Travel & Culture

(LodRose) Getting into Natural Highs with Paragliding

“Take me in your arms
Thrill me with all of your charms
And I’ll take to the sky on a natural high”

– Natural High by Bloodshot, Jackie Brown Soundtrack

I’ve been known to try out tons of things just for the thrill of it so it there was no surprise when one lazy November afternoon, a friend invites me to a Paragliding talk.  “Of course I’ll go!”  It didn’t matter that we were sending off colleagues to the US that very same evening.  I’ve also gotten used to having at the minimum double bookings be it weekday or weeknight.  That evening, talk goes first.

It was an event hosted by R.O.X. Philippines and was done at their Bonifacio High Street branch, a perfect venue to hold discussions like these and reach out to like-minded folk.  I’ve already been signing up and chickening out at the last minute some sky-diving sessions in Dubai and eventually never got to it before finally heading home though I really wanted to take every chance I get to “touch the sky”.

 

Paragliding 101 Talk Photos by Christine Fernandez

And what a talk it was.  The topic was already interesting enough.   I reckon Paragliding would be a good alternative as there is a notable elevation and with the gear they were discussing about on the talk, along with some demos and tons and tons of video, it appears to be relatively safe.  One of the speakers even gave out wine & cheese to the audience.  After that talk I had constantly been bugging my friend to include me on their “flights”.

(Links of attempts go to my Facebook Albums)

1st Attempt (December 5, 2010) did not go as planned but had expanded my universe once more by letting me hang out with nature (geez the winds were so strong most of the afternoon), with tons of new people who have the same hunger for fresh adventures to try out, and of course with my thoughts – have I mentioned that the jump site was where I started to lay out the Work Breakdown Structure for my 1st Social Entrepreneurship venture, 365 Philippines?  As it was very well explained during the talk that there are times wind forecasts may not also be as accurate as we’d like it to be.  When that happens, you’ll just be waiting and waiting for an optimal time to fly, hoping against hope that the winds will allow you.  As we had another event late in the afternoon, we hadn’t the chance to wait long enough.  A few of these fellow ParaWaiters had been able to fly after all.

 

Wind Dummy

2nd Attempt (January 30, 2011) was when I was almost close to wondering if I wasn’t meant to go up there.  Though I did have the psyche to just “be” and enjoy the company and the environment, I really, really wanted to go up there so feeling at the strong winds, seeing how it moves the trees and pushing the clouds, a decision was made to try so much later in the afternoon that I didn’t have time for.  But hey, given that I didn’t have Chrissy with me for this trip, I had myself get acquainted with the Paragliding regulars then tagged along with Buko, Beng, Armand, and new friends Beth & Denise as we had this impromptu accident and road + food trip to Tagaytay – still a great day.

What Paragliding? Road Trip! Food Trip! Tagaytay! Yeba!

3rd Attempt (February 6, 2011) – A SUCCESS – maybe because it was a private trip, with Tandem Paragliders myself and Chrissy the only passengers for the day.  The forecast was good.  Within an hour when we arrived I was up in the air already with Armand, my lovely French Paragliding Pilot.  This was when I realized I wasn’t afraid of heights,  just scared silly of the “colorful” possibilities of landing, especially after seeing how an early Paramotor flight landed (on his face and behind him this huge propeller and motor).  I was constantly scared by the possible spots we may have to land on (rough trees, huge banana plants, rough terrain, burning fields).  It was also fun to note that for the past attempts I was left constantly hungry so this morning I just ate and ate and ate.  So while we were up there (for a full 45 minutes) several times doing 360 degree turns, I finally asked Armand to teach me how to vomit properly.  During the same time also praying that I need not have to!  So I didn’t.  Yay!  But generously done within the next 10 minutes after we landed 🙂  Tons fun and can’t wait to do it again!

 

 

Up, up and away! Credits to Armand Dard & Beng Pascual for the images on this collage.

So this probably has sparked some interest amongst you guys, which primarily why I wrote about it – I want this activity to go mainstream and have more Paragliding Pilots (girls and guys) in the country.  Here’s also a link to the blog of my Outdoor Guru, Chrissy for another take on this type of adventure.

I’ve also been buddying up with Air Adventure Operator, and one of the <15 Certified Paragliding Pilots in the Philippines,  Buko Pie, so if you want  to attend one of our Paragliding 101 Talks, or be a Paragliding Pilot yourself, or be a Tandem Paragliding Passenger, may I invite everyone to please sign up here and we will keep you up to date with the schedules.

Let me end this piece with a couple of videos I personally took during this adventure:

Wind Dummies, Paragliders and Parawaiters

Paragliders and Parawaiters Community

See you up there!

From Earthlingorgeous:

The sign-up form includes all the details regarding paragliding, what to wear, what to bring and what to expect.

But just a brief, the Paragliding Tandem Flight Activity is a Minimum 10 minutes fly time with a certified tandem pilot instructor.  As soon as you confirm your deposit of Php3,500 payment they will give you the details of you “flight” date.  You can pay via Paypal, G-cash or Bank Deposit. Payment information will be sent to the contact information you provide.

Make sure to wear comfortable clothing (shorts is not recommended due to the sharp grasses in the area) No slippers and bring spare clothing.  Bring insect repellants.    Food, water – the area is in a remote location in Carmona. It has cellphone signal though. It will not be easy for you to go in and out of the venue so kindly bring appropriate provisions like personal medicines.
Private Transport – if possible an SUV or 4WD as the terrain to the site is rough, rocky and muddy. There is a grasslands parking area for your vehicle. We advise that you bring only one vehicle for your group. · Toll going to the venue : 5 pesos/vehicle (one way).  We are also offering a shuttle service to and from the area (pickup point is by McDonald’s Boni).

EXPECTATION SETTING This sport is fun but it involves a lot of waiting for the correct wind speed so as not to compromise safety.

1. The training area in Carmona does not have any facilities for washing up or any restrooms so peeing will be done at a mini forest.

2. This sport is dependent on weather and wind condition so it is not guaranteed that you will be able to fly.

3. Expect it to be hot. We do have a shaded area and we will set-up hammocks for resting.

4. We have no insurance coverage. Paragliding is not covered by Blue Cross.

5. We will cancel the activity should there be a typhoon. We will not compromise your safety should the weather condition be unfavorable (extreme rain, flooding, typhoon, thunderstorms). There also may be a possibility that you cannot fly when you get to Carmona already. Please be mentally prepared for a situation where you may wait for your flight. If you will not be able to fly the same day, we can reschedule you and rebook you free of charge. The fee is non refundable but rebookable and transferrable to another person. 6. We will have fun!

COVERAGE OF INTRODUCTORY LESSONS The intro course is great for anyone wondering if paragliding is for them or someone who just wants to try something exciting and different! You will be taught how to launch and land a paraglider and the rules of the air. The goal is to learn launching and landing skills. Should you wish to proceed with a more advanced course, we will deduct the amount you paid for the Paragliding Pilot Course which is a 5-10 day course (700 USD, + 50 USD for certification card).
MEET-UP DETAILS: To Be Determined

So, if you are interested to fly! Sign-up here and let’s wait for the confirmation of our flight! Woot!

Do you think you can fly?

Stay gorgeous everyone!

Share Your Thoughts Here

7 Comments

  1. I hate heights but I would love to try this!! Weeehh!

  2. lala_sky

    It was only 3 years ago that I realized my fear of heights. I prepared myself on a bungee jump at macau tower but was too scared that I couldn’t even try the skywalk!

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