Who didn’t dream of flying as a kid? Almost everyone I know once tied a towel to his back, pretended it was the cape of some superhero and jumped off some fence or roof in a split second make believe of flight. As kids, we we wanted to soar through the air, like Superman, Peter Pan or the child warrior Atreyu on his luck dragon Falcor. Those were great times, weren’t they?
But somewhere along the way, age and the reality of adult concerns got in the way of dreams and imagination. We gave up fantasies of taking to the air in favor of a car, regular visits to the mall, flat screen TVs and the latest gadgets.
Fortunately for me, I am getting to relive this childhood dream thanks to some odd luck and an even odder Japanese dude.
After covering the Spyder Downhill Cup on Antenna Hill last January, I asked Trixx, one of my friends who took part in the event, if I could use some of his photos. Besides pics of riders attacking the infamous downhill track, there were also several pictures of a guy paragliding over the Angono Binangonan hills.
After publishing that blog post, the paragliding Japanese dude commented on the article that he actually wanted to start a flying club in Rizal province. And that’s how I got in touch with Sky Habu.
Since June, I’ve only done my second training session in paragliding. Apparently flying is not as easy as jumping off a slope and letting the wind lift you up. It requires a lot of patience while waiting for the right window to open up, a strong breeze that will be enough to fill the parachute and provide lift.
On my first session, there was a lot of downtime spent just waiting for wind. I practiced opening the glider to the wind, and controlling its direction with light tugs. On my second session, I was finally able to get some airtime. The breeze was a lot stronger then, and I was much more confident about the controls. I was perhaps fifteen feet in the air, and trying to gently land when I lost control and crashed smack into a boulder. Thankfully the thick grass on the base of the rock cushioned my fall.
Learning how to paraglide is not as easy as learning how to ride a bike. But those few seconds of flight were fantastic, and I am definitely going into this sport for the long haul. Sky Habu said it would take perhaps up to 15 sessions to actually be able to fly. Sensei Habu is in Japan now, but when he comes back in Spetember, I’m definitely going flying again.
Travel Up has written a much more expansive article on our paragliding trips in the Angono-Binangonan hills. Check out her post 🙂