Paragliding in Sta. Leopoldina

 

What's it like to paraglide?


After my successful Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro, I was up for yet another awesome adventure!

Actually, when I did hang gliding, I saw paragliders in the same area. So I made a mental note that I will try it at some point.

The some point has come, when my friend from work, Sheila asked us, if there was anyone interested to join her for paragliding on a weekend.

Without battling an eyelash, I presented myself. Apparently, she found this guy from our city, that if you want to do or learn paragliding, he's the go-to-person. But we didn't want to learn, we just wanted to do it, one time- big time!

Pedro, that's his name, arranged a pick-up point and time for me and Sheila, by the Camburi beach. The place we went to, was a small town called Sta. Leopoldina, which is an hour away from Vitoria.

What I learned from Pedro during our one hour drive was, he has been flying for about 15 years, that paragliding ultimately became his passion and source of income. 

One day, he landed on a huge, empty space of land, that his mind bubble immediately told him, "This is the perfect place to build a house." (In Portuguese, of course.) 

And he did! We stayed at that house for a night and we woke up to the most beautiful sunrise view I've not seen for awhile. 

I love what he did on the place! He planted anything and everything edible-- from spices, fruits, and vegetables! It is my dream to have a similar place like his, where I can literally cook what I can pick from my backyard or even front yard!

That morning, we went out of the house at 9AM and he drove us to the take-off point. But just like hang gliding, this activity also depends on the amount and current of the wind. We waited until early afternoon like almost 3PM to finally do it. 

Again, the waiting was worth it because of the view and the experience. Thank goodness, it was a nice sunny day, too.

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How's paragliding? The more I think of it now, the more that it is similar to hang gliding. The only thing is that, we're flying on a parachute and I'm sitting in front of my instructor.

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It had a lot of safety harness around my body-- to make sure that no broken ribs will happen, just in case for a wrong landing. It also somehow made the flight a bit more comfortable especially we were up there for half an hour.

The parachute being used was so gigantic that assembling it could take another 10-15 minutes.

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The flight was longer than I did hang gliding, which was only 7 minutes. With paragliding it was almost 30 minutes of flying and feeling so awesome on the air. I love that it's more longer up there and you can totally control the flying directions.

Paragliding can be a good hobby or something you can train to do. But just like any activity such as this, you need to invest for all the materials, equipment, and training sessions. 

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It was really an awesome feeling!


And I don't mind doing it again. And again. And again. Maybe on another city or location.

The whole thing cost for R$150.00 for the single flight but without pictures or videos. You can compare prices or the kind of flight you want to do from Pedro's website.


Have you tried or would you like to try paragliding?

Bungee Jumping in Shidu County

 

What's it like to bungee jump?


I have never taught of myself as "adventurous" and daring. Yet, somehow I ended up being one. 

Bungee jumping had always been on my #Bucketlist. The only condition I gave myself to be able to do this, was to do it with friends. No excuses.

I'm so glad and happy that I was able to convince not only one, not only two... but SEVEN FRIENDS! I didn't know I have strong convincing powers either! ;)

I came across an article about a bungee jumping site in Shidu county, on the far southwestern of Beijing. So I took it as the perfect place to do it while living on the mainland.


Wikipedia.com: Shidu is known for the surrounding karst landscape, the largest in northern China, that is created by the Juma River cutting through the Taihang Mountain. The elevation of Shidu varies from 84.2 to 1,210.8 meters (276 to 3,972 ft) above the sea level. 


Because we are such a large group, we rented a van that was good for our ten-persons group. Our friends came all the way from Xian, China-- where the Terracotta Warriors are and where they were based. It was the best way to introduce an adventure in Beijing on their very first visit! Oh what fun!

Since it was a holiday week in China, we expected throngs of vacationers, but fortunately this spot is not too famous for the locals.

The park is beautiful with plenty of activities to do around, like horseback riding, kayaking, or bamboo boat sailing. Of course, we dared the extreme! The take off point of our jump was the 55-meters high flat form and to get there was to take a cable ride.

When we got there, we were told to do proper procedures of signing up our names, nationalities, and ages. They briefly checked each of us for our weight and asked questions about our health conditions. 

We were also given a certificate that says about what an achievement it was to bungee jump on that place and how brave we were to trust them!

The only white guy in our group has actually done bungee jumping on his home country of Canada. So we asked him for some tips that he only summarized to this context: "Just shout at the top of your lungs and enjoy the moment!" Sure thing! haha

While we were waiting at the flat form, he was shocked to see that they only put one harness to both our feet and secured it with a clear tape! A freakin' tape! Ahmmm, how secured are we on that?!? 

Yet, we had no choice to chicken-out now. Although there was a couple of men, that backed out and they looked pale for just standing on the flat form. Because we were braver than them, we might as well do it, regardless the security and safety issues. Welcome to China, dude!

The funny thing was that, there's a man on the microphone that was broadcasted to the whole place, for the people to hear. And he would as each and every jumper before they risk their lives, if what they want to say?! Waaaa! 

Finally, it was my turn, I was the last one on our group to jump. Yeah, thanks friendships! I was literally nervous and my nerves were literally shaking. The thing is, the anticipation was the hardest part. Not knowing what it will be like, was really killing. I did not feel excited, at all!!! Which made me question my very reason why I wanted to do this, on the first place.

Then the countdown begun....3...2...1!!! The guy who was holding me, pushed me a little, and then the reality kicked in that I'm bouncing, 55 meters high on mid-air! That I didn't even tell my family back home that I was doing it that day. I mean, what if it would've have turned out bad??


I screamed at the top of my lungs and just really enjoyed the moment!!!


I honestly did enjoy it while I was floating mid-air. I was really proud of myself that I was able to conquer this biggest fear of the huge unknown. It was spontaneity, without a doubt!

It was like a 5 minutes of back-and-forth of body swinging. Some time in between, I was just telling myself, "Dinah, if you were able to do it, what else can you NOT do?" It was a liberating feeling.

Then a guy on a small boat, with a long bamboo stick came to my side. Apparently, he was there to help me get out from my not-so-safe-harness-secured-by-clear-tapes. I don't know how he managed to get me out in less than a minute.

Sure it was the most scariest adventure I did so far, but it was the most liberating and fulfilling thing I did to conquer a fear to-- almost everything in my life. I was heartbroken at that time, and for some strange reasons, it made me whole again.

I think, having to prove myself that I was brave enough to do this, I was like, "Screw you, asshole for not believing in me. I did this! I will not allow anyone to break my spirit again."


Have you tried or would you like to try bunjee jumping?

Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro

 

What is it like to hang glide in Rio de Janeiro?


It must have been the movie, Rio that I convinced myself of doing it one day.

Perhaps my love for adventure was another factor as well. It's that feeling of living on the edge. The satisfying, liberating, and fulfilling adrenaline of being in the moment. It became a #bucketlist, so to speak.

Living in Brazil made this easier to achieve. I've done a lot of research and followed some travel bloggers who have done this in Rio de Janeiro, and finding a right time was a big part of the equation.

Rio Carnaval week was the perfect time. Thankfully, working on a school calendar made the trip quite easy to plan, including a room for this spontaneity.

I ended up signing with Hang Gliding Rio de Janeiro. We made exchanges through facebook and then whatsapp. They were very organized and efficient. They arranged the pick-up and drop-off as well, which was part of the R$590.00 fee (no pics and videos) or R$740.00 (including pics and videos).

We arranged the pick up point at my hotel, Hotel Ingles at 12:00 PM and the car driver arrived on the dot. We also picked up another guy at another location, and together we reached our take-off point.

The Hang Gliding place was close to Leblon beach, almost na hour away from the city center of Rio.


Wikipedia.com: Hang Gliding is na air sport or recreational activity in which a pilot flies a light, non-motorized foot-launched heavier-than-air aircraft called a hang glider. 


What I didn't know about hang gliding was--- flying depends on the direction and the current of the wind. We literally waited for four hours for the freakin' wind to come to our direction! Not to mention that there were other hang gliders from other companies that were lined up before us.

Few minutes before our flight, my instructor-- Meu, practiced with me on how to take off. As he said, we need to coordinate our running pace/running feet together. It was a breeze on my first try. (Maybe I can do this as a pro! haha) Basically, just run as fast as you can while looking ahead, until your feet is flying mid-air.

The wait was so worth it! I had the best seven minutes of my life--- flying bird-like, through windy condition, overlooking the sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro, viewing the contrast of high-rise buildings and the favela communities from a distant, and appreciating the green scenery on my horizon.


It was freaking awesome!!!


I think whether you're afraid of heights or doing something crazy--- hang gliding is very doable for your very scared soul!

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#dinhspinay tips:

  1. Don't bring a bag or any heavy belongings. Try to wear a wallet belt if you're just bringing your phone and some cash.

  2. Wear comfy shoes or sneakers. You can wear shorts but not too short. ;)

  3. Be prepared to wait at the starting point for hours! So don't do other plans because you will end up doing this as a whole day activity.

  4. If you opted for the package fee with pics and videos, bring your own USB. The company give their copies on a dvd. It was a bit of a hassle for me to transfer their files. So make sure you bring your own USB disk, or just bring your GoPro cam, they don't mind having you filming your own flight.


Have you tried or would you like to try hang gliding?

Surfing in Siargao

 

What is it like to surf?


To say that Siargao is beautiful is an understatement.

Really.

If Mother Nature is the most generous kind, then she has given Siargao the privilege of all her beauty.

If I have one wish for my country, it really is about having to preserve the nature around us.

Living in (polluted & smoggy) Beijing, most of my adult life, made me realize how lucky we are as Filipinos to be spoiled by clear blue skies, sunny weather, magnificent sunrise and sunset, gazillions of stars, romantic moonlight, and paradise beaches.

Seriously, we are spoiled.

That’s why it pains me to see that privileged Filipinos would still go to Thailand or other countries to swim.

Punyeta, we have 7,107 islands to choose from! 

I also wish that these marvelous islands will stay pristine. I don't mind cottage resorts, but please, NO to high rise buildings and five star hotels & restaurants! They don't blend well. Period.

And that’s one thing I’d like about Siargao. The local people are still there and offering what they only can provide to its tourists.

I learned that over the years, the land value has increased in ten folds and that’s given because Siargao has become one of the must-see destinations for Westerners especially those who love surfing.

I love that the Siargaonon(?) go about their daily lives without really mindful of what their surrounding can offer. Or maybe, we came there during the off season month. But then again, it's visible on how simple and ordinary the place is, yet the hidden treasure is really for you to discover!

If you plan to visit Siargao, there are reasonable places to stay. A single bed cottage can cost from Php 200-600 a night. Which means its no five star treatment but good enough (at least for my third world taste), then again, you're there...


TO SEE THE PLACE AND EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF.


Take my advice: Keep it simple but make the BEST memories you’ll ever have. (This is brought to you by the people you’ll meet, the adventures you will take, and the inspiring values you will learn.)


So once in Siargao, you have to surf in Siargao!


If you know me better, you’ll learn that I’m up for an adventure such as this.

Heck, my parents are now embracing that wild side of their daughter. Haha. But it took me sometime to earn their full trust about the choices I make with my so called ‘dare and be spontaneous’ kind of thing.

Tatay is already in full support as he now tags along to be my official photographer! Lol!

Since Siargao is among the best surfing places in the world, you will surely meet a lot of surfers in the island. It's like their way of life. And if only, I have multi-millions worth of money, I'd be spending most of my time doing the same thing--- bumming!

You can book and arrange surfing lessons in your resort. They all have contacts to some of the good surfing teachers around island. It’s not cheap though. It’s Php 1,000 per one hour of lesson but surfing board is already provided. We also paid Php 100 for our habal-habal fare as they picked and dropped us off from our resort.

The best part of the day to learn how to surf is early morning, like around 6-7 am (just like we did) or around 4:30-5:30 PM.

As a beginner, our instructor took us to the infamous area for surfing—Cloud 9. And if you’re a veteran surfer go straight to Tuason Point just 2km north of General Luna (better known to locals as GL), which is closer to Dapa, the pier of Siargao. 

Learning how to surf is very simple. Yet, you need to compose your mind, body balance, and speed stand.

Just like learning how to ride a bike, you need to fall countless of times before you can balance yourself and get on with the whole adrenaline rush of it!

From surfing.about.comLie on your chest, your head up, looking ahead. Put your hands on the board beside your shoulders palms down like you were going to do a push up. Push your upper body up while at the same time you sweep your feet under you, laying them on the stringer, the line down the middle of the board, so your weight is centered along the stringer. 

When you come up, remember to keep low. If you stand erect you will fall. Assume a position of a sumo wrestler. Press your feet shoulder width apart and " grip the board in your feet", opposite of the way you would press your thighs together on a horse. Have your hands a bit higher than your waist and just in view of your vision. Always look up! If you look at your feet, you will fall down.


I loved it!!!


And for someone like me, who lacks body coordination skills, being able to get up and stand on the surf board was such a BIG achievement!!! I'm so proud of myself.

FYI: I was not scared! Although you can't really see my face.

But in the end, I enjoyed it! And if only I could do it more often as I could...


Have you guys tried surfing? What's your adventure for this year?


Rock Climbing in Yangshuo

 

Do you want to climb up across natural rock formations?


Yangshuo is 40 minutes by public bus from Xingping county, where the B&B was located.

After a few days in the old town, I was up for a new adventure and perhaps I was looking for some adrenaline rush after all.

Many research later, the best adventure to do in Yangshuo is rock climbing.

The Yangshuo region has numerous locations for climbing, most easily accessible by bicycle, public bus, or taxi-van.

The most famous of these crags is Moon Hill with several 5.13 graded lines. Other crags of note include Low Mountain, Twin Gates, Baby Frog, The Egg, Bamboo Grove, and Wine Bottle Cliff.

I signed up for Black Rock Climbing...they're very cool and nice.

Picked me up at the bus terminal, provided my rock climbing gears, gave me water, and starved me (but totally my fault)---all for the price of 220rmb (half day).

You see, I've done a lot of adventures already, and perhaps I'm closer to doing something extreme...someday.

So I'm slowly gearing myself towards that.

And rock climbing was totally new to me!

Good thing, a seven year old girl was at the premises to boast my scared soul and body. ;) 

So if she can do it...why can't I?!

And boy, I had an awesome time!!!

Look at my HAPPY, HAPPY face! :)


Rock climbing needs a lot of body coordination, focus, and self-decision making. So at times, you really need to listen to your guts whether the next move is the best move.

On my part, I've just been listening to my yelling instructor. haha. I guess the closest analogy I can give you is that, think of yourself as Spiderman-- saving the world! :D


After the climb, I decided to see Yangshuo and what it has to offer me...

I went for lunch at this cafe and treated myself to some steak. Hey a girl like me had to eat some meat!

I love how you can get around in Yangshuo by foot, by bike, and by motorbike. I suggest our motorists in the Philippines should put up a shield like this in their habal-habals.


If you're planning a trip sometime, in this part of the mainland...


 

Have you tried or would you like to try rock climbing?

Diving in Malapascua

 

Are you curious as to what the underwater world looks like?


It has been my life long "secret" desire to learn how to dive. But since no one in my immediate family has done this, I thought I'll never will.

As I've said earlier, I'm no good swimmer. And I have water trauma, too. But my very adventurous side can't stop me from doing so. I'm not sure when I could do it. All I know was, I needed a break from my very monotonous life.


I needed to be near a body of water. I needed to breathe.
I needed to let go of some things...

With the help of some divine intervention, I found a few websites and the next thing I knew, I was booking flights, resort room, and signing up myself for the course. Now that's what I called, spontaneous living! haha

So thanks to this blog: Matt-Gibson.org, I came to know about Fun and Sun Dive!

True enough, Malapascua has lots of dive shops to chose from but Fun and Sun has the friendliest instructors in the island (at local pa!). Even the resort owner where I stayed, Mike said the same things about my choice of diving shop.

The course fee was Php 14,000.00 including the course materials and the use of diving gêars/materials. Rumor has it, they're the cheapest in the island.

Coincidentally, I was given Mike as my instructor. He's born and raised in Cebu City but came to Malapascua to learn how to dive, and eventually fell in love with the island (as most of us did) and never left!

I took the Open Dive Course-- for beginners so to speak. It takes three-four days to finish the course including the dive. For the first two days, I was literally reading books and watching videos. The whole time I was doing this, I was bored!!! Haha. I was itchy, and excited, and can't wait to be underwater!

It was on my second day, late afternoon, after having been instructed the important basic skills in diving, in a confined water, when my instructor decided that I was ready to see the underwater world! And boy, it was the excitement that was killing me! 

I can't fathom enough how I felt at that moment. All I know that the realization of finally being to do it was beyond pure bliss! I never once felt scared! Really.

The corals, the fishes, the water plants were all remarkably beautiful in my eyes. I thank GOD for being awesome and wonderful to have made such a marvelous creation.


I was changed. I was freed. I was healed.


That is why, if you'll be given a chance to do something as amazing as as awesome as like this-- JUST DO IT! There is never a perfect time.


You just know. No buts. No ifs. Just embrace it.

Malapascua is a haven place for divers who wanted to be up-close with some thresher sharks. I was asked if I wanted to but I kindly declined. Only because, we were to leave the dive shop at 2am and see the sharks at 3am. Ahmmmm, I think I could live my life without them...for awhile. ;)


Have you tried or would you like to try scuba diving?