Skydiving (The pursuit and the preparation)
One item on my bucket list was to go skydiving. It was one of those dreams I have had since childhood.
At around the same time last year, around my birthday I was in search for an outfit to go skydiving. I could not find any so I ended up taking an ultra-light flight around the lahar fields of Pampanga with some friends. Since then, I have been in search of someplace that does skydiving. Searching the internet was frustrating. Most places were either closed or had no contact numbers. When I took the Mt. Pinatubo Sky Tour at Omni Aviation Last February, I found one contact person but no one ever answered my calls. My last chance was to go to Cebu and try it out there. Though I would need to get a group together. And it was difficult trying to find people to jump out of a plane with you.
And then, around two weeks ago… I came across this site: e-Philippines Adventure Travel and Destinations… and they were offering a Skydiving Adventure. Within 30 min I was on the phone with a guy named Russell and was making arrangements for the flight. (they also have an FB page here)
After a quick discussion over details and rates, and once he txted me that I was confirmed, I paid up the fee (via BPI) and I was all set to join the May 1 jump. There were two groups of 4, one for may May 1 (Saturday), a second group on May 2 (Sunday).
It is sad that there aren’t any more skydiving outfits here in the Philippines. One would imagine more entities in Clark, Subic, or Batangas getting into this. But alas, there aren’t.
Preparing for the jump. Russell scheduled 2 classroom sessions before the jump. The first one was where we met his partner, Anthony, and the instructor Billy. The first session just theoreticals about the jump, what to do when something happens (or doesn’t happen).
The next day we met up in the parking lot where I got to see a parachute up close…
Our instructor, Lt. Billy
The latter half of the session, he had us on our stomachs practiving “arching”. Which is basically how to fall for the first 5 seconds before panicing (hehe). Seriously, It was a lot of practice for an activity that would only last 5-8 seconds. This is is what would determine whether or not we would deploy the reserve chute.
Billy then brought us through explaining how to turn the chute, how to break (yes… break), and of course how to land.
Anyway, after discussing the landing zone in Clark, we were all ready to go.
Pending of course the weather report. After a long hot summer (thus far) mother nature decides to sweat a little and send some rain. I prayed for clear skies and no wind.
THIS is what I had referred to as my lakwatsa of a lifetime!!!
On Friday afternoon, I get a TXT message from Russell telling us that the dive is postponed and will not push through on Saturday. My first reaction was… oh, the weather. As I read through the txt I learned that there was some issue with the permits with the Civil Aviation Authority and that it would be straightened out the following week.
Sigh… nothing much I could do. Of course I am disappointed.
Here’s hoping the dive will be scheduled soon.
The dive mentioned in this blog post never took place. After waiting for a month, the group that made the arrangements cancelled the flight and refunded the fees we paid out. At the time Omni Aviation, the airplane charter company was having some audit issues with the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority which I believe lingered for a couple of months.
But I did get to eventually Skydive when I visited Los Angeles this year! Read about it here: http://lakwatsero.me/2010/08/19/skydiving/