From Mindanao to the Land of the Rising Sun via the Queen City

Memorable, the first time always is. More than ticking an entry off the bucket list, the visit to Japan was a dream come true. It was the first and it won’t be the last for sure.

The first trip to Japan was on board PAL via Cebu

Cebu scored sweet points with me because the first visit to Tokyo was via this city. The same went with Philippine Airlines, my ride to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Lounge act. Business Class passengers have access to the Mabuhay Lounge.

The journey on Business Class was one of the best birthday presents I got myself—generous space for these long legs on wide seats that can turn into a bed (almost) in the sky, warm meals, flowing drinks. I was well attended to. How else should I celebrate my birthday and dream trip but in style?

Ample space for this long legged passenger on a seat that can transform into a bed in the sky. Throw in a good movie & a glass of red, what else can I ask for?

Hands down, PAL has always been my airline of choice when traveling outside of the country. Its connectivity from Davao to my destinations plus its service, comfort and amenities land PAL on top of my list.

A taste of what's to come. Japanese food served on Business Class to Japan

For a brief time the Davao-Cebu route was taken out of the airline’s roster. But recently, PAL relinked Davao to the Visayas Region and its international destinations. With the connection back, expect the travelers from this region flying more frequently to their destinations on this course. As for me, I will be hearing more “konnichiwa” coming my way, now more than ever with a 5-year Japanese visa granted.

Great news for us, Southerners. PAL brought back their inter-isalnd routes from Mindanao to Cebu.

Aside from the daily flights between Davao and Cebu, and three flights-a-week between Davao and Zamboanga, PAL is keen on strengthening its Mindanao linkages to the Visayas with the airline flying the Cagayan de Oro – Cebu route daily, while Butuan and General Santos can enjoy a four times weekly flight to the Queen City.

PAL can take you to this must visit place in Cebu- the chic & stylish Movenpick Hotel. Stop here for a night or two & head off to any of PAL's desitnation from Cebu

The inter-domestic routes of PAL will connect the Mindanaoans to other key points in the Visayas. From Cebu, hop on any of its daily flights to Tacloban and Iloilo, and in any of its thrice weekly flights to Bacolod.

Connect to Iloilo from Cebu & hear mass at this iconic church.

Or head to Bacolod & say "Hi!" to the City Mayor.

Or better yet, have a selfie with him.

More importantly, for the international travelers from Mindanao, PAL can fly them farther to the neighboring Southeast Asian nations of Korea and Japan via Cebu, bypassing the heavily congested Manila hub. The PAL Cebu hub operates thrice weekly flights from Cebu to Nagoya, four flights weekly to Osaka, daily flights to Seoul (Incheon) and twice daily flights to Tokyo (Narita).

Guess what? The recent trip to Japan , on a dream season, was via Cebu as well.

While you’re making your travel plans, why not ink in comfort by opting for a business class seat? Yes, you can enjoy this on PAL’s short flights as well with the airline reinstating its business class seats for the inter-island route of Davao to Cebu. There are twelve seats of this kind on board the 199-seater Airbus A321 or the 156-seater AirbusA320. The Dabawenyos can now travel business class all the way to their final PAL destinations.

Expect a comfortable ride to your desitnation on PAL's Business Class section

With the resumption of this sought-after service, Davao passengers on these flights can now enjoy the comforts of business class meals, inflight amenities and experience the distinct PAL brand of service marked by warmth, charm and Filipino hospitality.

Hospitality at its best. Trina Zafra-Cabral (right) would be the Dabawenyos (& everyone else's) dream flight attendant. PAL should clone her.

The flag carrier aims to bridge key points within and across various regions to address the need for connectivity through air transport. These new routes not only link nearby cities but most importantly, provide passengers fast, convenient and safe air travel.

Connectivity rules! PAL can fly us from Mindanao to Japan or Korea via Cebu.

So, if it’s “maayong buntag”, “an nyoung” or “konnichiwa” us from Mindanao want to hear, PAL can fly us to the destinations where these locals will greet us with a smile.

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 21, 2015.