Sarangani hills ideal for paragliding, say experts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 April) — Paragliding experts are promoting Sarangani province’s hilly landscape as a prime spot for the aerial adventure sport.

Paragliding in Maasim, Saragani Province. Photo Courtesy of Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICEFrench national Armand Dard, a visiting professional paragliding instructor, said they found the hills straddling the Sarangani Bay, especially those located in the coastal villages of Maasim town, as a first-rate paragliding flight site.

“This is my second time in the Philippines and my first time in Sarangani. Last year I did some paragliding in Carmona, Cavite and also in Boracay but this place, which I discovered one month ago is a better flight site,” Dard said.

Dard and a newly-organized team of local paragliders have so far tried out the hills along a ranch owned by the San Andres Fishing Industries (SAFI) in barangay Seguil in Maasim, which is about 30 minutes away from this city.

“It has comfortable takeoff and landing sites. Its big landing site is comfortable for beginners and you can fly almost every day,” he said in a report released by the Sarangani Information Office.

Dard has been conducting international-standard paragliding trainings to members of the newly-formed Sarangani Paragliding Club.

Michelle Solon, Region 12 tourism council chairperson, said they now consider paragliding as “the next big thing” in the region.

Region 12, which also known as the Soccsksargen Region, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“What is the next big thing in Region 12? We are crossing our fingers — I believe in a heartbeat, it’s going to be paragliding in Sarangani,” she said.

“Who said there is no wind around Sarangani Bay? On the contrary, there is enough wind!” added Solon, who had tried sky sports paragliding.

Joseph Oncada, vice president of Sarangani Paragliding Club said they started paragliding in the area in September last year.

“To those who want to become pilots, or just want to experience flying in tandem, we offer training and tandem flights,” Oncada said.

For a short flight, which is about 10 minutes, enthusiasts will need to cough up P2,300 and around P3,000 for a 15 to 20-minute flight, he said.

On May 18, Oncada said the Sarangani Paragliding Club will have a paragliding accuracy competition as part of the upcoming celebration of the two-day Sarangani Bay Festival. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)