This cover is from a 1933 Madrid to Manila flight. it is the best I have to show to accompany the following picture and text.

spain-1933-cover

I was recently in Aparri, northern Luzon in the Philippines. I specifically went there to see if I could find any locations related to the first flights to the Philippines by the early Spanish aviators.  Finding something in Aparri, apart from Jollibee that is 🙂 , is like finding a needle in a haystack, but luck was with me because my very quick eyed wife spotted this as we drove along a small and crowded road. The plaque commemorates the first flight to land in the Philippines, in Aparri, in 1926. The pilot was Joaquin Loriga who completed the first long-distance flight from Madrid to Manila of over eleven thousand miles.

plaque-joacquin

The trip, which took 128 flight hours, hopped through North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Macao, Aparri  and then finally on to Manila .  Three biplanes with pilots and engineers started the journey but inly Loriga’s plane was the only one that completed the flight.

A little background: In 1924, Loriga proposed the idea of an excursion from Spain to the Philippines. At that time no direct air connection existed between Europe and the Far East, even when France and UK were studying that possibility, considering their conquests in the area.

The motivation to sponsor the trip was the connection between the old Spanish colony and Spain, with current commercial links and a considerable Spanish population in the capital, together with a memory of the old colonial times as more beneficial than the contemporary American occupation.

Three Breget XIX left Madrid on 5 April 1926, but only one plane made it to Manila. The other two planes were forced to land and were abandoned in the North African desert and on the coast of China.

brequet

Loriga, together with the engineer Eduardo Ganzalez-Gallarza, (also named on the plaque) continued flying in the last biplane.

The two landed in Aparri on 11 May at 2:20 in the afternoon; a multitude of Filipinos, whom the pilots described as frantic with enthusiasm, gathered around them and carried the Spaniards on their shoulders.

The pilots later wrote: “We must confess our emotions on stepping on that land, our temples pulsated violently, our hearts beat madly and childish tears flowed from our eyes”

The final stage of their flight came in the morning of 13 May. Loriga and Gallarza said farewell to the officials and residents of Aparri, dropping small Spanish flags over Tuguegarao, Iligan and Echague along the way as a salute to them. They were escorted by 12 airplanes of the United States Army as they were halfway to Manila where they landed at 11:20 that morning.

Enjoy your philately and aviation  Michael    cddstamps.com     cddstamps@gmail.com