Photo by Bernadette Villaluz
Flying in the Philippines by microlight / ultralight aircraft is the latest adventure sport we have experienced in Angeles City, Pampanga; Cebu Pacific Air may offer Go-Lite fares but a microlight / ultralight experience puts you in touch with Mother Nature in a way that only a true adventure sport can do.
One sunny morning last week I took that chance to drop by the Woodland Airpark, home of the Angeles City Flying Club, about ten minutes off the North Luzon Expressway, near Angeles City. Arriving at the Angeles City Flying Club I discovered three hangers stuffed full of an astounding (bearing in mind you hardly see one over Manila) array of microlight / ultralight aircraft, some owned by the flying club and some privately owned by flying club members. There were single-seaters, tandem-seaters and side-by-side-seaters in various states of readiness for use.
There were even two seaplane versions of microlight / ultralight aircraft, capable of up to almost 200 kph, just like miniatures of the classic seaplanes that I remember when I was somewhat younger, poring over flying magazines and romanticizing – imagining I would one day glide into land over a pristine, turquoise lagoon complete with coconut-palm-fringed-white-sand-beaches on some remote tropical island, to be met by near naked maidens offering leis and other bountiful gifts of the Pacific . . . the day has still not arrived.
The Angeles City Flying Club owns their own microlight / ultralight aircraft and by becoming a day-member, any able-bodied person (from about the age of 10 and up) can take up this new adventure sport. Less than two hours from Merville, Parañaque, and for less than the cost of an hour doing mundane things on a jet ski, you can fly with the birds (literally) in a microlight / ultralight aircraft: out over an ostrich farm, above mango plantations and rice fields towards Mount Arayat, buzz smiling fishermen in the lakes and fish ponds of central Pampanga, fly with a flock of herons and then return by way of the snaking river before landing back at the Woodland Airpark.
If you want to take up the adventure sport of microlight / ultralight flying, beyond a trial introductory flight, then the Angeles City Flying Club offers packages for 15 hours of flying lessons and more. Most people go-solo in ultralight / microlight aircraft within ten hours of flying lessons and after that almost the whole of the Philippines airspace is open for you to explore.
Microlight / ultralight aircraft are built to be light yet rugged and, despite their somewhat flimsy appearance, they are strong and safe and offer an adventure sport opportunity that gives you the freedom of the air.
The Angeles City Flying Club offers more than just microlight / ultralight flying to enjoy. The clubhouse has its own restaurant and a swimming pool, with bahay-kubo around its perimeter, space for camping as well as two, air-conditioned cottages for rent, and if you need to keep in touch with the rest of the world then there is Internet for those urgent email messages.
Every year the Angeles City Flying Club takes part in the annual International Balloon Festival on Clark Field and organises other events to entertain and attract new members to the club. Their annual Octoberfest event – where everyone goes flying before enjoying the beer (fortunately not the other way around) – is very popular amongst members and visitors alike.
If you are looking to try out a new adventure sport, that gives you the chance to see the Philippines from a totally new angle, then visit the Angeles City Flying Club at the Woodland Airpark (any day except Wednesday) and take a trial introductory flight in one of their microlight / ultralight aircraft, you will be forever glad you did.