They never expect it to come sooner.
But next year, the Philippines will host one of the 6 international legs of Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC) with Sarangani serving as site of the growing international aerial sports.
Sarangani earlier hosted the first Philippine International Paragliding Accuracy Competition in October in which Taiwan’s Luis Liu of Taiwan came from behind to narrowly edge Yoshiki Oka of Japan and capture the individual title.
Department of Tourism regional director Nelly Nita Dillera said they welcome the decision of PGAWC to award the Philippines as host of one of the World Cup legs.
“This only proves that our paragliding site is world-class. We are very excited to host the World Cup,” Dillera said.
Dillera said the event will be held on March 27 to 29 next and wills serve as the opening leg of the 2015 World Cup.
She added that they will enroll the international competition in the DOT’s ‘Visit Philippines 2015’ tourism campaign.
“At least 30 countries will be represented in the event. The number could swell into 50,” according to the DOT regional director.
ASAP however has lower figures in the possible number of country participants – from a low of 13 to a high of 15 countries.
Best fly site in the country
With 300 days of flying opportunities throughout the year, Sarangani is becoming a popular destination for paraglide pilots and enthusiasts.
“Wind consistency and directions are major factors in considering the fly site,” Randell Raymundo said.
Raymundo is the president of Air Sports Adventure Philippines (ASAP) which organized the 2st Philippine IPAC event October.
He described the fly site in Barangay Siguil in Maasim as “almost perfect.”
Raymundo earlier said teh Philippines could host a World Cup event in 2016 but the recent decision of PGAWC will boost the standing of the Philippines as premier paragliding destination.
The takeoff site is located in a mountain top some 1,000 meters above sea level offering a full picturesque view of Sarangani Bay with a wide but tricky landing site some 700 meters below.(Organizers has correct the heights – they are 1,000 and 700 feet respectively)
International pilots who joined the October IPAC event said the flying course is so far the best in the Philippines and could rival other paragliding sites in the world.
Luke Armbreuster from the US who was the tournament’s safety officer said the fly site is one of the best he has seen in the country.
“The landing area is a little bit tricky because of the unpredictable wind direction but it is okay,” the American said.
Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon who supported the IPAC event said next year’s World Cup leg will again put the province in the international map as one of Mindanao’s best tourism destinations.