Ever experienced taking flight? Running towards the edge of a cliff and then suddenly you’re floating? The feeling of gliding in the air, the wind blowing and the ground beneath your feet. We had such an experience last last year. A very unforgettable one. We went paragliding.
We saw a post from Sarangani Paragliding in Facebook about their promo making the fee less 500 pesos from their original fee of 3000 pesos. We immediately grabbed the opportunity and contacted them. Basically we booked a slot reservation that was still two months away, giving us time to save up.
We rode a bus from Davao to General Santos City a day ahead of our paragliding schedule. I contacted my relatives in Gen San so we’d have a place to stay. My aunt invited us to stay at their house which was just a few minutes away from where the meetup place is. It was funny because while we were there we talked about how we contacted the people behind the paragliding group. Turns out that my uncle knew these people and practically told me we should have told him about our plan so that he could have contacted the group. We could’ve had more discount. (LOL)
The next day my uncle took us to the meetup place. I learned that McDonald’s is usually where they meet their clients. The guy, who goes by the the nickname Carla that was supposed to meet us, was already there. So, we hopped in his pickup and went on our way. The paragliding site is located at Safi Ranch, Sarangani. It’s a bit far from the city so if you’re not bringing your own ride better make it to the meetup so you get a free ride.
When we got to the staging point there was a registration. They weighed us to determine if we were fit to para-glide because there is a weight limit. As far as I remember you should not exceed 100 Kilograms. After that we road their favorite service. They named the car Delicious. Their service was a Mitsubishi Delica. You can only take your own car up to the staging point but beyond that you’re gonna ride Delicious. It’s a long way up and only 4×4 vehicles can climb because its quite steep.
On top of the hill/mountain is an establishment that they call Starbuks short for Star Bukid. You can order food and drinks while enjoying the view, waiting for your turn. You can also camp there. I wonder if the stars are clearly visible from there since its quite far from the city.
Mercy went paragliding first since the pilots prefer letting the light ones first. If you’re heavy then you would have to wait until the wind picks up. You don’t have to worry about anything since it’s a tandem flight. All you have to do is follow. You will be assigned with a pilot. The pilot will then setup your gear. Before the actual flight the pilot will give you instructions. You must remember them and always follow the pilot’s lead.
Note: The pilot assigned to you will have his own GoPro attached to a customized pole or mono pod. You can use it or you can use your own action camera. Word of advice though. If you plan to use your own camera make sure you have a strong grip and that you have a secure attachment for your camera and your mono pod. The wind can be strong and it can be stressful to your arm/s just to keep the camera in place. The attachment can save your camera in case you lose grip or drop it.
As for me I used both the pilots GoPro and mono pod and my own SJ4000 attached to a chest mount. It’s nice to attach it to your shoes too if you want. However if there’s only one available then go for the mono pod.
You will be running off the side or the edge of the hill. When the pilot tells you to run you must run. Just move your legs and look forward. The pilot will instruct you to assume sitting position when both of you are in flight.
Once you’re in the air, enjoy the view. Definitely enjoy the view. Its not often that you experience seeing the horizon while floating. Do you look down? Absolutely. Don’t worry the pilot will take care of you. You may experience some updraft wind (not sure if its the right term) but its going to be okay. I did experience it and it felt like the chute lost wind and then we suddenly dropped altitude. Luckily the wind picked up fast and we went up again.
Q1: How long is it? It depends on the wind but usually its more than 15 minutes. Mind you, 15 minutes in the air is quite long.
Q2: Where do you land? You either land where you took off or at the staging point below. It depends on the wind condition. In my experience, we landed at the staging point below since the wind was already too strong it was already difficult to land where we took off.
When you’re done paragliding you can go and get a copy of your videos and photos from the pilots. Just prepare a flash drive because they have laptops there for copying at the staging point. You can also go back to the top (if there are still people on queue) and get some lunch or just relax. If you’re lucky like Mercy you could get another go at gliding. Some pilots para-glide down instead of carrying their gear on the van and drive.
It was a great and unforgettable experience. Definitely a must try activity. It’s quite expensive but its worth every peso. After we got our files we went back to General Santos city. Stayed for another night and went home. The end.
Sarangani Para-glide can be contacted through their Facebook account. They are quite responsive to inquiries and are very polite to guests.