October 11, 2015

Getting High in Mati with the Mindanao Saga Flying Club

Photos © Erika Ochosa

"Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect."

A photo with these words hung on the walls of the Mindanao Saga Flying Club and was the first thing that caught my attention upon entering the facility. It was at that exact moment when I was composing myself whilst trying to digest the fact that I was about to fly a plane — well, sorta.

I first learned of the organization when my Papa came home from one of his Davao trips with a permanent grin on his face. Another Championship, I thought. No. Instead of being armed with the usual trophies and additions to our endless supply of favorite household appliances, He proudly showcased photos of the eventful weekend he just had. In his album were photos of himself and his friends looking like kids on a playground for the first time. They had been guests at the Mindanao Saga Flying Club that weekend, and yes, they flew planes, and laughed, and had the time of their lives. Here's the part I loved the most — before the conversation ended, he promised to take us with him the next time.

And he did. And it was one hell of a ride.

Looking back at these photos gives me the same feeling I had in my tiny tummy that weekend. I could honestly say that it was definitely the most exciting, thrilling, and unique experience I've had to date! When I was up there, all that was in my head was "How do I top this? How do I top this? How the F do I effin top this??? It was unexplainable! I just knew right then and there that everyone deserves to feel exactly what I felt at that moment. 

point of view

You know the feeling when you've reached the peak of a mountain? The one when you're finally at peace and savoring the rewards of the physical trauma you've just endured? Take that and multiply it by 1578439! Not kidding. In my opinion, an aerial view at a somewhat depressed altitude gives the best perspective of a place. Flying in the miniature planes of MSFC will reward you with a lovely bird's eye view of the city — one where you can still distinguish the geographical facets of Mati and Dahican Beach. You'll learn to appreciate it more than just staring out the window of a typical plane ride from NAIA. Plus, you feel the wind on your face. 

a cheap a-fare

The minimum is Php 1600 for 15 minutes. You may think that it's a bit steep but take it from me when I say that it's hella worth it. Those that know me really well know that I wouldn't even buy a 50-peso shirt if I really didn't think it was worth my money. Likewise, I have no problem spending all my cash on an expensive bottle of whisky if it made my taste buds real happy. I initially though that the fee was expensive but after a few seconds of being up in the air, I was already computing my budget if I could afford an extension or second round. 

peace of mind

Being an Engineer means I can never separate myself from technology and innovation. I love how science has brought us from the primitive ages to the comfortable and tech-savvy lifestyle we enjoy today. It is through science and innovation that things are easier and more accessible and that the opportunity to fly is available. MSFC takes this to a whole new level with their impressive fleet, that definitely made the inner techie in me happy. You don't need to worry about safety and security for you'll be flying only in the latest and well-maintained air crafts. The seasoned pilots will take good care of you and their technical knowledge will take your mind off any doubts and reservations for you to confidently enjoy your flight. 

a mental exercise
You don't know the meaning of multitasking until you fly a plane. When you get on a plane with MSFC, they'll give you the option to control the plane once you're up in the air. It starts with the control wheel, then the direction finder, then the altitude indicator, the throttle, and so on.. until you realize you're doing so many things simultaneously and if you don't keep your shit together, you might actually fuck up. Pretty much like diving, flying is a responsibility and a constant mental exercise. Learn the art of having fun and control at the same time.  

dahican, beaches.
Flying will only take about a  quarter of your day and you'll have plenty of time to do other things later on. It can be very tiring and draining too, so your body will need recovery time. Luckily, the club is just a 15-minute drive away from Dahican Beach, a pristine area where you can fall in love with the breathtaking view and its charming community. As a famous surf spot, it's modestly developed and is lined with activities that you can engage in after a day's session of flying. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the afternoon flight session by some skilled pilots and watch them glide over you as you lounge. 

the fly high
If you're going to try anything once, then this should definitely on your list. I mean sky diving and bungee jumping are ultimate bucket list toppers but they can be a bit more risky and extreme. If you want the similar high minus the safety issues, then this could be your best bet.