A Bit of Travel Nostalgia…

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I found these old photos recently and they made me pause for a moment when I think about air travel then and now. The photo above is one of my paternal grandparents (Lolo in white suit), lola partially hidden by my dad and my mother turning and waving to the photographer. It must have been from the late 40’s or early 50’s was taken in 1957 and they were boarding a Hong Kong Airways plane, an airline jointly owned by BOAC (British Overseas Airline Corp) and Jardine Matheson, which was later taken over by Cathay Pacific in 1959.

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Traveling in suits was normal for the times, and I am sure they were as excited to head to a foreign city (not sure if Hong Kong was their destination or this was the beginning of a months long journey) as we are today. Hard leather luggage was probably in the hold and precious pesos, probably worth nearly a dollar each, was in their hand carry. Today we board planes in shorts and slippers with the crappiest luggage but the anticipation and thrill of a trip is still there…


Here another old travel photo of my mom looking “postura” in an unidentified Scandinavian country Greece. If she had an instagram account then, I’m sure she would have had a bevy of “followers”… She probably tailored the outfit herself. And dig those sunglasses. :)

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20 Responses

  1. Oh, so chic, MM. Gone are the days of travel-wear like these. I try to dress well as comfort allows. But I have to don orthopedic footwear so I can run between gates. Next time, wheelchair assistance! !!

  2. I wonder how many flights they had to board to get to Scandinavia.
    I recently unearthed a picture of my dad inside a plane going to Canada in the early 70s. First thing I noticed was how much leg room they had back then. The taller caucasian men in the picture were all sitting comfortably.

  3. lovely pics MM.

    i wish steamer trunks in all their glory would make a comeback.

    would you know how long the flight to HK used to take?

  4. As late as the 70s where you get dressed in your finest to fly. Walk through the tarmac, have a photo op taken at the tarmac or just as you go into the plane. I will definitely never wear shorts flying, regardless if I am going to an island destination.

  5. The change in fashion is a result of all the security checks one has to undergo before boarding the plane :(

  6. People have no idea how effectively showing people how you want to be treated works.
    Dressing suitably works wonders for your confidence but it invariably prompts courtesy from wait and retail staff too.

    First item I searched for on my first trip to Spain was a black mantilla for mother. That was the tail-end of the age of required head cover for women in church, and they could not use it to hide decolleté either. The priests had such gimlet eyes.

    @Bechay, travellers were wearing sleep-over getups long before 9/11.

  7. The first time I deviated from my usual backpacker outfit I got upgraded to business class on a PAL flight from Manila to Melbourne. :)

  8. OMG, the one and only trip Lolo made abroad mid 1950’s. You can see Lola between Lolo and Mom (waving). Lolo and Lola were going on a 3 month round the world trip. Mom and Dad just going to HK on the first leg. Lolo got the first hotel bill and went into shock. Lola told him to go home, which he did, and she continued onward to the US and Europe. You asked me once why Lolo had only one passport and one stamp, HK, in it. He never went abroad again and Lola traveled every chance she got until her 80’s.

    Picture of Mom is also probably late 50’s, before you were born.

    Too bad we don’t travel in suits anymore. Air tickets then were far more expensive than they are today so it was an event to go abroad. Not to mention Mom never went out without being properly dressed.Wear a proper jacket now and the porter takes you immediately to the first class check in…

  9. Wow, talk about chic!

    I remember dressing up for plane rides ever since I was little.
    It was only in recent years that I started dressing down (think shorts and sneakers) for domestic flights. I always try to dress nicely but comfortably for international flights (whether long or short haul). At the very least, I’d wear a blazer rather than a cardigan, even if I’m in skinny jeans and sneakers. It always makes a difference.

  10. Sorry to be off-topic, but :


    Hope you get to be part of the show again…

  11. I think he will seek out new adventures in so many other culinary destinations… Bacolod or Iloilo, Bicol, Zamboanga or General Santos or Butuan, Ilocos… :)

  12. Being a grandson of a veteran war pilot (my lolo trained in Randolph Field, Texas) and eventually, a Pal pilot, flying as a field is highly-esteemed in our family. I have an old photo of my lolo and other pilots and a mestiza flight attendant which speaks volumes of the glamour once associated with air travel. Gone are those days indeed!

  13. Goodness…I remember how excited we used to get to fly from Cebu to Manila! We all had matching bags, matching outfits. Even our dolls had matching travel clothes. PAL used to serve a hot breakfast…scrambled eggs, chorizo and fried rice. It was such a treat!

  14. You reminded me of my first plane ride. It was a short hop from Manila to Iloilo. The thing I remember the most was being served with real food on china and silverware and cloth napkins. Nowadays you’d be lucky if they throw you a bag of peanuts on the same flight!

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