Nueva Vizcaya rarely makes it on the list of must-visit places in Luzon. The province, in fact, offers several low- to high-adrenaline activities. There is swimming in Imugan Falls, visiting the historic Dalton Pass as well as 18th century churches, mountain climbing in Mt Ugu and spelunking in multi-chambered caving systems such as the popular Capisaan Cave.
Now you can also include paragliding in the list of must-dos in the land-locked province of Nueva Vizcaya, a 4.5-hour drive from Clark International Airport. This summer, many locals have been trooping to the quiet town of Ambaguio and seeing their beloved province from a whole new perspective.
“The wind conditions are best in this region,” says licensed paragliding pilot Violet Lucasi, who also co-founded the International Flying Education Center. “We have stable winds, good thermals, amazing take-off ridges and lots of landing options.” In 2019, the Center established Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding, a first not only in the region but in the entire Cagayan Valley.
The IFEC fly site is in Barangay Tiblac in Ambaguio, a 30-minute drive from the province’s capital town of Bayombong. Ambaguio is known to locals for its coffee and vegetable plantations. To avid mountaineers, it is the gateway to Mount Pulag, where the view from the summit is one of the best in the country as the entire province is bound by three stunning mountain ranges: Sierra Madre in the east, Cordillera in the west and Caraballo in the south.
Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding’s flights run around 10 to 15 minutes, though they can run up to 20 minutes depending on the wind condition. While gliding around 430 to 1,200 meters above sea level, passengers can enjoy an aerial view of coffee farms, rice fields, vegetable gardens and lush forests.
Flights cost between Php2,400 and Php3,500, depending on the day (it is more expensive on weekends) and the number of fliers per group. There are also options to rent a Go Pro and have videos taken. Guests will be accompanied by licensed pilots, most of whom have trained with World Air Sports Federation-member countries. “We take safety very seriously,” Lucasi says.
Before the scheduled date of flying, passengers are sent pre-flight instructions. On the day itself, they have to attend orientation and simulation classes. Covid-19 safety protocols are also strictly observed with pilots wearing masks, even while flying.
For thrill-seekers and trained pilots, an additional Php 500 upgrades them to the VIP package which allows them to maneuver the wings themselves, perform spirals as well as 360 degree turns on air. Overnight camping is also possible.
Paragliding has taken the province by storm and Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding had been fully booked for months. Because of the seasonal change in wind conditions, activities in Ambaguio have been put on pause from this month onwards and will resume in October.
In the meantime, new fly site for June to September will be announced soon on Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding‘s Facebook page.