It was June of 2016 when I first set foot in Mindanao, particularly in the beautiful Cagayan de Oro. Again, this was for an audit engagement.
The flight to CDO was not a very smooth one at all, with one instance when the plane felt like it suddenly dropped two or three feet. This made me grab my team leader’s arm that made her laugh at me for being a scaredy-cat. For somehow who flies to different parts of the country as part of her job, I have not yet made myself immune from the usual shaky feeling inside the plane when there is turbulence. While I am not afraid of heights, I am mightily scared of falling. Unsecured and shaky rides scare the hell out of me.
In my attempt to get rid of that fear, I went with my team leader and three other girls auditing the other close-by business center branch within the city to Dahilayan Adventure Park, home to Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline. It’s the perfect place for people who are into extreme adventures and are not afraid to tempt death to chase after them.
We rode the Magnum Express Shuttle that was located near Limketkai Mall. I think the price for the ride to and from Dahilayan was around Php 350. It took around an hour and a half to two hours to get to Dahilayan, passing by Del Monte’s pineapple farm along the way. You will know you are at Del Monte’s grounds because you will be greeted by a giant pineapple decoration.
The total ride experience was 3 out of 5 stars. The ride was bouncy which made me dizzy the entire time. There was also this irritating screeching sound like the hinges of the ride needed oiling. Also, the driver drove very fast on the way to Dahilayan that he hit a dog along the way. Bad, bad driver!
Well, we survived the ride anyway and got to our destination without any scratch, albeit a little dizzy.
Their Facebook page appears to show that prices have not gone up since December of 2015. It does not show, however, the packages for combined rides. When we were there, we paid for the Php 1,100 package which included all three zip lines, the python roller zip ride, and the dropzone ride.
Fate was not gentle on us as we were made to take the 840m zip line first. First! They had no mercy at all!
We were given our protective head gears and what seems to be what will carry us throughout the ride. Then, they made us ride a multi-cab that took us to the highest point of the mountain where we will be launched into oblivion.
The suit was heavy, to be honest. You also would not want to walk with big strides because you might trip and crack your head before the fun has even begun. Be mindful too of the length because you would not want to step on it either and bring your whole world crashing down with you.
Oh, do not worry about your things. You will be given a sort of locker (only grilled, so not completely inaccessible) to keep them while you go around and about so you can just worry about your life. I suggest you wear a jacket or windbreaker that comes with pockets with zippers, or pockets that are accessible from the inside. You can place your phone in there and your money too. That way, if you fall and miraculously manage to stay alive because you’re like a cat with nine lives, you’ll have your phone with you to call for help. Provided you’ll have a phone signal, of course. I do not know if money has much use deep down the forest though but you’ll never know when you’ll meet a peddler with a juicy red apple for sale. Don’t bring a chunky wallet with you anymore.
Because I wanted to get it over with, I decided to go first with my ever-fearless buddy, Joan. While she was happily posing for a picture, I was trembling and questioning my life choices. What exactly have I just gotten myself into? Oh boy, oh dear…
In case you’re worried about losing your eyeglasses during the ride, buy one of those laces to keep them in place. Because this trip was spontaneous, I ripped off the elastic bands from disposable face masks I happened to have on hand and used them to secure my glasses in place. After all, the view from high up is pointless if everything looks as blurry as to how your future became the moment you hopped on the zip line.
Instructions were given and off they launched us like they wanted to get rid of us. I forgot I was supposed to spread my arms wide to slow down my speed and I was going very fast! I allowed myself to pass by the huge trees first that I might hit before I gained the courage to spread my arms wide. When I did, it was the most liberating feeling I have ever felt! The safe, secure feeling that the suit provided allowed me to relax and just enjoy the feeling of flying despite my lack of wings.
The view was magnificent and breathtaking! It was as if life was playing fast forward and showing you all the beautiful things it had to offer and you’re seeing it from a bird’s point of view! No wonder they keep flying around.
If your hands are not very shaky and can manage to hold on to a selfie stick, you may ride with one. While it may be fun to record a video of your reaction, it would also be nice to take a video of the view ahead of you to remind you someday of the beauty that you witnessed in your crazy, younger years. You can always hop on it twice though if you wish to take two kinds of videos.
Since I was much, much heavier than Joan and I forgot to spread my arms right away, I was done first. If you’re after enjoying the view and having longer flying time, please spread your right away so you’ll slow down a bit.
After the five of us were through with the longest zipline, we hopped on next to the 320m and 150m rides. I rode at the same time with Chimie for this one. I do not know if it was a bad thing that we started with the longest one because the last two ones were not as thrilling anymore. However, this time, you’ll be in a sitting position with your legs dangling and no support at all.
Do not imagine yourself as Cinderella. Wear shoes that do not slip off because no prince will catch them for you.
Our next ride was the Python Roller Zipride. It’s like a rollercoaster, only with you hanging without seats. The location? Well, at the edges of the mountain with a deep ravine to fall into and a spectacular view to make it a little sweeter.
Just a tip: Don’t ride alone. Ride with someone. That way, you can scream at your companion and threaten them for making you ride that contraption because it is way, way scarier than the zip line. That’s what I did to Joan, ha-ha!
Also, riding alone means you’ll be lighter. There might be an instance wherein you’ll be stuck in the middle of the track because you lost momentum. You will have to pray someone will hear your calls for help because they will need to pull you slowly to relaunch you again to continue. We saw it happen to one girl who rode before. Since we were five and not allowed to ride a second time without paying extra, they added weights on the ride for Chimie’s turn because she’s a very lightweight girl.
All that excitement made us hungry so we ate after the Python ride. There were many food choices in Dahilayan so one needs not to worry about bringing food to the place. Just make sure to walk around for a bit before hopping on another activity because you do not want to barf mid-air. That day, we opted to try the food at the Pinegrove Lodge Mountain Resort.
The last activity was the Dropzone wherein you’ll be lifted at around 120 feet the released so you end up swinging like a pendulum. You will be dropped first—the way you fall into temptation—just above the lake before being lifted high all the way to Jesus to meet your salvation. But because you’re hardheaded, you’ll go back to you the things that tempt you and allow them to drop you as they have always done your entire life. It will be the same routine as if you’ve not learned your lesson until you just stop because there was no point in it anymore.
I opted to sit this one out because people with back and heart problems were warned not to take on it. I have scoliosis and learned only in early 2017 that I have bradycardia too. This means my heart rate slower than normal. Well, it was a good thing I did not tempt fate because I am still alive to write all of this down.
The girls seem to have enjoyed the ride though, screaming expletives every high dip just to manage the uneasy feelings. Miss MC and Jalene played it safe by just going for the mid-point. Chimie and Joan, on the other hand, are very adventurous girls on their own. Combined? They can conquer the world. They were brave enough to get lifted at the maximum height without any hesitation.
They say the people you meet in life are no accidents. They are meant to teach you something along the way. I’d like to think that my friends were sent my way to balance my overly paranoid self and allow me moments to be carefree, brave and, from time to time, to feel like I have really, really lived.
Shaky plane rides still scare me though.