Carmona, Cavite

“Its is possible to fly without motor but not without knowledge and skills.”

I have always wanted to experience how it feels to fly. I guess when we were still young, we pretend to be super heroes that can fly. However, I have fear of heights. I have tested myself many times already by climbing a tall tree or a big rock formation and being on top of a light house but I still feel uncomfortable and scared that I might fall.

Paragliding has been a part of my bucket list not only to experience flying but to conquer my fear of heights. A long time goal but did not have the opportunity due to my triathlon training and unawareness of the location where you can do the flight.

How to get to Carmona, Cavite

By Public Transport

From LRT Buendia, you can ride a bus going to Biñan, Laguna for php52. Once you reach Biñan, you can drop through Carmona exit, then ride a jeep going to Jollibee Carmona. You will need to ride a tricycle going to Sugar Road and tell the driver that you are going to the Paragliding site.

By Private Transport

From Manila, you can pass along SLEX going to Southwoods Exit with toll fee of php152. From Southwoods exit, take the Carmona short cut route behind the Southwoods Village then will lead you to Jollibee Carmona.

Paragliding

This a recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing comprising a large number of interconnected baffled cells. Wing shape is maintained by the suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing, and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.

Flight location at Carmona, Cavite

Tandem Paragliding

This is designed to carry the pilot and one passenger, are larger but otherwise similar. They usually fly faster with higher trim speeds, are more resistant to collapse, and have a slightly higher sink rate compared to solo paragliders.

Meet my pilot

Micheal Vincent

  • FlyXtreme Adventure Philippines Founder
  • Competitor Pilot
  • FAI (Federal Aeronautics International) License
  • Contact: (0906) 322 5304
  • Price: 2,500php weekdays
  • Price:  3,500php weekends
  • Flight Months: November- May  (thermal)

Equipment

The paraglider wing or canopy is usually what is known in aeronautical engineering as a “ram-air airfoil”. Such wings comprise two layers of fabric that are connected to internal supporting material in such a way as to form a row of cells. By leaving most of the cells open only at the leading edge, incoming air keeps the wing inflated, thus maintaining its shape. When inflated, the wing’s cross-section has the typical teardrop aerofoil shape. Modern paraglider wings are made of high-performance non-porous materials such as ripstop polyester or nylon fabric.

Harness

The pilot is loosely and comfortably buckled into a harness, which offers support in both the standing and sitting positions. Most harnesses have foam or airbag protectors underneath the seat and behind the back to reduce the impact on failed launches or landings.

Tip:

  • Make sure to be ready physically and mentally before you do paragliding.
  • Trust you Pilot. He knows what he is doing.
  • Observe Parawaiting. The launch depends on the weather.
  • Focus on the horizon instead of looking down.
  • Do not panic. Majority of the paragliding accidents are due to human error.
  • Enjoy the flight. #YOLO

Launching

The wing is placed into an airstream, either by running or being pulled, or an existing wind. The wing moves up over the pilot into a position in which it can carry the passenger. The pilot is then lifted from the ground and, after a safety period, can sit down into his harness.

Forward launch

The wing is inflated with a forward launch, where the pilot runs forward with the wing behind so that the air pressure generated by the forward movement inflates the wing. It is often easier, because the pilot only has to run forward, but the pilot cannot see his wing until it is above him, where he has to check it in a very short time for correct inflation and untangled lines before the launch.

Soaring Flight or Ridge Soaring

Soaring flight is achieved by utilizing wind directed upwards by a fixed object such as a dune or ridge. In slope soaring, pilots fly along the length of a slope feature in the landscape, relying on the lift provided by the air, which is forced up as it passes over the slope.

Thermal Flying or Thermal Flight

When the sun warms the ground, it will warm some features more than others (such as rock faces or large buildings), and these set off thermals which rise through the air.

Sometimes these may be a simple rising column of air; more often, they are blown sideways in the wind and will break off from the source, with a new thermal forming later.

My paragliding experience was fun and exciting and a big check in my bucket list.

Technical Information Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragliding

“Way back high school days, I was asked by my 4th year English teacher “give 3 things you wish to do in your life” one of my answers  was “I want to see the world from above” It’s a childish dream, envying the birds, and be able to see the world in their unique perspective.”

June 26, 2016, I’ve tried this paragliding by FlyXtreme Adventure Club and Paragliding School.

“It’ll  always be a special feeling to fly, It’s an all new world, a paradise. It’s what a bird feels, the touch of clouds, the endless horizon, the freedom of the sky. And at the very moment of flying, I told myself “It’s best to see the world from above” – Jun Zoleta

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Mabini, Batangas

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

When I saw an add regarding a new water sport which they call Manta Ray Dive Wing, I got interested and hope that one day I will be able to try it. I started checking if there are any blogs written about this new water sport but it seems that no one has ever tried until I saw an episode on TV which a resort in Batangas offers this kind of amenity.

How to get to Mabini, Batangas      

By Public Transport

From Buendia LRT Station or Alabang South Station, you will need to ride a bus going to Batangas Grand Terminal for php157 (Buendia) or php127 (Alabang). It will take you for about 2 hours.

From Batangas Grand Terminal, you need to take a jeep ride going to Mabini for 37php.
From Mabini, a tricycle ride going to Anilao Port then to the Sicilian Reef Dive Resort.

By Private Transport

From Manila, you will need to ride along South Luzon Express Way (SLEX) to Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (Start Toll Way) entering the province of Batangas.

By the end of the Start Toll Way, you will need to pass towards the road going to Diversion Road in Batangas City then going to Bauan. You will see a sign going to Mabini after municipality of San Pascual then turn left towards Anilao, Mabini.

Tip: Make sure to type the complete name of the resort if you will use waze application because it will suggest the long route towards the resort. Sometimes, it will lead you towards Sicilian Reef along Planet Dive which is 10km away from the resort.

The Sicilian Reef Dive Resort

The Sicilian Reef Dive Resort is located at Sitio Huway-Huway Mabini Batangas. From Anilao Port, you just need to ride a tricycle going to the resort. The resort offers the following amenities;

  • Inflatable Fishing Boat
  • Intro Dive
  • Jets Ski Rental
  • Snorkel Rental
  • Atomic Ride
  • Manta Ray Dive Wing

With sir Eric Umali and Derald Umali for a short briefing.

There are a lot of resorts in Mabini, Batangas particular in Anilao but his the ONLY resort that offers the Manta Ray Dive Wing in the Philippines. You can check their website at www.thesicilianreef.com, like their Facebook page or you can contact Cat Umali at 0905-326-6625 for reservations.

The Manta Ray Dive Wing

The Manta Ray Dive Wing is a new water sports that offers a different kind of diving experience. This is not a scuba dive to view manta rays underwater but rather an exhilarating and white-knuckle underwater ride with a ray-winged like board towed by a jet ski along with a rope.

There will be an orientation before the actual dive since safety is there priority.

The Manta Ray Dive Wing was about 15 minutes. This video was taken by Derald Umali. He waited for me to pass by him while shooting this video. Bring your own camera.

Tips:

  • Do not panic. Take control of the board.
  • If your running out of air, move the board slightly upward then it will be automatically heading towards the sea surface.
  • When you move the board downward then the board will lead you towards the coral reefs.
  • Check the underwater surroundings first before you dive to ensure that you will be not crashing towards the coral reefs.
  • Make you sure to hold your breath longer than the usual for a nice dive sequence.
  • Have a presence of mind. Remember the do’s and dont’s during the briefing.
  • The board and your hear should not be on different angle.
  • Enjoy the experience.

 This is front shot where you can attach your camera. It was super fun. 🤗🤗🤗

After the dive, I enjoyed rock climbing and spelunking at a rock formation near the resort. I also had a cliff jump for 20 feet and conquered my fear of heights.  It was hard to climb and scary but I made it. 🤗🤗🤗

My experience with the manta ray dive wing, rock climbing and cliff jump were awesome. I highly recommend to those who wanted to try something different. This is also one way to conquer your fear with the deep.

San Luis, Batangas

As you keep your mind and heart focused in the right direction, approaching each day with faith and gratitude, I believe you will be empowered to live life to the fullest and enjoy the abundant life He has promised you.”

Scuba diving is one of my bucket list since I was young. I always wanted to experience the excitement of discovering marine life and conquer my fear of the deep. However, scuba diving is a bit expensive and I do not have all the equipment as well.

On my way to Manila from Calayan island, it came to my mind that what if I do scuba diving this weekend. I started looking for some deals online and got a notification from DIY Travel Philippines about a cheap introduction dive under Scuba Buddies in San Luis, Batangas.

I sent a private message to Mr. Vincent Cornel, the owner of Scuba Buddies. They were running a promotion for only php2,000 which includes van transport (back & forth from Manila to Batangas, lunch, diving equipment, dive master fee and diving lessons. I was excited but still worried because I may not be able to continue because of my fear in the deep.

How to get to San Luis, Batangas

If you have a private car, from Manila you will need to drive going to Lipa, Batangas through South Luzon Express Way (SLEX). From Lipa toll exit, head towards right going to Alitagtag, Batangas. There are street signs along the way to Alitagtag or Lemery. When you reach the end of point of Alitagtag, you need to turn right before Sta. Teresita entry then from you are in San Luis. Waze can also be a help.

Since part of the package is the van transport from Manila to San Luis and back, then its much more convenient instead of going there with a private car or through public transport. San Luis is only 27KM away from Lipa. So, its not really that far.

Welcome to San Luis, Batangas

San Luis is a fourth class municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines.

Aside from Anilao, San Luis is also a favorite place for divers because of the unexploited coral reefs and home of different specifies of fishes.

Dambana ng Pagkabuhay

This structure is located at Brgy. Locloc, San Luis Batangas. It was constructed to honor the resurrection of Christ through the help of Daches constructed by Engr. Valentino S. Malabanan assisted by Mr. Jose Rene L. Gasioco. This is like the Rio De Janeiro of Brazil.From the town proper, you will need to trek uphill for about 2-3 km going to the statue. You can also ride a motorcycle going to the church for php20. The statue is situated at the top most portion of the hill. It is said that during holy week, there are a lot of people who visit to do pilgrimage because of the station of the cross. It a religious journey to search for moral and spiritual significance.

The structure is about 200 feet high including then statue of Christ and from the top view deck, you can see entire municipality. The place is still under still under construction and I suggest to at least give some donations since there is no entrance fee. Any amount would be appreciated to help the locals for the improvement of their church.

As a traveller, I guess you would rather feel tired and satisfied than spend more but not happy. I was also challenged on the uphill road towards the statue. So, I walked from the town proper going to the statue. It was bit difficult because if was full uphill and was so hot. However, on way towards the church, you can hear the sound of the bamboo trees bumping at each other, tweeting of the birds and smell the fresh air.

I was able to talked to some locals and according to them, holy week is the busiest week due to most of the people visit statue to do pilgrimage. You can also buy souvenir shirts for only php180.

Scuba Diving (Independence Dive)

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving in which a scuba diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) to breathe underwater.

Seasport Park and Dive Resort 

This is the host resort for the dive academy where being managed by Mr. Allan S. Lao.

The resort offers the following

  • Accommodation
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Fish Feeding
  • There is also restaurant at the resort where you can ask them to cook food. The prices are very affordable.

Scuba Buddies and Alao Dive Academy

The dive academy is own and managed by Mr. Allan S. Lao. He is a CMAS/PADI (World Underwater Federation) Master Scuba Diver trainer and a ERF (Emergency First Response) Instructor.

Below are the dive instructors from Alao Dive Academy.

  • Allan Lao (Master Scuba Diver)
  • Ricky Lao
  • Vincent Cornel
  • Kevin Asturias
  • Onie Potipot
  • Dandy Quirao

They also offer diving license to those who wanted to have certification in scuba diving.
Contact Information:

  • Allan S. Lao
  • Operations Manager
  • Sea  Sports Park and Dive Resort
  • 09192449994
  • 09158994997
  • mrallanlao@yahoo.com
  • alaodiveacademy@gmail.com

My dive instructor was Mr. Vincent Cornel, he a dive master of Alao Dive Academy and founder/owner of Scuba Buddies.

  • CMAS 3 star dive master
  • Alao Dive Academy Dive master
  • Philippine Association of Underwater Activities
  • President (UP Divers Association)
  • Instructor (PNP Special Action Force)
  • Safety Diver (Sec. Alcala of Dept of Agriculture at Dive and Trek Resort and Marine Sanctuary)

Contact Information”

  • Vincent Cornel
  • Scuba Buddies
  • Founder/Owner
  • 09366771186
  • vincecornel09@gmail.com

Introduction to Scuba Diving is a program which students can experience the beauty of scuba diving even without holding a certification card. This was during the Dive Orientation by Sir Vincent Cornel, the founder of Scuba Buddies.

Reminders:

  • Persons ages of 10 and above can avail the course as long as physically and mentally stable.
  •  Students cannot enroll if he/she has serious illness or operations. They needed to submit medical certificate from their doctors to allow them scuba dive.
  • Students who has severe cold and fever are not allowed to take the program.
  • Students who has ear infections or ear illnesses are likewise forbidden to enroll.
  • We encourage also to students to have proper rest and do regular exercise prior to the day of the event.
  • Don’t panic!! Listen to your instructor at all times.
  • Don’t assume! Even if you are a swimmer, it does not guarantee.
  • Presence of mind is important.
  • Remember the drills during the pre-dive session.
  • Practice to breath using your mouth.
  • Breath slowly when your under water.
  • Make sure that you are heavy enough in order to submerge under water
  • Remember all the hand language.
  • Immediately inform your dive master when you feel uncomfortable.
  • Enjoy!! Enjoy!! Enjoy!!😉🤗🙂

At the end of the day. Everything went well and I really enjoyed the diving experience. Thank you to Sir Vincent Cornel of Scuba Buddies for giving the opportunity to meet my friends under water.

 

Calayan, Cagayan

“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself. Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

Going to Calayan has always been a part of my bucket list. In fact, it was a great accomplishment to be able to visit an island located at the northern part of the Philippines.  I went together with Ten Hipol one of my  staff and her parents owns a home stay business in the island. It was my first time  to experience a very long travel but everything was worth it.

How to get to Calayan Island

From Manila, you can ride the Florida bus from Sampaloc, Manila to Claveria, Cagayan for 850php. It is about 10-11 hour ride but the bus is bigger and has a comfort room. You can check the schedule at their website.

From Manila, you can take a plane to Tuguegarao airport then another van or bus ride to Claveria for php190. Travel time will take about 2-3 hours.

From Claveria, you need to ride a tricycle going to Tagat Lagoon Port. There are scheduled boat rides going to Calayan. Travel time is 5 hours.

You can also ride a plane to Tuguegarao and bus ride going to Appari, Cagayan. There are also scheduled boat rides from Appari to Calayan. Travel time is 6 hours. It is best to coordinate with the home stay owner in order to get the schedule of boat going to the island. You need plan accordingly because you might missed the boat ride or worst case, no schedule at all. We arrived at Tagat Lagoon Port around 5am and the boat left by 7:30am. It was another 5 hours boat ride from Claveria to Calayan.

Welcome to Calayan Island, Cagayan

Calayan (Ibanag language, meaning “where laya (ginger) abounded”) is a municipality in the province of  Cagayan, Philippines. The trip is really exhausting but if you think that you are headed towards a paradise in the north then all the waiting time will be compensated. Please take note that your destination is going to the most northern part of the Philippines, so patience is really important.

It is located in the Luzon Strait north of Luzon Island. The town is composed of four of the five major islands of the Babuyan Islands namely: Calayan, Camiguin, Dalupiri and Babuyan Island. Calayan Island is the largest of the Babuyan Islands. Fuga Island, the fifth island within the Babuyan Islands, is part of Aparri municipality.

Where to Stay in Calayan Island

Pagdagusan Homestay

Pagdagusan Homestay is owned and managed by Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Hipol. They offer home stay service together with meals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner for php1,500/pax per day. You can check their Facebook account to get more details or  you can call at (998) 510 0621.

From the beach port, you need to ride a tricycle and let the locals know that you will be staying at Pagdagusan. This was our lunch when we arrived at Calayan. Most of the food they offer are organic because Pagdagusan Homestay has their own rice field and  coconut plantation. So expect, 100% quality. They also have 3 wash areas,  so no waiting time if you wanted take a bath. Water is not an issue at Pagdagusan Homestay.

Places to visit in Calayan Island

  • Sibang Cove
  • Nagundungan Light House
  • Malangsi Cave
  • Babuyan Channel
  • Nagudungan Hills
  • Bataraw Falls

Our first itinerary when we arrived was to go to Sibang Cove. This will be my  first time to camp in a beach. Pagdagusan provided us sleeping mattresses so I was not worried at all because I did not have any tent.

Sibang Cove, Calayan.

The Sibang Cove is known for the many ancient burial grounds, and many artifacts unearthed here are in the National Museum. The municipal administration of the island is developing the cove as an eco-tourism destination.We rode a tricycle going to the entry point and trekked for about 3 kilometers. Expect some uphill and downhill and enjoy the virgin forest of the island.

The moment we arrived at the cove, I was really amazed of the powdered-like sand and beach was really clean.I was overwhelmed of its beauty and did not expect to be in a paradise. Its like as if you own the beach. The beach is very clean and suitable for camping. I enjoyed every moment while I was there.  For more details, you can check article about Sibang Cove, Calayan.

Dinner was served around 7pm. You do not need to worry because this part of the services of Pagdagusan Homestay.  The food services depends of what will be your itinerary. You just need to inform Tito Jimmy and they will do the arrangement. We stayed overnight at Sibang Cove and enjoyed beach. I woke up around  3am because the moon was so bright and it served as a light to the island. 

Nagundungan Hills

We woke up around 5am because we wanted to climb the hills of Nagundungan during sunrise and while its  not that hot to trek.  The hill is just few meters away from the Sibang Cove.  For details, you can check the article about Nagundungan Hills, Calayan.

We went back to Sibang Cove and breakfast was already served. Part of the service of the Pagdagusan Home Stay is to bring your food to which destination you preferred. We rented a boat for php1,500 for our day 2 itinerary. The boat was already waiting for us at the beach front going to Malangsi Cave.

We left Sibang Cove by 8am going to Malangsi Cave. It is located at the eastern part of Calayan towards Babuyan Channel.  Heading towards the cave are beautiful mountains of Calayan. You will be amazed of the rock formations and virgin forests.

Malangsi Cave

The water is very clear and cold. If you are non- swimmer, they will provide life jackets and goggles with no additional charges. I decided to discover the other side of the mountain and to my surprise it was already the Babuyan Channel.

Going there was bit challenging because of the rock formations but was worth it.  I did not imagine to be at the northern most part of the county and at the south china sea exploring the wonders of the Babuyan Channel. We left the place by 11am going to Bataraw Falls and to have lunch.

We had our lunch at the shores of Bataraw. Again, we had Calayan’s signature dish. Lobster overload. The boatmen also had a fish that was grilled the old school way. Pagdagusan Homestay already arranged our lunch for that day.  It was really convenient in our end because we don’t need to worry about our food.

Bataraw Falls

Like any other water falls, we enjoyed the cold spring after heat of the sun during the boat ride. We went home by 3pm because the waves are getting bigger. I asked the boatman if I can try a fast snorkeling. He was hesitant because it might be dangerous but of course, challenge accepted. I really had fun. I really don’t recommend this but I just wanted to try.  I also had a chance to help the locals to lift their boat towards the shore. The locals were also amazed of the things I did.

This was my last swim before sunset. I also had a chance to mingle with the locals and tried winnowing basket to remove rice chaffs. We ended the day full of wonderful experiences. We went home by 7pm and  all were excited what will be our dinner for that night.

My last night in Calayan was really amazing. As expected we had another sumptuous dinner and unlimited coconut juice. Pagdagusan Homestay was able to set a high expectation when it comes to the services they offer. Good food, clean amenities and warm accommodation from Tito Jimmy and Tita Len.   This was one of the most memorable trips I had so far and will surely go back by next year.

Contact Information

  • Jimmy Hipol – 09985100621

Travel Expenses : Update as of 2018

  • Manila to Claveria Bus Fare – Php 950 RT Php 1,900
  • Claveria to Calayan Boat Fare – Php600 RT Php 1,200
  • Boat for Island Hopping – Php 400 per head
  • Tricycle Ride – Php100 (good for sharing)
  • Pagdagusan Homestay – Php 1,500/ day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodation) 3D2N= Php 3,000
  • Environmental fee – Php240 (one time)

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 am – Travelled from Manila to Claveria (14 hours)
  • 4:30 am – 6: 00 am – Arrived at Tagat Lagoon and waited for the passenger boa
  • 6:00 am – 11:00 am – Travelled from Claveria to Calayan (5 hours
  • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – Lunch time at Pagdagusan Homestay
  • 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm – Trekked going to Sibang Cove
  • 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm – Swimming and photo ops at Sibang Cove
  • 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm – trekked to Nagundungan Hills then photo op
  • 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Set up camp at Sibang Cove then dinner served by Pagdagusan
  • 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Night swimming at Sibang Cove
  • 9:30 pm – 10:00 pm – Freshen up and preparation of sleeping beds
  • 10:15 pm – Light off

Day 2

  • 5:00 am – 5:30 am – Wake up and preparation for breakfast
  • 5: 30 am – 6: 30 am – Sunrise at Nagundungan Hills
  • 7:00 am – 8:00 am – Breakfast by Pagdagusan at Sibang Cove
  • 8:30 am – 10:00 am – Visited Malangsi Cave and Babuyan Channel
  • 10:30 am – 12:00 pm – Visited Bataraw Falls and had lunch served by Pagdagusan
  • 2:30 pm – 4: 00 pm – Departed Bataraw going back to town proper.
  • 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm – Visited Magsidel for sunset then interaction with locals
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Back at Pagdagusan Homestay
  • 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm – Dinner served by Pagdagusan
  • 10:00 pm – Lights off
  • 4:00 am – 5: 30 am – Woke up and prepared things then breakfast by Pagdagusan
  • 6:00 am – 12:00 pm – Departed from Calayan going to Appari, Cagayan