Contributed by Jack Ian Ampo
To most people, the sky is the limit. But for me, the sky is my home. I have always loved the sky. As a little child, I have first dreamed of becoming an Astronaut. There is something in the skies that continuously amazes me, and I have always wondered what is there to see past the clouds.
But I knew that pushing for that dream was just a wishful thinking because there’s nowhere in our country today wherein I can study to become an astronaut. I didn’t lose hope, instead, I smiled, because I knew at that moment, God redirected my path into a much better way. You see, when we ask God about something, there are only two answers ; It’s either he will say “Yes”, or “I have a better plan”. As I grew up, I have learned to discover that what my heart really wanted was to one day fly and become what most people dreamed of becoming, to be a Flight Attendant. And I tell everyone of you, the journey to this endeavor was never easy.
I was once a little kid with a big dream. I used to be bullied by the people around me for reasons like; because I am not that tall, I failed some of my subjects back then and I had my own shortcomings in school, and told me that I wasn’t really qualified to become a Flight Attendant one day. I was too shy to express myself and all of those other judgments made me feel small and insecure. Many people looked down on my capabilities and belittled me. When these hard times pounced upon me, I only had myself and I chose to believe in me. Yes, the setback is strong, but the bounce back is always stronger. I believe that I am more than my flaws, insecurities and fears. I felt like I am a little spark of flame, and the misjudgments against me became the fuel to finally ignite the fire inside me. I became persevered and inclined into improving myself and thus, made me overcome my fears and doubts.
I redeemed myself and pursued to become better. I aligned everything I did towards the success of my goal, to become a flight attendant of the Flag carrier of the Philippines which is my beloved company, Philippine Airlines. It was not easy. I have been rejected four times by Philippine Airlines, I was also insecure about my height as I am not as tall like the others, and I have been told that I was color blind and that there was no chance of me becoming a Flight Attendant anymore. I was truly devastated and I didn’t know what to do. I honestly cried and I almost lost hope. I had my on the job training at Montana USA and I already got a recommendation letter from my company back in the states and they really want me to come back to USA to become an official employee of their hotel and the salary is 3x higher. but I didn’t accept it. why? only because I didn’t want to give up on Philippine Airlines even if I already got rejected, because what I really wanted was to pursue of becoming a Flight Attendant of Philippine Airlines, and no other airlines but Philippine Airlines alone. I have always been in love with this airline. There are a lot of testaments to prove this claim. I just used to board with them as a simple passenger and I had always been amazed at the cabin crew, and I truly idolized each and every one of them. I even have pictures of me with some flight attendants that served us before, and it’s just amazing that I was once just their passenger, but now I am one of their Flight Attendants already. I was truly inspired by them and so I did my best to have good grades, finish college and finally graduate. I was already applying for Philippine Airlines at the late end of my college years and I always gave my best shot to pass the strenuous interviews. and then finally got accepted. The training was already excruciating, but I had to make a harder decision either to miss my training with Philippines Airlines or attend my graduation on college. It was a really hard decision to make but in the end, I chose to continue my training with PAL and I had to sacrifice attending a once in a lifetime event of marching at PICC as a degree holder, and I missed the chance to celebrate this proud moment in my life. Yes I was really sad because it is only once in a lifetime experience but at the end of the day sometimes you need to sacrifice something for your dream.
And now, I am here. As much as I’ve looked forward to this day, I have always disliked endings. But every ending, is just the beginning of something much better. With that, I am truly and honestly thrilled and humbled to be in front of every one of you right now, because I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love, friendship, and support that you all dearly gave to me.
I would like to impart a few words of encouragement to everyone aspiring to become a flight attendant. Consider passion as the very first requirement, because if you are passionate, everything will follow and fall into place, secondly, faith in yourself is essential, because if you won’t believe in yourself first, then nobody else will, and most importantly, in whatever you do, never forget to pray, because we cannot do this all alone without God. at the same time attitude and your personality is very important. It is okay to be afraid, and it is okay to commit mistakes, because you will learn through these and it will lead you to the right path, with every step of the way. Being a Flight attendant is truly the best job in the world, we may be discriminated at times and looked down upon, but understand that Flight attendants are not glorified servants in the sky, but they are the only ones who are capable, skillful, and knowledgeable to save every one’s lives in case of trouble. They are even willing to put their lives on the line, and everything they have at stake, and give their lives in exchange of yours. This is why I believe that being a flight attendant is a noble and honorable profession. You already have the wings, all you have to do is spread them out and fly. I know it is hard, but this journey of endeavor is all worth it.
Finally to conclude my speech I am eternally grateful to every one of you because my story of success wouldn’t be possible without you. First, thank you to our almighty God, for giving me the strength and wisdom to overcome the challenges that I faced. I cannot do it alone without him. I offer my success to our Father God. To my parents Tita’s Tito’s and insans thank you so much, Ma, Pa, you are a thousand miles away from me. I miss the both of you so much and God knows what I would give just for the both of you to see me here right now and witness this moment in my life. This is the fruit of your hard works and sacrifices of being an overseas Filipino worker. I promise to work hard so you won’t have to work away from home anymore, and so we could be together again. You are all the reason why I became successful and I will continue to make you proud of me. I am forever indebted for the unconditional love and sacrifices that you gave to me. I love you Mama and Papa and this is all for you. To my friends and relatives who have been there with me through my ups and downs. Thank you for being the shoulders that I could lean on in times of melancholy and confusion, and it doesn’t matter if sometimes I fail, because you always made me feel like a winner, thank you for all the support. To my batch mates, as your President I thank you for the trust that you gave to me even though I am one of the youngest in our batch, and for all the memories that we shared throughout the hard times during the training. All those sleepless nights and stressful studying and memorizing loads of lessons have finally paid off. We did it guys! I am so glad that we are already here, together as graduates of batch 92 and I am so proud of you, my batchmates. There is always a universal truth that all things come to an end, whether we like it or not, but I would like to look at this event in our lives as a new chapter to explore. Yes, we may not be classmates anymore, but we will be flying partners, together in the sky. To my alma mater, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Golden Success Flight Attendant school and all of my Professors and instructors, you gave me the ability to look forward, be courageous and bold to take the opportunities when they arose. You didn’t let me hold myself back for the fear of failure, and with that, I thank you. And I have experienced my fair share of failure with you in my time. Now I understand that failure is not something to be ashamed of, but should be celebrated because it means that I tried, and I would already know how to improve next time. And you all honed my skills and brought out the best in me. I am the best, because my teachers are the best. And lastly, to my beloved dream airline, the flag carrier of the Philippines, the Asia’s first airline, Philippine Airlines, to say that I am happy is an understatement. I am elated and overjoyed to become a part of your team. You have been the very inspiration and destination of my goals since day one. Thank you for seeing the potential that I have and for giving me the exceptional chance to showcase it as one of your cabin crew. To be a part of the Philippine Airlines is truly a dream come true, and I am genuinely humbled and fortunate to become one with you. Thank you and Godbless