Sunday, August 31, 2014

Philippine Paragliding Team

Paragliding Team Philippines
What joy it is to fly. But to fly and represent your country and compete with some of the best paragliding pilots is even more gratifying.  At the recently concluded  International Paragliding Accuracy Championship ( IPAC 2014)  15 of us Filipino paragliding pilots were able to do so.

Pilot Ian Veneracion proudly flying our Philippine flag at the openeing ceremonies of IPAC 2014
Held at the Sarangani flysite in General Santos, IPAC brought in some 40 pilots from Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Germany and Spain.  The Philippine team was composed of pilots from Manila, Sagada, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Sarangani.  A majority of us had flown in Sarangani the previous year in a "Fun Accuracy" competition so we were familiar with the flysite. But for the majority of the foreign pilots in the competition, flying in Sarangani would be their first time.  That was why I thought it was pretty impressive that they were able to garner the top positions in the competition despite it being their first time to fly in the Philippines.

Accuracy landing entails that a pilot take off and land at a designated target on both feet.  If a pilot falls before the wing is on the ground, he or she is penalized for it.

Monique Ignacio landing 

To win in this competition your foot must touch the center of the target upon landing. An electronic target pad is used to measure how close you are to the bullseye. For a spectator, being able to land dead center may look easy, but I can assure you it is not.  Our take off point is some 1,000 feet above and controlling your wing can be tricky if strong winds and thermals happen. You may be approaching your target and then a sudden gust off wind right before landing can quickly push you back making you miss your target.  You can also easily overshoot your goal by miscalculating your approach.  Personally I think "timing and feel" is as import as your landing technique.  Much like in golf where if your timing and feel is wrong, you miss your sweet spot.

The gorgeous Sarangani Bay is a sight to behold as you fly
Paragliding is a sport dominated by men.  It was encouraging for us female pilots to see however, a growing interest from more women taking up this exciting air sport.  From 15 pilots representing the Philippines, Five of us were women including the youngest Filipino pilot Dids Veneracion who is only 13 years old. Amongst the top scorers in the leaderboard from the other countries were also female.  In fact Indonesian female pilot Liz Andriana came in for 3rd runner up.

Asians have become a force to rekon with in paragliding competitions lately.  So it didn't come as a big surprise that the top prizes in this accuracy landing competition went to Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia.

Lis Andriana (Indonesia 3rd runner up) is surrounded by the Ms. Earth beauties who graced the IPAC award ceremonies

67 year old Yoshiki Oka (Japan 2nd runner up ) showed everyone that paragliding has no age limit

Luis Liu  of Taiwan wins the top prize

It was a fantastic week of flying for all of us.  Blessed with good winds and new pilot friends to share the skies with.  Until the next International Paragliding championships!

Go Paragliding Team Philippines

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kiting with no hands

Ground handling or kiting is an important step to becoming a skillful pilot.  It's a prerequisite in order to acquire the proper aptitude and flying competence to be rated as a USHPA "P2" level pilot.  I had my ground handling exercises by Ocean Beach in California with my instructor Jeff Greenbaum of Airtime San  Francisco.  What fun that was.  Here he is showing me how to kite with no hands.

Kiting with no hands from monique ignacio on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Missing my caddie

Golfing in the Philippines spoils us.  Caddies are mandatory with every game.  Until you golf in North America and get a reality check.  Carry your own bag, figure out your own yardage, wipe your own clubs and read your own putts.

But golf we must, and golf we shall.

With Christian Ignacio at Crystal Springs Burlingame California


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Half moon Bay Golf

One of the prettiest courses in the San Francisco Bay area is at Half moon Bay. There's a breathaking view of the ocean as seen on the 18th hole in this picture.  When I played this course I couldn't concentrate on my game as I was itching to take pictures the whole time. Cypress trees and dogleg fairways make for  a landscape that is picture perfect on every hole.

Finish your round with a nice bubbly or roast marshmallows and make s'mores by the fire pit while waiting for the most fantastic view of the sunset.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Martin Kaymer

Finally a US Open win for you! Congratulations Martin Kaymer!  Last month Kaymer at the age of 29, won the Players Championship on Mother's Day.  Then he goes on to win the U.S. Open on Father's Day.  Lucky guy indeed.