Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Visionary Filipino Captain


I'm glad I had the opportunity of meeting the visionary Captain Panfilo Villaruel Jr. in the late 80s when I was a photojournalist in the big city.

That day, I found myself at his office and he showed me black and white photos of his "Defiant 300" plane -- something he was really proud of. 

This inventor was truly excited about his creation and hoped to get funding for his project.

Ernesto Ferreras Jr., an aeronautical engineer, helped build the prototype plane with the wood and fiberglass body while Captain Villaruel flew it on February 1988. 

I believe that would have been a year after he showed me his creation so that makes me very fortunate. 

Ferreras says that Captain Villaruel's legacy remains "one of the most outstanding feats in the field of Philippine aeronautical engineering".

This blog post you're reading right now is also my way of remembering the happy pilot and inventor I had met at the prime of his life. 

You never really know -- he could have been a General Chuck Yeager, too! 

I really don't know why but I often seem to be in the right place at the right time with the right people who have something awesome to share. 

That makes my work as writer and photojournalist so very worthwhile. My blogs' time have really come.

Of course, I was shocked to hear on the news one day that the good captain took over the control tower of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on 9 November 2003 and that he and a colleague perished in the incident. 

This newspaper report painted him as a visionary and a nationalist. It must have been sheer disillusionment for him to make such a stand that fateful day, ending in tragedy. 

I am writing this article to honor the late Captain Panfilo Villaruel who showed such great passion for his work. 

Most of my articles are to honor those who exemplify soulful leadership. 

These people have left lasting legacies reflecting their character and vision. We have much to learn from them. 

The captain has finally found his True Home 15 years ago where he is now truly appreciated for his spirit and talent.

I'm pretty sure he has been designing even more beautiful and powerful planes now -- always looking to exercise that brain and skill, helping others, and yet making use of the infinite resources on hand. 

And yes, I can imagine the captain smiling, brimming with happiness, energy, and excitement as he has all the resources he will ever need -- something he so rightfully deserves. 

He will not have to "sell" his ideas any longer. He can create anything he envisions and get all the divine help he will ever need.

It's possible he may even be "coaching" young pilots and engineers to build better planes now in that other dimension. 

May this article reach his family for like I said before, it's always harder on those left behind. I am fortunate to have witnessed the vision of this hardworking man, even for a very short while.

(Image source: scienceinthephilippines.blogspot.com)