Did you ever wonder what it's really like to be a Pilot in the Philippines?

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

Ever wondered what's the life of a young commercial pilot? What it's really like to be one? Let me share to you this candid interview we had with Captain Joel Ralph, a 24 year old Pilot in one of the biggest airlines in the country. He shared to us how his passion for flying started, his life as a pilot, as well as what's inside his bag during his flight. He also gave some advice for aspiring pilots and shares to us some of the realities in a Pilot's life that would defy the glamorous stereotypes.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

1. Can you tell us something about yourself?

I grew up in Ormoc Leyte and finished high school there. Then I took up college in Cebu, finished a degree in nursing and passed the nursing board exam in 2012, but didn't practice it. I decided to pursue flying after I took the board exam. Then medyo bumpy road din kasi napalipat ako sa Bulacan after masira yung training plane nami sa Ormoc because of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. So, I transferred to Bulacan where I finished my flying course.

Then got into a chartered plane company (NorthSky) in Tuguegarao where I gained my experience as a pilot for a year. Then, I left the company and applied to be a commercial pilot in one of the major airlines in our country - where I am working now.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

2. When did you find out that you wanted to fly planes?

Simple lang, I just really want to travel kaya I pursued flying. Hehe! Nung college kasi, almost every month I go on road trips, so when I realized nung pa-graduate na ako sa Nursing, "why not pursue flying at least nakakapag-travel ako and the pay is enough for me to get a living?" So, I pursued what my heart desires, which is to fly and become a pilot.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

3. What are the types of aircraft you've flown and how many flying hours you've flown?

I've flown Cessna 150, 152 single engine aircraft, Cessna 402 and BN Islander Multi-engine aircraft. And now, I'm flying ATR 72-500 Turbo propeller aircraft. Roughly, I have 700+ total flying hours.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

4. How much of your time now is spent flying? Do you fly planes everyday?

Yung schedule ko sa flights in terms of frequency pa-iba-iba, depende sa schedule and manning. As of now, I have 3-4 days straight flight tapos pahinga. Minsan, home/field reserve lang ako followed by day off.

How to be a pilot in the PhilippinesHow to be a pilot in the Philippines

5. What's your dream flight route? And why?

Dream route ko is what I'm flying during these days. Since mahilig ako sa beach and adventures, thankful ako na I'm now serving people who want to go to the beautiful destinations in the Philippines, like Caticlan (Boracay), Surigao City, Siargao, Camiguin, Busuanga (Palawan), among many other destinations in the country. I've been flying to these islands most of time and I'm looking forward (if time permits) na ma-explore ko din and mga islands na ito. Hehehe!

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

6. I wonder what's inside your bag during a flight. Can you share to us what's in it?

Just the essentials for domestic flight, kasi uwian naman. RON (remain overnight) clothes just in case masiraan or ma-divert and we're not at our home base, headset gamit namin for communication, I have a rosary, tumbler, wallet, perfume, candy mints, umbrella, flashlight, reflector vest and some important documents like licenses.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

7. What's your advice to aspiring pilots?

Advice ko is don't stop pursuing your dreams. Being a pilot is not easy, I may say it's not a luxurious job as other may see it. Behind those bars in our uniform lies a great responsibility. To become a pilot you must have the will and the passion kasi if you don't have those you might just give up someday and super sayang yung mga nasimulan mo. The positive points of being a pilot naman is you won't get bored about the job because every flight is a new adventure and there's no place like having a view above the vast spaces of the sky.

How to be a pilot in the Philippines

Thank you Capt. Joel Ralph for sharing your very inspiring story to us!

How about you? Did you also dream of becoming a pilot? Share your story with us at the comments section below.


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