by Julia Escaño
There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of extreme sports. Once you get a taste of it, it’s something you end up looking for again and again. However, people have this notion that extreme sports require advanced skills and are hard to come by, which is why they don’t bother pursuing it at all. While sports like rock climbing need hours of training, others such as skydiving need only the presence of a licensed individual. All you have to do is show up, bring a healthy dose of courage, and go for it.
So what are you waiting for? Check out the best spots in the Philippines for extreme sports and give yourself a thrill you will never forget.
Bungee-swing: Danao, Bohol
If you’re looking for a few seconds of pure exhilaration (or sheer terror) and a lifetime’s worth of bragging rights, bungee jumping is probably for you. Unfortunately the Philippines has yet to have a full-on bungee jump like the ones in Macau or Abu Dhabi. What we do have though may just be better. The bungee jump/canyon swing offered by E.A.T. Danao, aptly called The Plunge, includes a 75-meter drop from a 200-meter high platform sitting over a scenic gorge. You can choose to free-fall upright or head-first, because why not. And instead of just bobbing up and down after you drop, you also get to swing right over the canopy. This way, not only do you get to bask in the view, but also in your accomplishment.
Contact: (+63) 917-3021700, (+63) 999-9537590
Sky-diving: Bantayan Island, Cebu
Bantayan Island, with its pristine turquoise waters and powder-white sand beaches, is one of the most stunning landscapes in the Philippines. Now imagine seeing that from the sky as you circle around it in a parachute. With Skydive Greater Cebu Skydiving Center, all it takes is learning safety procedures and skydiving basics, strapping onto an instructor for a tandem dive, bracing yourself and, jumping. Sounds simple enough, right? (It’s the stepping off the plane that’s the hard part!) Bigger thrill seekers can also come here and get a solo skydiving license from the center’s highly experienced professional instructors.
Contact: (+63) 923-8751689
Paragliding: Carmona, Cavite
If you like birds-eye-views but hate that uncomfortable lurch in your stomach when you drop, you might just find the perfect balance with paragliding. Just like skydiving, you are also attached to a canopy. But instead of doing a few seconds of freefall, you run until you catch the wind and get a lift. It’s highly dependent on wind conditions, which means that paragliding isn’t necessarily as easy as showing up. Weather has to be on your side as well. Air Sports Adventure offer several paragliding courses, from tandem paragliding for those looking to quench their curiosity, to advanced classes where more experienced pilots learn about flight dynamics and meteorology.
Contact: (+63) 917-8167820, (+63) 922-8867774
Ultralight-flying: Magalang, Pampanga
Of all the air sports on this list, flying an ultralight probably gives the best feeling of security. An ultralight is a small plane, usually open, and usually for two people. It looks more like a hang-glider with an engine than an actual plane, really. And this is what makes it special. Its size and capability means you can have some real fun with it: changing heights, controlling the direction you’re going, maybe even doing dips if conditions permit. More maneuverability means more possibilities, which translate to more fun! The Angeles City Flying Club offers trial instructional flights with qualified instructors, or you can just sit back and enjoy the view.
Contact: (+63) 916-4568588, (+63) 918-920303
Mud-karting: Puerto Galera, Mindoro
Do you have a need for speed? Do you like to get down and dirty once in a while? Kill two birds with one stone by mud-karting in Puerto Galera. X-treme Sports Philippines Adventure Park has a newly-extended track where you can rev up their 150cc, brightly-colored off-road buggies. It’s designed to make sharp turns, bumps, and potholes extra exciting while the soft track and large puddles are guaranteed to get you drenched. The speed, the dirt, and the heart-pumping action are a tried and tested equation for successful extreme sports that’ll leave you on a high.
Contact: (+63) 932-8848790, (+63) 917-5528114
Rock climbing: Atimonan, Quezon
Many shy away from rock climbing because of the assumption that it takes years of practicing on walls before you can actually try it. This is false. The best way to learn rock climbing is by, well, climbing actual rock faces. Atimonan, Quezon is one of the best places for this thanks to the variety of routes available here. The Tinandog Wall is especially ideal for beginners and first-timers alike, while also offering alternative routes for more experienced climbers.
Locals who know the rocks by heart serve as guides and instructors, adding another level of safety for anxious rookies. There are camp grounds nearby and basic facilities for those who want to make more than a day of the experience. Complete gear is also provided, so all you have to do is show up to conquer your fears. And the best part, climbers get to help the small community maintaining the area by giving them a livelihood. Check out Climb Philippines’ outline on how best to DIY a trip to the famous site.
Contact: Noel Suministrado, guide – (+63) 921-3368121
Sand boarding: Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Sand boarding requires no safety equipment, doesn’t involve great heights, and doesn’t really have death-defying speeds. As extreme sports go it’s pretty vanilla, and yet it still gives boarders a pretty great rush and a high that can last for hours. Those looking for a thrill, without the mind-numbing fear it can sometimes involve, should try sand boarding in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It has 88 square kilometers of desert, covered in sand dunes waiting to be explored. Visitors can hire a 4×4 at the sand dunes, which will also give them a fun ride. Drivers usually double as guides and instructors. As of January of this year, heavier regulations were imposed on the 4×4’s, so make sure to get one that’s registered to ensure safety and a positive experience. Ilocos Sand Adventures is a popular company that offers sand boarding packages, as well as other tour packages around the province.
Contact: (+63) 908-8853669, (+63) 910-9474129, (+63) 915-4561133
Canyoneering: Cagayan de Oro
Get a rush, a full-body workout, and the experience of a lifetime when rappelling down waterfalls, swimming between gorges, and plunging into mountain pools. Canyoneering on its own may still be an underrated sport, but the thrill it gives is certainly something to be reckoned with. First-timers need not fret either, since training or previous experience is not required to enjoy canyoneering. Mapawa Nature Park in Cagayan de Oro is perfect for both newbies and old hands, thanks to the varying levels of difficulty and the range of activities throughout the trek. With the 20-foot drops and the 60-foot rappels, the only thing really required in this extreme sport is guts.
Contact: (088) 850-2580, (+63) 917-7067206
White Water Rafting: Chico River, Kalinga
If you’re more into the rush of sweeping currents and whirlpools, exactly that awaits you in Chico River, Kalinga. Class 3 and 4 rapids along its Ullalim route are perfect for beginners who just want to get their adrenaline pumping. The Mataguan route on the other hand gets up to Class 5 rapids for the experienced, the hardcore, or the fearless. White water rafting in Chico River could get so intense that during the rainy season, significant portions develop Class 6 rapids, which basically means they’re impassable. Thrills and dangers aside though, rafting through this river is an epic experience. Rafting with a reputable company like Chico River Quest also assures the safety and quality of the adventure.
Contact: (+63) 917-8043468, (+63) 917-7502913
Mountain Climbing: Knife Edge Trilogy
Unlike the other extreme sports on this list, this last one doesn’t only require guts and determination – it requires training and dedication as well. The Knife Edge is a series of three mountains that are reputed to be the most difficult in the country. Mt. Guiting-guiting in Romblon, Mt. Halcon in Mindoro, and Mt. Mantalingajan in Palawan may not have the highest peaks or the longest ridges, but they have the most challenging ascents. Mt. Halcon, for instance, has already claimed the lives of two mountaineers over the years. Volatile weather conditions, narrow crests, sharp boulders, and precipitous drops define the three mountains. Ancient mythology and folklore amidst unique flora and fauna also add to the character of the climb.
Careful planning and conscientious preparation are necessary for successful climbs, on top of luck with weather and other environmental conditions. A minimum of 3 days is the average time to complete each mountain, for climbers with a lot of stamina. Otherwise, 4-5 days allow a more comfortable pace. If you’re a mountaineer who thinks they’re ready for bigger challenges, check out these detailed guides by Pinoy Mountaineer on Mt. Guiting-guiting, Mt. Halcon, and Mt. Mantalingajan to see just what you’ll be getting yourself into.