Flight…it’s like man’s ultimate dream come to life. How else would you describe that one moment when a machine – heavy as a load of steel – starts coming off the ground and starts floating on something you can’t see, and can barely even feel. It’s a prayer, it’s the laws of physics, it’s a dream. Nothing fascinated me more as a child than the sight of an airplane lifting off the ground as if pulled by strings held from the heavens. The grace of a large, tubular machine with swept back and outstretched wings evokes the majesty of an angel taking to the skies. The thunder of a jet’s engines might be an unbearable irritant to some, but it was music to my ears, for there’s no more audible display of power than an aircraft at full throttle. The airplane…no other machine combines grace and power that way it does, and if there’s one miracle that can be seen in everyday life, it’s the sight of an airplane floating gracefully in the air.
And for people like me, who see flight as a modern miracle, a trip to an aircraft museum is one of those things that one must do in a lifetime. There would be few more interesting places for the type of people who can name every aircraft model that zooms across in the sky. Unfortunately for us here in the Philippines, we really don’t have a lot in terms of aviation heritage. Although we do have a humble little museum that won’t do much to satisfy an enthusiast, but is good enough for kids with a budding interest for anything that flies. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) Museum in Villamor Air Base in Pasay celebrates the history of the PAF – a monument to its glory days and a dream for a renaissance. The museum has a handful of aircraft in display – mostly historical aircraft that are no longer in a commission today, with a few exceptions, and some in marginally OK condition. Though nothing there will really make one’s heart jump and trigger dreams of the movie “Top Gun”, the museum at least gives one the opportunity to get up close and personal with machines that actually flew once upon a time…and not everybody gets that chance.
Overall as a destination, it would be a stretch if I call it worthwhile. However for a family with a kid showing a keen interest in things that fly in the sky, it doesn’t hurt to drop by. Entrance is only 20 Php, and you can see all of it in half-an-hour, so it doesn’t take much.
*All photos taken last February 2014, using an Olympus EPM-2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm IIR.