By Harvey I. Barkin
We don’t fly the friendly skies any more. ‘Heavenly feasts’ are no longer served. Stewardesses
have gone from glam to grim, sometimes being assaulted by the very passengers they serve.
Stewardesses are now just flight attendants – apparently demoted from a position of protocol
to merely pragmatic role. It’s a plight come crashing down to earth.
But a throwback from the golden age of jet-set glamor girls, Maryles Casto, is coming out with
her memoir: A Hole in the Clouds: From Flight Attendant to Silicon Valley CEO on sale from
Silicon Valley Press on November 16.
Casto’s privileged and fabled life (family sugar and cocoanut plantations in Negros Occidental, Catholic schools in Manila and Cebu, a stewardess job at PAL, a blind date, marriage to an American GI and honeymoon in Europe) did not just end like a fairy tale.
She went on to meet some of the legends of Silicon Valley: Apple’s Steve Jobs, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, pioneer Fairchild Semiconductor co-founder Robert Noyce, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, Intel CEO Andy Grove, former San Jose mayor and voted six times best local politician Susan Hammer, and San Jose State judo coach Yosh Uchida, who was awarded by Emperor Hirohito. She also lists among her clients, Pinoy technocrats Dado Banatao and Tim Bajarin.
But even more amazing is the story of how a Filipino woman immigrant without a college
degree created a $200 million company and lead it for 48 years. Casto Travel even became a Harvard Business School case study.
Pick up A Hole in the Clouds if not for the memories, the lessons Casto learned in almost 50
years of business management without books.