DOT-12 pushes for development of new paragliding site in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 March) — The Department of Tourism in Region 12 is pushing for the development of a newly-opened paragliding fly site along the hilly foothills of the scenic Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato as another top tourist destination in the region.

Nelly Nita Dillera, DOT Region 12 director, said Monday they are currently working with paragliding enthusiasts in the region for the establishment of tourism facilities and the promotion of the Akfig paragliding site in Barangay Maligo in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

She said the fly site, which was discovered by local paragliders last year, has emerged as an alternative destination to the region’s first-ever paragliding spot in Barangay Siguel in Maasim, Sarangani.

The official said the Akfig paragliding site has been drawing several local and foreign paragliding enthusiasts, and adventure-seeking tourists.

“It’s considered as one of the country’s most beautiful paragliding fly sites,” she told MindaNews in an interview.

Dillera said the fly site is situated in a hill in Barangay Maligo that is surrounded by the vast pineapple plantations of fruit giant Dole Philippines Inc.

She said a top attraction at the site is the picturesque backdrop of the 2,286-meter Mt. Matutum, an active volcano that straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur.

A local group started offering tandem paragliding adventure at the site several months ago in coordination with Paragliding Philippines and the Air Sports Adventure Philippines.

Dillera said they are planning to include the Akfig fly site in the first-ever paragliding fun fly in the region that they are currently organizing with ASAP and other local stakeholders.

She said the fun fly, which will be held in May, will feature the Siguel fly site in Maasim town.

The paragliding site in Maasim town is within the mountain ranch of San Andres Fishing Industry Inc. 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.

“We’re looking at holding a back-to-back fun fly for the Siguel and Akfig fly sites to draw more participants,” she said.

She said paragliding experts noted that the Siguel fly site is an ideal spot for morning flights and Akfig in the afternoon.

Dillera said they are targeting to draw hundreds of foreign and local paragliding enthusiasts in the summer fun fly.

“The concept is that paragliders will be flying with costumes like our famed tribal attires,” she said.

The region hosted at the Siguel fly site in March last year the first leg of the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup, which drew around 200 local and foreign paragliders.

The area hosted the 1st International Paragliding Competition in August 2014 through the efforts of ASAP and the provincial government of Sarangani.

Dillera said they opted to hold a fun fly this year instead of hosting a paragliding competition to allow more participants and promote further awareness about the adventure sport. (MindaNews)