Checking In With Cebu Pacific’s First Trans Flight Attendants!

Catching up with Jess Labares and Mikee Sicat Vitug — Cebu Pacific Air's first transgender flight attendants and historic figures in the Philippine aviation industry.

Jess Labares and Mikee Sicat Vitug
Cebu Pacific Air cabin crew Jess Labares and Mikee Sicat Vitug.

Over on Facebook, with big hearts and even greater pride, we shared the stories of Miss Jess Labares and Miss Mikee Sicat Vitug — upon their becoming Cebu Pacific Air’s first transgender flight attendants. Theirs have been stories of hard work, grace and grit, and passion for equality and representation. And their awe-inspiring personal achievements have doubled as historic feats.

Jess, who is a former physical therapy intern, wrote upon her graduation, “I passed the most difficult training I’ve ever had in my entire life. This job may seem glamorous to look at, but what people don’t really see are the battles, both personal and professional, that we face. It has never been about looking pretty, but our passengers’ comfort and, most importantly, their safety.”

“I will forever cherish this opportunity given to me,” wrote Jess. “I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to Cebu Pacific Air and CebGo for their acceptance. On behalf of the LGBTQ community, thank you very much. This means that we have progressed into a more accepting society [that] has learned to respect and celebrate human individuality and expression. It is another milestone in our country that proves that reputable companies such as Cebu Pacific Air can be diverse and multicultural — and this would have never been possible without their indiscriminate and forward-thinking supervisors, managers, and big bosses. Thank you!”

Photo courtesy of Jess Labares.

Mikee, meanwhile, shared, “Nakakatuwa at nakakataba ng puso na Cebu Pacific and CebGo started this change sa aviation industry sa Pilipinas; they promote diversity and professional growth regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity, and individuality.”

A licensed pharmacist, Mikee elaborated on the comprehensive and intensive training that she and her colleagues had to undergo to wear the CEB colors: “Two months of training, with an exam every day, and whose passing score is 90% to 95% — you need to stay up at nights to study the thick manuals. And that’s not all — we had to take survival swimming lessons, and I was terrified because I didn’t know how to swim before this, and we had to jump into a ten-foot-deep pool without a life vest. But I survived! We also had fire and smoke drills, with actual fire and smoke, and we crawled on the cabin floor!”

She continues, “They train you to be alert and sharp for emergency procedures, to give commands authoritatively and calmly. This is in addition to being graceful and offering excellent customer service as a rule. It’s not easy to be a flight attendant — the comfort and the safety of all passengers rely on the cabin crew.”

Photo courtesy of Mikee Sicat Vitug.

Mikee has been admirably vocal about equality and representation on her personal platform, and encourages dreamers to keep fighting the good fight: “To those people who are afraid of going out of their comfort zone, to those people who wants to make a change but keep on holding themselves back because of prejudice, judgement and discrimination — just listen to your heart and make it happen because nothing is impossible.”

Jess, in turn, urged her readers to continue embarking on fulfilling personal journeys: “I hope my role will inspire, not just the LGBTQ community, but everyone else with big dreams and are determined to never give up on something they want to achieve in life. Dedication, positivity, and perseverance will definitely guide you toward personal success and happiness.”

Once again, we thank Mikee and Jess for their representation, and wish them all the best up in the skies.

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(Editor’s note: Mikee’s quotes have been translated from the Filipino.)

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