Former GMA-7 news reporter Steve Dailisan is proof it is never too late to forge a new path and pursue a new dream.
In February 2018, Steve resigned from his stable job as a broadcast journalist, a career he built over 12 years, to pursue another passion: becoming a pilot.
But unlike most people, this was not a childhood dream.
"Sa totoo lang, suntok sa buwan ang pangaraping makapagpalipad ng eroplano," he wrote in a Facebook post published on Monday, October 8.
"'It has never been my childhood dream. How can you dream of something that is way beyond your reach? I'm just being realistic.
"Alam ko kasi na sintayog ng lipad ng eroplano ang presyo. The training cost in aviation remains astronomical in value."
But after finishing his master's degree, Steve said, he asked himself what was next for him.
He added, "Although, I think the stars have aligned long before I realized I'm up for a new challenge.
"In fact, I have always been a fan of air crash investigation documentaries. My heart thrills each time I board a plane. From then on, I knew my destination is already charted."
The reporter, who had a signature extro (he would prolong his first name and say it as "Steeeeve Dailisan") that made a mark on viewers, admitted he thought long and hard about leaving his journalism career.
He said, "Sa totoo lang, hindi birong iwan ang 'First Love' mo. Mahirap talikuran ang mga bagay na nakasanayan mo na. Pero kapag dumating ang araw na kakailanganin mong mag-desisyon, pipiliin mo ang bagay na mas magpapatapang sa 'yo."
Steve said he owed a lot to his bosses and colleagues, as well as the people who trusted him to tell their stories, which all honed him to be a good journalist.
He asked the usual questions one does before making a career-changing decision.
He wrote, "At first, I asked myself, is it worth it? Mahirap magsimula... Panibagong aral, pakikisama at pagpapakumbaba. Kakayanin ba? Ang mahal. Saan kukunin ang pambayad?"
Then Steve threw caution to the wind and went for it.
"I just closed my eyes and took the biggest leap of faith. I left everything behind and used my savings for this crazy love of flying."
He enrolled himself in flight school, and juggled consultancy work with the Department of Transportation to pay for his tuition and daily needs.
CONQUERING THE SKIES
Steve then recounted his journey to earning his wings.
"Ground school was like going back to high school and college. It seemed more intense actually. My tolerance was tested. Thank God for the lengthy senate and congressional hearings, it taught me diligence and patience which I applied in all of the subjects we took.
"Here comes actual flying. I know in my heart I memorized the procedure but panic took over and I suddenly froze during my 1st flight. I forgot the call outs, all I ever uttered was, 'Sir, sir, sir!'
"I felt like a little child begging for help. My very sharp flight instructor instead gave me the reassurance, 'Kaya mo iyan, kaya mo iyan.'
"Suddenly, I realized I am in control and I have to take control or else..."
The journalist-turned-aspiring pilot eventually got his bearings.
"The succeeding flights were not so bad. Our FI's [flight instructors] were magnanimous enough in sharing their skills and treasure chest of experiences.
"Slowly, the take offs and landings were no longer as ugly as the first time. Kinikilig po ako kapag naiisip kong paunti-unti ko nang naililipad ang eroplano."
Then came the time for Steve to fly solo.
He narrated, "They would always say your 'First Solo Flight' will define you as a pilot. It's a milestone that will forever be etched in your memory.
"On the 8th of October, 2018 I was released to conquer the skies.
"I can't help but feel emotional as Capt. Shiel Von Dy radios the tower activating the flight plan intended for my 1st solo flight. My heart throbs as I was taxiing to enter the active runway.
"Indeed, there's that unexplainable feeling. Magkahalong kaba, takot at excitement.
"Di matutumbasan ang takot sa daming beses na nalagay sa bingit ng alanganin ang buhay ko noong reporter pa.
"But flying a plane requires a lot of preparation, concentration, discipline and hard work. It’s no easy job because you only have minutes or seconds to respond. The result can either be catastrophic or a huge success.
"And I landed safely on runway 19.
"It may be true, being a pilot was never my childhood dream. But our future is not just about our dreams. It’s about fulfilling our mission, our destiny and our life purpose as a whole."
With a dream crossed off his bucket list, Steve shared his realizations as he thanked those instrumental to his success.
"Mahirap man siyang pangarapin noon, hindi naman nangangahulugang hindi mo na siya puwedeng pagsikapang maabot ngayon.
"I may have been struggling financially now, but my family and friends are more than enough to keep me going.
"It may not have been my childhood dream, but I know it’s my destiny and God is leading the way.
"To everyone who have played a significant role in charting my destiny, this 1st solo flight is dedicated to all of you. Please accept my heartfelt thanks."
And while he is now on his way to becoming a pilot, Steve hinted that his love for telling stories as a journalist still lingers.
He wrote, "This is just the beginning. It excites me even more to know that there's much to learn.
"Who knows one day, while flying I can continue telling stories of people who have big dreams, too.
"Remember, 'It’s never too late to follow your dream, reach the sky and be with your stars.'
"A Broadcast Journalist, aviation enthusiast, an aspiring Airline Pilot... I am Steeeeeeve Dailisan. Cleared for Take off!"