Almost an ocean creature, it’s normal to find me on the beach or underwater. Nervous ridden when , it’s rare to find me anywhere of high altitude. But the adrenaline junkie in me is willing to try ‘almost’ anything once. So I wasted no time when I read about the tandem paragliding event. I quickly sent Ruby a private message to reserve 6 slots for me and my friends. This is before I even find out how much it costs, who among my friends are available that weekend, or who will conduct this event, or how tandem paragliding works!
Finally it was Beth, Vangie, Denise, Sheryll and I who met up for this adventure. More people were actually interested but slots were limited. The maximum per session is only 5 and no guarantee (of flying). None of us ever tried this before so we’re all really excited and nervous.
The setting for our adventure, the training ground, is in Carmona Hills in Cavite. Christine, who were coordinating on behalf of the PPHGA, told me that we need a 4×4 to get to the top of the hill OR we can do a 30 minute trek. Very easy trail, she guaranteed.
Trek? Trail? Me?
Thanks to our friend Steven of Ford Philippines, we were loaned this powerful Ford Escape 4×4 for the weekend again. My dilemma resolved. ;-)
Paragliding is a flying sport dependent purely on wind and involves a LOT of waiting time. Waiting for the correct wind speed (10-20knots) is crucial so as not to compromise safety. The equipment is composed of a canopy, harnesses and bunch of other stuff including a cushion for landing. A 2-way radio is used for communication with the paraglider from the ground.
Tandem paraglides, designed to carry the pilot and one passenger, are larger but otherwise similar. They usually fly faster with higher trim speeds, are more resistant to collapse, and have a slightly higher sink rate compared to solo paragliders.
Buko of Philippine Paragliding and Hang Gliding Association, PPHGA gave us a briefing on the aerodynamics of flying. And for us to get an idea on how to control the canopies, he let us try his Ozone trainer kites (1.5m) w/ bar and handles. It’s surprisingly not that easy, but really fun when you finally get it. The bigger kite (2.5m) can flip you over if you’re not grounded properly.
And then the waiting game…
We were at the training ground 2pm but the wind had been too strong the whole time that I thought all of us had to reschedule, which we were already ready to.
Then at 4.30pm as the sky was already getting dark, Bernard, the instructor said that maybe we can have one flight. So I would like to thank my beautiful friends Beth, Vangie, Denise, and Sheryll for letting me take the first shot. I didn’t even have to bully my way to it! ^_^
Excitedly I was geared up by the PPHGA team. In preparation for this adventure, I borrowed GoPro cameras from my friends Glen & Mike but we only used one. Buko helped me secure it on my foot/shoe with a kilo of packing tape. It’s needed as I have history of being lucky in borrowed gadgets. And then there was a bit more of waiting but finally….
Intro Tandem Paragliding
Fee : 3,500 Pesos
Instructor : Bernard Fode of Exo-fly of Bali, Indonesia
Inclusive of tandem flight of at least 10 minutes or more and use of equipment.
The intro course is great for anyone who wants to see if paragliding is their sport. Should you wish to proceed with a more advanced course, you can take the Pilot Course which is a 5-10 day course (700 USD, + 50 USD for certification card).
Philippine Paragliding and Hang Gliding Association (PPHGA)
Contact Person: Buko Raymond