The journey started early from Toronto in minus 15 degrees. The GlobalFire team was met by CityTV and interviewed prior to departure. It certainly attracted a lot of attention at the airport. It turned out it helped us with check in, as the staff was very curious as to what we were doing. So we sailed through check in, making all the weights and getting no baggage charges. That is what a little prep does before you leave. The Toronto members of the team had met earlier in the week to weigh and pack duffel bags. Because our packing list included: ropes, carabineers, pressurized water fire extinguisher, two 60 inch pinch point lever bars, two rescue jacks donated from AJ Stone, halligan bar, slings, straps, ratchet straps, grab hooks, CPR mannequins etc. All things that looks good in the x-ray machine.
Our bags were checked right through to Manila so we started a bet to see how much made it all the way.
We flew to Chicago O’Hare, about 1.5 hours, then to the Tokyo Narita Airport, 13 hours, then to the Manila Ninoy Aquine International Airport, 5 hours. We landed in Manila at 10 pm local time. All our gear made!
At the Ninoy Aquine International Airport we met up with our two remaining team members from Alberta. They made it safely.
We decided to stay in the airport for the night as we left at 0700. Turned out to be a very good decision. The check in opened up at 0300. The airport was very busy as these local airlines only fly during daylight. We were first plane to Tacloban.
So they check us in as a group of 14. We had purchased extra baggage weight in Canada for this flight as we are restricted to 10 kg per person and 7 kg for carry one. We purchased 135 extra kg prior- good guess but not enough. It was 200 PHP (Philippine Peso) per kg and we paid 3400 PHP in excess. They did allow us to weigh our baggage as a group instead of individual that helped.
Throughout our travels we wear the GlobalFire uniform. It was amazing on how many times we were stopped by people and asked what we were doing and how much gratitude the people had for the world helping out the nation.
Onto our last leg of the journey, the last flight to Tacloban City- 1.5 hours. The view was incredible and you could witness the devastation as we approached. The path of destruction was wide spread. It looked like it just happened although it was months ago. We are in for an eye opening experience. The world may think it is over, but what we are seeing it is still an on going reality.