According to CNN, major airline pilots have low job fatality rates. Innovations in weather reporting, navigational equipment, and positioning devices have cut down on accidents considerably. However, casualties are inevitable and usually unexpected. Having the right knowledge, skills, and necessary life-saving techniques give definitely an edge to a pilot if such incident happens in the future.

Last March 8 this year, our Airline Pilot Program (APP) Batch 34 was spared from a day of flying to undergo Jungle Survival Training at Jest Survival Camp in Subic. They are the second batch from the school to do the training since it started last 2017.

Entrance of JEST Survival Camp in Subic.

Stunning view of the mountains and sea of Subic.

To start the day off, a brief introduction and orientation about the activities were held. After that, the cadets were taught how to utilize the use of bamboo in creating utensils such as cup, plate, spoon, and fork. Then, the guide showed them how to produce fire without using a match and cook food using the bamboo again to be able to completely eat a decent meal for the day.

Manong showing them how to produce fire using bamboo shoots.

Cadets attentively listening to their guides.

Surviving in the jungle and keeping yourself safe would be very difficult if you don’t know how to navigate and if you’re not familiar with the surroundings. To get enlightened, the cadets went on a six-hour trek to the mountains of Subic.

Flight instructors leading the trek under the heat of the scorching sun.

Cadet Listano poses for the camera at the summit of the mountain.

Environmental studies were conducted to recognize which animals, insects, and basic or medicinal plants are edible. They also went to Boton Falls for a quick dip to freshen up a bit and feel the cold fresh water from the mountains.

“Which is which?” Manong guide helps the cadets identify which among the plants in the jungle are necessary for survival.

“Making friends” The cadets met a local looking for freshwater crabs and shrimp for dinner.

The training would not be proven successful if the participants are not put to a test. To see if they can apply what they’ve learned from the whole day activity, the cadet themselves made bamboo utensils and cooked raw food. Getting water from a specific vine and producing natural shampoo from another type of tree is one of the basic techniques they accomplished to do as well.

Flight Instructor Alfredo Dizon drinking water from a vine.

“Group selfie” All smiles on their faces despite such tiring and challenging day.

Here’s a short testimonial from Cadet Yuan Salac on his thoughts about the training they had as a batch which strengthened more their relationship with each other.

Cadet Salac (left) with Cadet Mapa (right) showing off their handmade hat from the tree leaves.

“Our jungle survival training was fun and educational. The things we learned during our training would not only help us in emergency situations but also in our daily lives. It also taught us to value the simple thing that we have (ex. plates, food, cook set, utensils, LPG, and others). The trainers helped us to easily navigate through the jungle life environment by not only teaching us the theories but also showing practical examples such as how to create fire, cook and eat using bamboo, knowing the plants that we could eat and others. The training also builds our camaraderie not just within our batch but also with our instructors and staff.”

All APP cadets from Alpha Aviation Group are now required to undergo the Jungle Survival seminar as their part of the training towards becoming an airline pilot.—

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