PARAGLIDING WORLD CUP 2015 COMES TO SOCCSKSARGEN

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 together with Air Sports Adventure Philippines (ASAP) and Sarangani Paraglide brings to the Philippines the World Cup tournament in paragliding accuracy this March 27-29, 2015.

Following the success of the first international paragliding accuracy championship last August 2014, SOCCSKSARGN once again hosts another yet bigger international paragliding competition, the paragliding accuracy Worlds Cup (PGAWC) 2015 series.

The first category 2 event will be held in the country. Running on 8 years, PGAWC circuit gathers the best athletes in paragliding accuracy discipline all over the world including China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Slovenia, UK, Bulgaria, Germany, USA, Australia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Romania, Macedonia, Japan, Russia, Hungary, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Taipei, Albania, and the Netherlands. Ideally, the series involves 3 hosting countries each for both the Asian and European regions.

13 countries has been formally registered for the PGAWC 2015, but the organizers are expecting more competitors from the different parts of the world.
More and more Safii Ranch, in Sitio Seguil, Barangay Tinoto, Maasim Sarangani is being recognized internationally as one of the most ideal flying site for paragliders.

No doubt, Safii Ranch runs the longest flying season in the country, with 300 days suitable for paragliding.
Aside from the scenic view of the most majestic bay of the South of the archipelago, paragliding pilots have already affirmed that the site is a haven for flyers.

PARAGLIDING

The technical definition of paragliding according to wikipedia is the 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.
Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skilful exploitation of sources of lift, the pilot may gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a few thousand meters.
Simply, it is defying gravity. See paragliders fly, jumping off from a cliff using a parachute-like umbrella and landing to the ground obecting that “crashing” idea is a sight to see that one would irresistibly dare to try.

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Rendell “Buko” Raymundo, founder of South East Asian Paragliding Association (SEAPA) and events director for IPAC 2014, “Buko” to his friends and colleagues, would be often seen in Sarangani flying with the local pilots in the province or in the region.
The SEA Game gold medalist is a testifier of Safii ranch’s good flying winds, considering that he has travelled all over the world for airsports, the proud pinoy chooses Philippines’ SOCCSKSARGEN as his and his fellow international pilots for flying.
Paragliding is a type of airposrts that is recognized worldwide and governed by the Federation Aeronautique International (FAI), a World Air Sports federation.
Paragliding was formally established in the Philippines by ASAP in 2005. ASAP is based in Manila, who works with the best athletes worldwide and highly skilled team of paragliding instructors from Europe.
Breaking away from the usual sports that we have in the country, Philippines now can align itself with other countries in terms of airsports as a new genre.

SPORTS TOURISM

The primary objective of the project IPAC 2014 held in Safii ranch is to benchmark Air Sports Tourism in the Philippines. An initiative that highlights Visit Philippines 2015 campaign of the DOT, it means to strengthen the country’s global position in eco-tourism, while encouraging the realization of responsible growth in the country, vis-à-vis paragliding international.
With the ASEAN Economic Integration to be fully implemented in 2015, housing, offices and institutions are expected to put up their structures, or possibly expand their existing ones in the coming years. ASAP and DOT 12 believes that “for the sport to further develop in our country, it is crucial that the right conditions for paragliding are maintained, upheld, and safe guarded. Thus, it is also of great importance that efforts are placed in making more people understand the potential of paragliding in the Philippines, to preserve the natural environments suitable for free-flying.”
SOCCSKSARGEN’s initiative to integrate paragliding as a socio-cultural-trade stimulation of the 12th paradise (region’s brand name) opens the region to a wider and more divers inbound tourist market. Hosting the PGAWC 2015 – being an effect of the IPAC 2014 – offers the next step in growing, sustaining and retaining this international market base. It also aims to crack the local tourist market through community involvements, collaborations and trade, identifications, and associations.

DOT 12 Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera’s words after the IPAC 2014 was “we aim for the World Cup on 2015” with a big grin, the teams DOT 12 and ASAP really did their best to win the bid. For Dillera, IPAC 2014 is going nowhere but World Cup, “if we make a vision, we make sure to target it, it can’t be something that is easily attained, otherwise it is no longer a good vision,” she always states in all of her subordinates and tourism stakeholders.
Since the event in August, the international and local paragliding pilots have become more present in the Sarangani Province. Tandem flights have grown 4 times from local tourists. Visiting pilots are as well increasing exponentially, exploring the culture and sites. Standardizing local and national regulations is becoming more and more crucial, in order to deliver the benefits of paragliding among various industry and community touch-points in Region 12.
Hosting PGAWC 2015 intends to sustain inter-organizational relationship instigated by IPAC 2014, while developing new ones. Involving emerging industries and agencies will depend on the value proposition presented by the initiative. Sustained marketing and communications campaign is vital in building a lasting relational impact that is beneficial to both institutionalizing the sport and developing the Region’s eco-tourism market. (ASG/DOT 12)

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