WANDERLUST| Sarangani hosts Philippine leg of paragliding world cup

IN LESS than five years since its introduction as a new extreme sport in Maasim, Sarangani, paragliding has now placed Mindanao in the aerial sports map as it hosted the Philippine leg of the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup 2015 from March 27 to 29.

During the opening ceremonies last March 27, event director and president of Air Sports Association of the Philippines Randell “Buko” Raymundo welcomed the paragliding pilots from sixteen countries and guests from the government and private sectors.

“Today is the realization of our dream after successfully hosting last year’s event,” he said, referring to the 1st International Paragliding Accuracy Competition, which Sarangani also hosted in 2014.

The Philippines is the first venue of Paragliding Accuracy World Cup series this year. The competition will soon move to Malaysia in May, Serbia in June, Germany in September, China in October and Bulgaria in November.

“We are here to renew our commitment to make Sarangani the paragliding capital of the Philippines, and soon the paragliding center of Asia,” avowed Arturo Boncato, Jr., Department of Tourism’s assistant secretary for tourism regulation coordination and resource generation.

He also declared the opening salvo as a day of hospitality and sportsmanship and a celebration of victory and peace as it presented Mindanao in a more positive light to the international paragliding participants. Boncato also congratulated the municipality of Maasim for leading the way in hosting the first international event in Mindanao this year.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism Xll regional director Nelly Nita Dillera expressed her delight that the region is hoting such event with global mileage.

“This only proves that in Maasim, we truly have world-class paragliding site. Aside from the participants, we are expecting more paragliding enthusiasts and tourists to witness the event this weekend,” she said to this writer.

Dillera added that the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup 2015 is part of the calendar of the DOT’s Visit Philippines 2015 tourism campaign.

Aside from the paragliding competition, a mountaineering forum, kiddie kite making and flying competition, kite for peace, photo contest and fun games were also held were also held at the venue over the weekend as side events.

Safi Ranch 1, the paragliding site located in the coastal sitio of Seguil, Barangay Tinoto, is a 30-minute drive from General Santos City. Overlooking Sarangani Bay, it is about 950 feet above sea level, making it a perfect point for paragliding, with vast ridges and cliffs needed for the foot launch. Safi Ranch also prides itself in having the longest flying season in the country with 300 days suitable for paragliding.

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