Flying Doctor Erwin Conrad Abueva pilots for OFWs by day, cares for patients by night

HSBC Philippines
Doctor Erwin Conrad Abueva
Erwin Conrad Abueva is a First Officer by day and a Doctor by night, serving two important frontlines during this pandemic. Photos from Erwin Conrad Abueva.

Doctor and First Officer pilot Erwin Conrad Abueva is a double-agent, a hero saving people both in the air and in the ground.

Abueva is both a licensed first officer pilot of Pan Pacific Airlines rated to fly the Airbus A320 and an Emergency Room physician in Carmona Hospital Medical Center in Cavite and the Marikina Valley Medical Center on duty 2-3 days in a week.

Ordinarily, he takes on one role in a day. He had to be both on May 25, 2020 – a pilot in the morning and a doctor in the evening – when he served on board the repatriation flight bringing Filipinos from East Timor to Manila and went on duty at the Cavite hospital that night.

The repatriation flight was the Department of Foreign Affair’s (DFA) initiative to fly the Dili (East Timor) to Manila passengers who were affected by the COVID 19 travel restrictions.

Abueva has been a full-time pilot since June 2019 but had to be placed “on leave” status due to the COVID-19 impact on the aviation industry. During the leave, pilots like Abueva were temporarily allowed to do other jobs, with Abueva choosing to resume his previous role as a medical doctor.

The repatriation flight occurred the same day as his hospital duty day, which posed no problem to Abueva, who said he makes sure that he will be available to serve as a pilot at any given date.

When asked about how he manages his time between his two jobs, the “Flying Doctor” informed Good News Pilipinas that there was no conflict in the schedule since his pilot duties started at 7 am and ended at 5 pm, leaving enough time for him to make it to his hospital duties at 7 pm.

The pilot arriving at the Carmona Hospital Medical Center for his doctor duty.

The process of the repatriation flight was not like any other normal flight due to COVID-19, prolonging the usual flight time. Additional things had to be included such as safety and health checks by the Department of Health.

“Being a FRONTLINER both in the SKIES and on the GROUND for fellow Filipinos is an opportunity to be grateful for,” said Doc FO Erwin in his Facebook post.

This amount of heavy workload makes you wonder how he had the energy to do both of those rigorous activities in one day.

“The energy comes natural: no special diet or supplement being taken. Maybe my dedication to both of my jobs matters in maintaining my strength to perform well both as a Doctor and a Pilot,” Erwin shared with Air Traveller PH.

While he is dedicated to both jobs, Abueva says he will return to being more of a pilot again rather than a doctor when Pan Pacific Airlines resumes its normal flight operations.

After his story became viral, Abueva shared that he was glad to know that many people have been inspired and that he hopes to spread good vibes to more people especially in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Frontliners like Erwin Conrad Abueva are fighting the effects brought by COVID-19 daily to help the community, to save lives, and to keep the people safe. In turn, the community gives back to them in forms of encouragement and in kind.

SEND A THANK YOU in the comments below to frontliners like Erwin Conrad Abueva who even go the extra mile and do two rigorous jobs in one day to help Filipinos amid the COVID 19 pandemic!

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Cuitlauzina Brianna Cerbito
Cuit is a senior high school student who has always turned to writing as her comfort and inspiration. Her goal in life is to leave the world a happier place than it was before, be it through sharing stories of the world's beauty or bringing light to topics that impact different areas of society.