GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 March) – It’s all systems go for the first leg of the 2015 Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC) that will open on Friday in nearby Maasim town in Sarangani Province.
Nelly Nita Dillera, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 director, said a total of 65 top paragliding pilots from 15 countries have so far registered for the three-day event, which is considered as the biggest sports tourism event in the region this year.
She said they expect the number of participants to still increase before the actual competition will open in the coastal village of Siguel in Maasim town.
“We’re now all set, especially in terms of the coordination with the different agencies and private institutions. We’re just waiting for the actual conduct of the event,” Dillera said.
The Air Sports Association of the Philippines (ASAP) is the event’s main organizer while the DOT-12 and the provincial government of Sarangani serve as co-presenters.
DOT-12 earlier enrolled the PGAWC as the region’s banner event for the agency’s Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 initiative.
Sarangani Province, which hosted the 1st International Paragliding Competition in August last year, bagged the hosting of the event last November through a bid submitted by ASAP.
The paragliding site in Maasim town is within the mountain ranch of San Andres Fishing Industry, Inc. or SAFI in Barangay Siguel, which boasts of a grand view of the Sarangani Bay for pilots as they glide down to the landing site about 700 meters below.
As part of the event, Dillera said a local mountaineering group has organized trekking activities near the paragliding site.
Another group based in the city organized a kite-making and kite-lying festival as a side event, she said.
She said bazaars for souvenir items and food stalls were put up at the site for the participants and visitors.
Organizers have arranged passenger van services from the SM mall here to the paragliding site at a one-way fare of P30.
“This is really a big event and it’s not only being promoted by the region but the entire country through the VPY 2015,” Dillera said.
In terms of security, Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. assured that all necessary measures are in place for the event.
A week before, he said security forces were deployed and “sanitized” the mountainous areas adjacent to the paragliding site.
The 2015 PGAWC tour is composed of six legs or series, with the country hosting the first leg, organizers noted in its website.
Malaysia will host the second leg on May 1 to 3, Serbia for the third on June 5 to 7, Germany for the fourth on Sept. 25 to 27, China for the fifth on Oct. 23 to 25 and Bulgaria for the sixth and final leg on Nov. 20 to 22.