Migz Zubiri’s Eulogy on Capt. Jess Bahinting


Last Monday, I attended a memorial service in Ginatilan, Cebu for my good friend Capt. Jessup Bahinting who was the pilot of the twin-engine Piper Seneca plane that crashed along with Sec. Jesse Robredo.

A Taste of Media Mob

When former senator Migz Zubiri gave his eulogy about Capt. Bahinting, I tried to hold my camera with a video capability high up over the heads of people in front of me so I can record his message. The room was jam-packed with people. I was near the door. I was enjoying a good view alone at first but after a couple of minutes, the media men forced their way in and rudely blocked my view with their bigger video cameras! That was a bit surprising and annoying but at the same time I was amused. I did not really get mad—I was actually more amused. I felt like I have become one of them fighting over a good spot to cover an event hahaha! I used to see this thing happening on TV but now I was one of them! No I didn’t actually “fight.” It was more of a struggle to get a good view.

So, what did I do? Well, Migz Zubiri’s voice continued to be audible thankfully and so I focused instead on the small monitor screen of one of the media men’s videocam that was blocking my view. Ingenious! I thought to myself amusingly hahaha!

Video Recording Migz Zubiri’s Eulogy

Anyway, Migz Zubiri’s message lasted for about 6 minutes and 46 seconds and after holding both my hands high up over the heads of people for some time, my hands began to be shaky. It was also my first time to use this camera with a video capability so I was actually also experimenting on how to use it.

Oh well, that was my first experience in video recording an important personality. Thankfully, Migz Zubiri’s eulogy on just how wonderful a person Capt. Jessup Bahinting was can be heard clearly and can encourage us all as we grieve over the loss of a great friend and brother-in-Christ.

Capt. Jess Bahinting – the Hero

Jess Bahinting with wife and daughter and me
Photo taken sometime in May 2012 at their hangar’s coffee shop in Mactan, Cebu.

Last Saturday, as my family and I were at SM Clark in Angeles City, I received a call from Sarah, who is like a daughter to me, informing me that her dad’s plane crashed somewhere in Masbate and that her dad, Capt. Jess Bahinting, was missing. It was quite a shock. He has not yet been found as of this writing along with his co-pilot (a student pilot) and a VIP passenger, Secretary Jesse Robredo, the secretary of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government. (His personal assistant was rescued right away). We continue to hope and pray that they’re all alive and well.

Jess Bahinting, the Pastor and Friend

Back in 1987, I was assigned under Pastor Jess Bahinting as his ministerial trainee then later on as his assistant pastor. We worked together for about 5 years pastoring our local churches (Grace Communion International) in the northern Mindanao area. We traveled a lot along with our wives and little kids. We became close family friends until now.

In 1991, he went back to his home province of Cebu and there he established his flying and aviation-related business which includes a flying school, aircraft maintenance and repair, sales and chartered flights. While doing business, he also continues to serve the church and he is currently the overall head (area superintendent) of all our pastors and local churches in the Visayas area.

This was during the Hot Air Balloon Festival 2001 at Clark, Pampanga.

Aside from pastoral ministry (preaching, visiting, counseling, etc.), I learned a lot from Pastor Jess Bahinting about cars and engines, body repair, trouble shooting, and even the buying and selling of vehicles. We did a lot of those—manual labor!—while we were together. He is an expert aircraft mechanic aside from being a seasoned pilot and flight instructor. We sort of “took care” of all our fleet vehicles (all the pastor’s vehicles) in our area.

We also helped some of our church members build their homes (again, manual labor mixing concrete and doing carpentry), helped church members move from one home to another, helped brethren with babies who had cleft lip and palate problems to get free medical help and many more.

We had many other unusual experiences together like being stopped by soldiers who suddenly came out of the bushes. It was so sudden and was quite scary as they asked for identification card and checked our car. The soldiers said they had an ongoing “military operation” and they were pursuing rebels. This was in one of the troubled spots of Mindanao where we frequently visited our church members. There were other experiences we had together with our families which bonded our two families closely.

Capt. Jess Bahinting is well-loved by many in and outside of the church. A great example of a true and real Christian friend and brother in Christ all the way. He has actually helped a lot of people in so many ways for so many decades now and not just only recently. He has always helped during major calamities in the Visayas area  transporting people and goods using his planes. It should be no wonder that he is called a “hero” recently in the media. He has always been a hero to the many lives he has touched.

May they all be found soon safe and sound.