Paragliding is a relatively new sport here in the Philippines but it is rapidly attracting a growing stream of determined and avid participants. Much like surfing it’s a sport which is just now being explored here , a reason for this I believe is that it’s just recently been discovered that there are sites where you can engage in these sports here in our own country. It even took foreigners to discover the now world class surf breaks of Cloud 9 at Siargao. But proudly, the main sites for paragliding here have all been established by local pilots who are still very much involved in the sport. The challenge now for local pilots is to discover new sites which can be used to develop their skills and explore new challenges. Currently only 2 sites are used on a regular basis due to the accessibility and regularity of the flying conditions; Carmona and Safii
Ranch in General Santos down South. Carmona is an excellent little flysite which offers the citygoers easy access to the flysite–an easy 45 minute drive from Makati is all it takes. From the Alabang area it’s just a short 30 minute drive.
As for thrills, paragliding is hard to beat–just imagine yourself flying through the air high above the ground with a view that very few people ever get to see. You are floating in the air , borne aloft only by the wind — this is probably the closest thing that man will ever come to experiencing natural flight. But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ve forgotten to describe the experience of taking off. You begin your flight on the ground–usually an elevated patch of land; a hill or ridge of some sort which faces the wind and has a clear landing site at the bottom which is un-cluttered by electrical poles, buildings and other structures. Once you’ve determined that the conditions are suitable– wind speed, wind direction are good you then start to raise your wing overhead, steady it for a moment then run towards the wind and away from the cliff. And just like magic you find yourself in the air and floating above the ground , above the trees and free as a bird. A feeling that is hard to beat, in fact it still gives me a rush just remembering my first solo flight; a wonderful flight in Bali — but that’s another story.