“It started raining again in Carmona. Better to cancel paragliding today.” This was what Uwe, our pilot, told us that Saturday morning when we were supposed to have our tandem paragliding.
My heart sank after receiving the unfortunate news. It had been raining almost the entire week. A few days before our scheduled paragliding, Uwe sent an e-mail warning us of the bad weather. Despite of that, we were still hoping the event will not be cancelled. But since the downpour did not stopped especially in Carmona, we can do nothing but to re-schedule.
Our paragliding pushed through on a sunny Friday during one of those anticipated Philippine holidays. Finally! Uwe was not around that time so he asked Primoz Podobnik or simply Primo to be our pilot. He is a pilot from Slovenia who has almost 20 years of paragliding experience.
What is Tandem Paragliding?
Paragliding is an adventure sport where a person jumps from an aircraft or a high place wearing a special type of parachute. The parachute is attached to the person’s body by means of a harness that enables him to glide through the air. In Tandem Paragliding, a pilot carries one passenger. What we did in Carmona is Tandem Paragliding jumping from an elevated spot in Carmona, Cavite.
Carmona Landing Zone
Paragliding is usually scheduled in the morning because wind can get stronger in the afternoon. We arrived at Carmona landing zone around 8AM. Weather is a really important factor when doing paragliding. Aside from safety purposes, a good weather and timing will enable you to make the most of your paragliding. So don’t be late!
To go to the landing zone, we drove and followed the directions from Uwe’s site (click here). We also used Waze as a guide (search for Carmona LZ). We slightly got confused when we reached the rough road after passing Carmona Estates – we thought it was a dead end and turned on the opposite side. We asked as soon as there were people and they confirmed that we had to go through the seemingly abandoned road we saw earlier. As we trudge the unpaved path, we sighted from afar a tall guy walking towards us and we thought the person might be Primo, our pilot! And we were right. He went with us and guided us until we reached the landing zone.
A Short Climb
From rugged road, we came in a vast, green land. Primo asked us to park and from there, walk to the jump-off point. Usually, participants take a 4×4 ride to the jump-off point but since it was not available during the time we visited, we had to make a short climb, probably around 20 minutes. Because of the rough terrain going up, we were advised not to bring our vehicle.
Soon we reached our jump-off point where a small nipa hut can be found.
Preparing for Takeoff
As we settled ourselves, Primo started to prepare the paragliding equipment. He then briefly explained to us what will happen. We were four in the group. For the first three, Primo and the glider will land back to the jump-off point. For the last one, they will land on the field where we parked. The gliders who were brought back to the jump-off point had to walk to return.
When my turn finally came, I was a bit nervous. Primo started putting the harness on me. I had watched several paragliding videos before and the takeoff is what really freaks me out the most.
Before I knew it, we were already flying. It just felt like a quick jump from a cliff – it was fun and not really scary as I had imagined and expected.
The Surreal Feeling of Flying
I was screaming my heart away. The cold wind was playing with me. It felt like reaching the azure sky. The warmth of the sun was comforting.
A few minutes passed by and I was absorbing the beauty I’m seeing in silence. For a moment I can’t believe I was up there. From where I was, everything was astonishing. And simple. Just simple. Indeed, viewing life from above made me realized life ought not to be complicated.
“Are we good?”, I asked Primo. It had been several minutes already since we tried to land. But the wind that got a little stronger won’t let us. At first, I was worried. I can sense Primo’s struggle to land. But he was calm and looked fully in control. So my anxiety immediately disappeared.
For someone who’s been doing paragliding for almost two decades, I trust that he’ll do great. And the best part? I had an extended time! Weeeeeee!!!!
- Good weather is very important for a more enjoyable paragliding. We met some regular bikers in the area during our visit who watched our paragliding. According to them, they had seen gliders land sooner because there was not enough wind. Wind can also not be too strong. This is why paragliding is scheduled in the morning.
- For cheaper rates, make a deposit per passenger. You can also rent an action camera in case you don’t have one (PHP 500 per person), just bring your own micro SD card.
- Wear sunblock and comfortable clothing. You can opt to bring sunglasses, too.
- Due to bad weather, flights may be cancelled with short notice. You can ask for refund or you can choose to re-schedule.
- If you personally have to re-schedule, you have to do it NOT less than 24 hours before the event itself otherwise your deposit will be forfeited.
- Check the background of your pilot. Make sure he is certified and he has been paragliding for long. Don’t go for cheap – go for the experts.
- If you book for a large group, it is advisable to confirm in advance the available number of pilots. An indicative standard is five flights per pilot per day, which is the maximum with what the weather or wind conditions usually will permit. It is worth considering that if too few pilots are allocated to your booking, you will risk waiting for hours at the fly site and eventually getting a very short flight (1-2 minutes) or none at all (Source: Uwe’s site).
- October – May: Carmona, Cavite
- June – October: San Mateo, Rizal
Paragliding Rates (As of February 2020)
PHP 2,450 (~ USD 48) – with deposit*
PHP 3,000 (~ USD 59) – walk-in rate
PHP 2,850 (~ USD 55) – with deposit*
PHP 3,500 (~ USD 69) – walk-in rate
*For cheaper rate, deposit PHP500 (~ USD 10) per passenger. You will also be prioritized during the event.
For updated rates, click here.
High 5 Paragliding
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paraglidingmanila/
Contact No.: (+63) 0917 888-4513