Air France was my first real job where I earned my first peso. It was my Uncle Victor, who was also my sponsor at our secret marriage, that got me the job. He recommended me to a friend of his at Philippine Airlines, which was the Manila agent for Air France. I was hired as assistant to the Airport Manager, a Frenchman, Mr. Moreau, I think his name was. I worked both in the Manila International Airport and, after flights, at our Escolta offices in the Burke Building, where I was assistant to the Administration Manager. From the Burke Building we we moved to the Manila Hotel, and then to the Shelbourne Hotel, where we stayed put until I left in 1978.
All throughout my tenure at Air France, I held two portfolios, the airport office to assist the Station Manager, and our Administrative Office as Assistant Administration Manager. And yes, I did travel a lot while there, both officially and on my vacations. Lola and I became regular jet setters, never missing going someplace on my yearly vacations. Your Mom and Titas were with us on trips to Disneyland, Hawaii, and places of pilgrimage like Lourdes in France and the Holy City, Jerusalem. I believe we were jet setting more than the local millionaires, really.
I stayed put in Air France for more than 25 years, I think. I was awarded a silver pin on my 25th year. I think I still have this pin somewhere among my memorabilia.
Glamorous as their stories of international summer vacations sounded, my grandmother was always quick to remind us that their free airfare often meant long waits at airports to get five stand-by seats together. To travel as lightly as possible, she packed only a few sets of clothes for her three girls, which often meant doing hand laundry in hotel sinks every night. Still, the annual trip abroad was something my mother and her sisters looked forward to, and now they have a rich store of memories, as well as a certain cosmopolitan attitude, an openness to new experiences, and a keen interest in other cultures.
3 decades of Gomez family travels