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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paragliding in the Philippines - Carmona's Happy Spot

I must admit that Carmona is not the destination that comes to mind when I think of  nature. It’s a municipality of Cavite with numerous developed communities and more popular for its racing circuit. Amidst all these progress however exists a special spot surrounded by a multitude of trees, where winds are abundant and the grasses are tall. Commonly known as Carmona Ridge, this place serves as a playground for Filipino paragliders and kiters who converge on days when the wind condition is favorable.

It is located inside a private property less than an hour drive from Manila. A 4WD is the ideal mode of transport to get directly towards the fly site but hiking enthusiasts such as myself can start from a jump-off in an open field with tall grasses. This will take a sweaty uphill trek that will take 30-45 minutes through plantations and a very small community. The trail is easy but on a rainy day, the muddy terrain will have you clinging on plants. Though the hike is short, its proximity from Manila makes it an ideal refuge for people who appreciate nature and don’t mind peeing on the grass.

My friend Tanny enjoying the very short trek
At the ridge, you will see a huge grassland below and rows of identical houses to the north. The right side is where most of the trees converge. There is a small hut that serves as a "do whatever" area for those who are patiently waiting for their turn for an exhilarating tandem paragliding flight. Comforting winds will envelope you and wash away any negative vibes you might have brought along.

Lively friends and great food are amazing accompaniments for a trip to this happy spot. When you finally get your turn for a tandem flight, it is nothing but an added reward for it is one's fondness for nature that will make you fall in love in this place I consider my happy spot. :)

Views are even better when you're up there!
It's me!

And here's a raw video I took mid-air during our flight. 

*Paragliding Pictures courtesy of Beng Pascual, one of the few paragliders in the Philippines.Thanks Beng!

Tandem Pilot : Buko Raymundo (Hehe, finally got my turn, yayyy! Thank you for keeping your word.)
Owner - Air Sports Adventures Philippines
President - Philippine Paragliding & Hang Gliding Association
Tandem Flight Fee : 3,500 Pesos (minimum of 10 minutes) - got mine for free though! It's because of my work at my previous company. :)
- flying not guaranteed as paragliding is dependent on wind conditions
- you can't go on your own as you're going to need a license for that
Contact Number : 917-8167820

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