeed our ride. 

The 6-seater Plane

Before boarding the plane, Pat gave the possible route to the pilots.
(Photo courtesy of Rene Pernia)

The Passengers cum Photographers, hehe
From left :  Agnes Maingat (Pat's boss), Me  :-),   Rene Pernia (Pat's officemate), Jelo Pacaña (Rene's friend)

Since the four of us are of varying body weight, the pilot arranged us in a way that the weight would be distributed.  In the photo, I was about to get inside the plane. 

 I was seated at the back row beside Jelo.  But Jelo was on the door (which is open) side.  And I was at the window side. 

 Mam Agnes and Rene were in the middle row.
 (photo courtesy of Agnes Maingat)

Yes! I love how I look wearing the headset.   :-)
With the headset, we could communicate to each other.  I could hear the pilot communicating with the Cagayan de Oro base.  It also helps in blocking the air pressure in our ear in the high altitude.

 Photo opts before take off by Pat
I am all smiles.  Excited.

 When we were already high above, I got busy taking pictures of the aerial view of Iligan City.   I didn't even felt much my fear of heights.  Yes, I have fear of heights.  It is one of the fears I am constantly struggling to overcome.   A few times I even try to take a peek below through the open door.   And every time, I could feel my body have some kind of blood rush.   It's like a part of me is being sucked and my knees would start to wobble.   And so I busied myself taking photos.  I was probably the most restless among us.   Reaching over to Jelo's side, or to Rene's side and at times I twist my body taking photos at the back side.   At times I could feel my stomach somewhat like having butterflies when the plane would move a certain angle. 

Then we reached Rogongon area where Limunsudan Falls can be found.  It was at this point when my body could no longer take the altitude and the movement of the plane.  I became nauseated.   And this was the scariest part of all.   As I was already nauseating, I told myself, "what am I supposed to do if I do throw-up?" Where am I to put my mess?"   While I was nauseating, I was thinking for ways on how to dispose of my vomit.  Then fortunately, Rene turned around to take some photo through the open door and saw me.  I don't know how I looked while being nauseous but I think I look horrible for Rene immediately looked for a cellophane.  He found some at the back of Jelo.  And while Jelo was busy getting the cellophane, I was gripping hard to the back of the Rene's seat to divert my nauseating body to the force of the grip and I was saying over and over again "Lord please help me make it through"  - meaning let me not vomit here in the plane.   And I even worried that I might faint.   I said to myself, "I cannot faint here.  There's no way to stop the plane in mid air.   So I recited the "Our Father" in silence.   And again gripped hard.   And stopped moving.  And Prayed.  Finally, Jelo handed me a cellophane.   And by that time, my body has already normalized.   And I didn't vomit.  Yehey!  Thank God.   And we were already above the Limunsudan Falls.  

The cellophane Jelo gave me.  It smelt a bit of aviation fuel I supposed.

This is me.  After being nauseous. 

After a  minute of rest, I again started taking pictures.  I can't help it.  The view is  really breathtaking. Wow.  I couldn't believe I am actually looking at Limunsudan Falls, in person.  And its the first time I saw the waterfalls, and from above!  Below is the photo I took of Limunsudan Falls.

 Limunsudan Falls.  
Two-tiered falls believed to be the highest waterfalls in the Philippines.

 After taking two rounds at the Limunsudan area, we headed for the coastal area to take photos of the vicinity.  I again took pictures.  Moved much.  Twisted my body much.  Then we arrived at Maria Cristina Falls area.   It was at this moment when I again felt nauseous.    It was about 30 seconds and finally I couldn't hold it any longer.  Even the prayers didn't work this time.  So I have to surrender to my body's calling and... threw-up! Into the cellophane.   It was one smooth vomit I made.   For all my life, it was the first time that I have ever vomited.  

After my body has adjusted and already a bit relieved, I looked out the window and saw the Maria Cristina Falls.  Oh my God.  It was beautiful.  I've seen it many times up close on the ground.  But seeing it in aerial view gave me a different feeling.   I had goosebumps.   And of course, I again took pictures.  The vomiting episode didn't stop me from taking a souvenir photo of the Maria Cristina Falls.  And it's a good thing that Rene insisted that the plane go a second time around the falls.  If not, I wouldn't have been able to take a photo of it.   (as I was busy throwing-up, hehe)

 The Maria Cristina Falls.  

After taking some pictures of Maria Cristina and its surrounding area, I again felt nauseous.  Sheesh.. I never learned, hehe.  But it's a good thing that it's the last area to shoot.  We headed back to base in Balo-i.   I thank God I really made it through even with a vomit, at least it was all that happened to me.  Nothing serious.  

Again, all smiles with the new experience.  
Notice the red cellophane?  My souvenir from high above for Pat, hehe, just kidding.  Actually, Pat joked that he never thought there's a mall up there. We were to take aerial photos but instead I went shopping, hehe... 

 Group photo with the pilots and crew.

My pose in the pilot seat.  Yahoooo!

That was  one experience I'll definitely never forget.  And did I told you yet that my seat was supposed to be Pat's?  Yes, since the plane could only hold 4 passengers.  The activity was only supposed to be for the tourism staff and another photographer.   But Pat made a way to accommodate me.  He gave up his seat for me!  Isn't that sweet?  Thank you so much Pat.  I love you.

Below are two videos taken by me during the flight.

Video recording while the plane is taxiing for take off

Video recording while we were up in the sky

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