WHO said pilots are good only at flying planes? In the following abridged article, Ian San Gabriel paints another picture of our “heroes in the sky.”
Ian is a colleague of Cielo Villaluna, the Philippine Airlines’ affable spokesperson. Ian is an external communications specialist from PAL’s Corporate Affairs Department headed by the jovial Josen Perez de Tagle.
“In 2012, several pilots and cabin crew formed a triathlon team that would compete here and abroad. (A triathlete participates in swimming, biking and running.)
“Capt. Mike Ugalino, one of the pioneers, said: ‘We would meet at race events and trained together. This was the time when running races were starting to grow.’
“For their baptism of fire, two PAL triathlon relay teams competed in the 2012 Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. The first team included Second Officer Kat Pijuan (swimming), Capt. Monjo Balinghasay (biking) and Ugalino (running). The other team was composed of First Officer Moy Pabalan (swimming), Flight Steward George Carag (biking) and Flight Steward Chris Casella (running).
“In 2016, with more PALers getting hooked on the sport, the team was reorganized with the addition of new leaders, FO Maya Segovia and Capt. Mark Tan. They received the support of Ms. Lilybeth Tan-Ng, AVP-Pilot Affairs; and, Cheq Navarro of PAL’s Human Capital Department.
“The team coined TeamPAL for a more modern feel, replacing PAL Triathlon Team so as not to alienate those who were not yet totally addicted to triathlon.
“In its first foray, TeamPAL topped the group competition of the 2016 Tri-United Sprint Triathlon, triggering a steady growth of membership, and inspiring Capt. Marc Castro to pay tribute to the company’s ‘great support.’
“As TeamPAL kept expanding, time and job demands posed challenges.
“Said FO Maya Segovia: ‘A major concern is time management. We don’t follow a set schedule, have weekends, or enjoy holidays. Without a sound training regimen, it’s challenging to increase stamina and develop new skills. Repetition and consistency are performance enhancers.’
“Ugalino stressed discipline.
“’Pilots are known to be very disciplined,’ Ugalino said. ‘The team members balance work and find time to recover by having adequate rest, to allow them to still do their jobs well.’”
“Mixing job and sports at PAL has its perks.
“’Part of my motivation comes from the privilege of being able to visit different destinations and do my training there,’ said SO Martin Carandang. ‘PAL’s destinations are really beautiful, and we get to go to many of those.’
“Team leaders are focused on developing tight bonding among their team members, encouraging aspiring PALers to take up the sport.
“Said SO Rey Yee: ‘Taking up triathlon does not only give us huge medical benefits but warm camaraderie as well. It also gives us the rare luxury of representing both our flag and Philippine Airlines in triathlon battles abroad.’
“From just a handful of enthusiasts in 2012, TeamPAL has grown to 105 members, all teeming with enormous pride in having already tasted overseas competitions, including the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
“Take a bow, Capt. Ugalino.”
THAT’S IT Since the Asian Games is practically the Olympics of Asia, any medal we win there would all look like gold. So the bronze medals won by Jones Inso in wushu and Patrick King Perez in taekwondo are golden-like already. Cheers to the duo.