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Wind beneath their wings

Aviation training is quite “a peculiar industry.” This was Cristopher A. Magdangal’s reaction when asked to assess his occupation.

To begin with, not everyone understands the complex world of aviation. The regional director of Asia Pacific of the Alpha Aviation Group (AAG), however, is fortunate to be able to appreciate the uniqueness of his trade, the quirks of his job.

“It’s a tough market out there, domestically, regionally and globally,” asserts Cristopher. “My position requires a lot of work, but it also brings me a lot of fulfillment. I go home knowing I am doing my part to change the way Philippine aviation is being regarded.”

Cristopher started with AAG Philippines as its first head of operations in 2011. “I had to ensure that the operational resources and manpower were used effectively and efficiently,” he recalls. “My first project was to encourage better and higher aircraft utilization (hours an aircraft is flown), which I was able to accomplish in four months.”

Appointed as general manager, he brought the company to the next level by providing international-standard pilot training. Success in this department led to his current post. He says: “Leading an organization that focuses, not only on sustaining growth but also on building pilots’ careers and developing future leaders, calls for a professional and dynamic team that is able to rise above personal interests and conflicts.

“We boast of a very diverse human capital, driving our visionary and pioneering management, training, product development and support teams. I am aided by a full complement of core and support teams, which have allowed us to readily nurture and implement any training program required by our partners and clients.”

Cristopher was a Navy man before he saw his future in the skies. A member of Class of 1995 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), he served as operations chief of the Presidential Security Group of the Office of the President during Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term.

His reason for switching careers? “I liked the idea of working to have the Philippines acknowledged as a reliable and efficient place that produces world-class pilots,” he says. “It makes all of us at AAG proud to know that we are not only helping young people reach their goals, but also making the way we fly better and safer.

(Clockwise from above) Magdangal at the recent Clark half-marathon, Parade Grounds, Clark Freeport Zone; addressing an industry function; the boss (far right) at a pilots’ graduation ceremony with (from left) Capt. Manuel Foronda, accountable manager, Alpha Aviation Group (AAG); guest Gilbert Teodoro Jr.; and Ruel Rombaoa, head of sales and marketing, AAG. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

“Each day at AAG is exciting and brings a whole new experience. We learn, alongside our students, being exposed to the trends and improvements in aviation. In such an environment, we are kept on our toes.

“We strive daily to promote quality and safety among the AAG family members — our employees, instructors and students.”

Actually, Cristopher’s ideal was to practice law. “I had this idea of standing in the service of others, promoting justice and overall, of changing the system, one case at a time,” he shares. “That didn’t come true due to financial reasons.” Still, he persevered and is a fine product of the local public school system, the national high school system, the state university system and the PMA.

At the prestigious training institution for future military officers in Baguio City, Cristopher completed his Bachelor of Science in Naval System Engineering, magna cum laude in 1995. He has a master’s degree in management from the Asian Institute of Management, which he attained in 2011. “I may not have ended up as a lawyer, but I like to believe that in my present job and with the things that I do, I am still serving others,” he says.

The older of two children, Cristopher has a younger brother, who is living in Italy with their mother. He and wife Marifi tied the knot in 1997. “I’m happy to say that it was one of the best, if not the best, decisions of my life,” he declares. “We have three amazing children. The eldest, Pierre, is working; the second, Pia, just started college in UP Manila; and the youngest, Cristopher Jr., is studying in Don Bosco Makati.”

If there is anything that is non-negotiable in this busy executive’s life, it’s getting together with the family on Sundays. “However packed our schedules get, we must spend our Sundays together,” he says. Then he adds with a glint in his eyes: “I like to believe that the reason this tradition works out so successfully is because I make it a point to cook for them that day.”

Cristopher was once a young boy who aspired to explore exciting destinations and enjoy thrilling adventures. But the years have redefined priorities, and he has learned to derive greater satisfaction in “helping the youth achieve their childhood dreams.”

To enable and inspire is what sparks joy for Cristopher A. Magdangal.

About me

My mom who worked overseas. If I can be half the parent she was to me and my brother, then I’ve lived a most fulfilling life.

To ensure that my children succeed. As a parent, I want to give them the opportunities to reach their dreams.

The Philippine Navy, where I served the country and our people from 1995 to 1998

I run a minimum of 5 kilometers every day. It keeps me active and fit, and allows me time to plan out my day.

Cooking, especially for my family, whether on Family Sunday or just looking to make an ordinary day special.

Around two hours a day, which help me relax and keep track of life outside of work.



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