ANTIQUE, Philippines – Growing up, every person dreams of what he or she will become in the future. A person’s choices change through time.
However, only a few people dream to be a pilot. For a child, this feat would seem impossible. Usually, a child would want to be a teacher, doctor, engineer, or even a seaman, but rarely a pilot.
Seventeen-year-old Maria Angelika Solas Pamiroyan was no different. As she was growing up, her career choices also changed endlessly. She wanted to be a doctor, then an architect. But never in her wildest dreams did she dream to be a pilot.
Now, she wants to become Antique’s first female pilot.
On August 27, Pamiroyan found herself on her first cross-country flight as part of her training to be a full-fledged airplane pilot.
Together with Captain Irene Stanton and company, she flew from Manila to Mindoro and landed at the Evelio B. Javier Airport around noon, where she was warmly received by Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao and her fellow Antiqueños.
“This is another achievement for my hometown in order to be known worldwide,” an overwhelmed Pamiroyan said.
Dream born in high school
“Nikka,” as she is called by her family and friends, was born in Barangay Magcalon, San Jose de Buenavista, the capital town of Antique province, on January 1, 1998.
Her mother, Margie Solas, hails from the town of Santa Barbara, Iloilo, and her father Johnny Pamiroyan is a native of San Jose de Buenavista.
After finishing her elementary education at the Antique SPED Center, she spent two years of her high school education at the Antique National School (ANS).
Pamiroyan then transferred to Santa Barbara National Comprehensive High School (SBNCHS) where she belonged to the School of Performing Arts (SPA) majoring in visual arts.
She was in high school – third or fourth year – when she would often see and hear the airplanes flying to and from the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo.
It was there and then that Pamiroyan decided to be one of the few people aspiring to be a pilot, and fly above the clouds.
Her cousin, Jessa Pamiroyan Agustin, described Pamiroyan as “very talented, smart, humble, and friendly.”
“She loves to travel and explore things, which also became one of the reasons why she wants to become a pilot. In the family, she is very sweet, loving, and funny,” Agustin said.
Pamiroyan first tried her luck taking the college admission tests of West Visayas State University (WVSU) for a tourism degree, and University of San Agustin (USA) for a degree in architecture.
Eventually, she pursued her dream to become a pilot by enrolling at the Manila Aero Club Flying Academy under Captain Irene Stanton.
“Don’t just say what you want to be. You should do it,” Pamiroyan said.
Agustin admits that at first, she was apprehensive of Pamiroyan’s decision although she has always been supportive of her.
“We all know that becoming a pilot is not easy; you have to take a lot of risks. However, as her cousin, and knowing Nikka’s personality and what she is capable of, this convinced me to give my full support to her because it is not impossible that Nikka could make it,” Agustin said.
“And I was not wrong, she gave not only honor to the family, but also to the whole province of Antique that makes us more proud of her,” she added.
‘Don’t mix vices with studies’
According to Pamiroyan, she really felt it in herself that she wants to be a pilot. At first, her parents were against her decision. They were concerned that she will just end up as a “piloto sa lubi” or someone who gathers tuba or coconut wine, later on.
Determined as she is, Pamiroyan proved them wrong by excelling in her chosen field.
“Nikka showed determination, patience and perseverance to achieve what she wants in her life and prove that if you want something, you have to do it,” Agustin proudly shared.
For Pamiroyan, the most difficult part of becoming a pilot is “the transformation of oneself – starting by being always on time.”
As part of her training, her captain conditioned her to wake up as early as 4 am.
They also have to be at the airport an hour before it opens. All rules and regulations are strictly followed.
“I didn’t expect this to happen in my life,” Pamiroyan said.
Looking forward, after becoming a pilot, Pamiroyan plans to take up further studies to be a flying instructor.
“After graduating, I will apply for a job and use my salary to finance my BS degree,” she said.
“In the airline industry, you need to have a BS degree – you won’t be accepted without it,” Pamiroyan added.
She emphasizes the importance of choosing the right career especially for girls who do not have the confidence to aim for their dreams.
“They should follow what they feel, in taking their chosen career. They should always be patient and be humble,” she said.
Pamiroyan adds: “They should not mix vices with their studies. They will be breaking their parents’ hearts.” – Rappler.com
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