MANILA---Two young Bicolanos achieved their ultimate dreams to be a pilot through the “study now, pay later” scholarship program of Cebu Pacific Air.
Emar Ranara, 22, of Bagong Bayan, Daraga town achieved his childhood dream to be a pilot following his graduation ceremony after completing 16 months of training at Flight Training Adelaide, South Australia.
Ranara, called Emar by friends, finished his high school at the Aquinas University of Legazpi Science Oriented High School, now known as the University of Santo Tomas – Legazpi, in 2014, pursued his college education at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (Philsca) with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Aviation Electronics Technology.
Emar is a middle child of couple Arlene, 54, an employee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Antonio, 60, a chemical engineer and retired employee of EDC-Bacman Geothermal Plant in Sorsogon.
He was one of the 5,000 applicants of Cebu Pacific’s Cadet Pilot Program intended for young Filipino college graduates who dream to become a pilot but no capability to pursue their dreams to have a flying badge. “It was my dream to be a pilot that’s why I took the aviation aircraft related course. My work is supposed to be an aircraft technician. After graduation I applied for work at A Plus Company, an aircraft maintenance company,” he said. “My plan then is to work in an aircraft maintenance company as technician and go abroad to generate and save money for flying school. In the Philippines, it takes and cost about P2 million to P4 million to finish in flying school to pursue my dream to be a pilot. But when I read the Cebu Pacific, “study now, pay later” program, immediately I submitted an application in a quest to be a pilot,” he said.
He was about to start his work at A Plus as an aircraft technician when the management of Cebu Pacific called him up. He opted to choose and take examination in Cebu Pacific than his work as aircraft technician.
There were about 5,000 or so applicants but the numbers trimmed down from 800 to 500. From thousands to hundred till 21 went through an examinations mostly STEM related subjects (Science, Math, English and aptitude test thus hand and eyes coordination simulation---the most difficult and challenging process. I’m not sure then if I’ll be able to pass the examinations, he said.
After passing the rigid examinations, Emar said that he went through psychometric test and the final panel interview by two senior captain pilots along with the HR officer.
“When I heard words from the two captains and HR welcoming me to CEB, I was elated as without the Cebu Pacific scholarship, my dreams to be a pilot is slim because it’s too expensive. We’re just a middle class family and my parents could not send me to a flying school,” he said during the the reception ceremony at the airline’s head office, which was attended by the cadet-pilots families, pilots and Cebu Pacific’s management officials.
The event was exclusively for the new pilots’ families and selected airline’s officials, but the management of Cebu Pacific invited this reporter to witness the reception rites as two young Bicolano pilots were part of the 16 graduating cadet pilots.
Another Bicolano who luckily got accepted in the scholarship program was Dan Philip R. Bonsay, a resident of Purok 3, Tulay na Lupa, Labo, Camarines Norte.
Dan is the youngest son of a retired secondary public school teacher and a nurse at a rural health unit in Labo town.
He graduated cum laude from PATTS College of Aeronautics in Manila last year with the degree of BS Air Transportation.
But before pursuing his course at PATTS, Dan took up BS Accountancy at the Mabini College, as his elder siblings were all studying and their parents could not finance their schooling altogether in Manila.
“Since my childhood days, I’m dreaming to be a pilot. Flying and heading to other places but my dreams to be a pilot requires a lot of money and impossible for me to attain my desire considering that my parents were just ordinary government workers,” he said.
He said that after graduation, he planned to work and save money to pursue his dreams. But his desire to be a pilot was realized through the CEB “study now, pay later” program.
“Our latest batch of cadet pilots includes two Bicolanos. These are guys who passed a screening for only 17 cadets from 5,000 applicants. All expense fly now, pay later program for them to be a full-fledged pilots,” Charo Logarta Lagamon, Cebu Pacific corporate communication director said.
“There are two females in this batch of cadet pilots among the 17 full-fledged pilots. The girls went through the same process and schooling,” she said.Capt. Grant Mules, chief operating officer of Flight Training Adelaide said that the cadet pilots went through a tough course and is lucky enough to trained the new third batch of new Filipino pilots.
The airline shouldered all the expenses of trainees, with successful cadet-pilots reimbursing the cost of the program through salary deduction over a maximum of ten years.
Graduates of the program will become full-fledged commercial pilots with guaranteed employment with Cebu Pacific.
“The program entails 52 weeks of integrated flight training, theory and education at Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) in Adelaide, Australia, one of the best aviation schools in the region,” Cebu Pacific said.
The cadet pilots also underwent training in Singapore thus an additional four weeks of training to obtain a pilot’s license under the rules of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The Cebu Pacific Airlines is the Philippines’ largest low-cost airline implementing ‘study now, pay later” program for fresh graduate for its cadet pilots who will be trained in Australia.