Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Glide

I have a confession to make. I’m afraid of heights. I really do. Until now I have this uneasiness of flying. Knowing that I’ll be up on air, I usually don’t sleep night before my scheduled flight.

But for the last five years, I am continuously challenging myself to get rid of this fear. I engaged myself in activities like bungee jumping, parasailing and just recently paragliding.

I’ve been anticipating this event for months and the idea of seeing Fuji-san on its naked glory just double the excitement. I have attempted to take photos of this majestic mountain and failed twice. Was I prepared for this activity? I thought so as I avoided watching paragliding related videos. Haha! And for the sake of photography, I have to fly and try taking photos on air! Damn to this addiction.

Anyway, the weather was perfect last Sunday. Not too hot, not to cold and Mt. Fuji was showing off to the delight of everyone. We arrived at Asagiri Paragliding School at around 0930H and were then informed that we can no longer be accommodated since there are lots of enthusiasts who arrived before us. We were further told that we can jump probably after lunch. It was quite disappointing to hear it but perhaps it has a purpose. I, Ate Maki, Kuya Rad, Attorney and Jane immediately positioned ourselves in different spots within the landing area just to be busy. However, in less than five minutes, one of the senseis told Ate Maki that there’s an available tandem paragliding slot as one of the enthusiast backed-out. Ate Maki asked me if I am interested in trying and I said without blinking, YES! Off we went to the plateau, the take-off area, approximately 1,000 meters from the ground via an improvised train-like transportation. Its not that high actually, its very high! And its very steep. And the group joked that after my jump they will be using past tense in addressing totomai.

At the take-off area I was called by one of the senseis to ready myself. I submitted but my heartbeat’s rhythm was much stronger than the rustling leaves and weeds as well as the whispering winds. The instructions were in Japanese, and I can only reply with a smile and an unsure hais. Glad that I have Ate Maki by my side, who serve as a photographer, interpreter and a mother. And as guiding Diyosa. Haha!

While on the platform, and waiting for the go signal, I stood there emotionless. I felt nothing actually and I thought my spirit left my body for a split second. I only moved after the sensei shouted the magic word. I ran but I can’t feel that I was running (or I didn't run after all), all I see was I am almost on the edge of the cliff and I have nowhere to turn but to face it. Every thing was blurry. But hey, I waited for the flashback of my life but to no avail. Haha! It only means one thing, I will be landing safely.

Up on the air, I felt like a weightless individual, like a spirit, like a soul gliding in an open space. I refocused and tried taking photos of anything despite my trembling hands. It was great. The sensei even told me to take a photo of my foot! It was a good idea coming from him. Haha!

paraglide

swim through the pale clouds
weightless soul fanned by the wind
a heavenly crib

It was so fast that I didn’t notice that I am about to touch the land soon. If only I could stay there like for an hour or so, exploring the place from above perspective. If given the chance to jump or fly again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

And just when I thought that my fear of heights had diminished, my hands perspired like it hadn’t perspired for thirty years the moment we went back to the platform. But the journey of going down from the platform via that improvised train was much worse.

Photos of me during the course taken by Ate Maki and Kuya Rad.



Believe me, paragliding is not that scary. Just condition yourself that you will land safely. Thanks to all my friends for the moral support too. But wait, was it really a moral support? Or the other way around? Love you guys!

And please, still address me in the present tense. I feel like I'm missing my backbone though.

/totomai
11/25/08

30 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I will still address you in the present tense. But I dreaded the day of the glide. And for this matter, I don't want to read your post. Agh, envious is written all over my forehead. Green!

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  2. aha! false claim. ladies and gentlemen, hindi po tumakbo si Totomai. As many would bear witness, kinalakadkad po siya ng kanyang ka tandem. he he. Pero sige na nga, inggit pa rin kami. Next time, ako naman!

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  3. @Mariale, wag ka na lungkot. ako lang naman ang nakatalon e haha :-) marami pa namang next time

    @attorney, haha, inedit ko na. mahirap na makasuhan. at himala, nagtagalog ka haha

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  4. As a "mother" ka jyan! :-p

    Seriously, Saddam read in the papers that there was a paragliding accident last Sunday in Inokashira, kabilang side nung pinuntahan natin.
    Kakatakot!!!

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  5. waa, katakot nga te. buti pala di ko nalaman yan before ko lumundag. baka naging alamat na din ako.

    hehe. mother talaga. pede din pala grandmother haha.

    thanks te sa lahat.

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  6. WOW! How I wish I get the same experience :)
    Kakainggit!

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  7. ate anne, kinaya ko na lang. hirap umurong e hehehe. andun na kasi sa taas, sayang.

    ma try mo din yan someday :-)

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  8. Wow good for you totomai! I am also a freight of heights and don't know if I would dare to do this. CY'a sindala

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  9. well that should have been afraid not a freight :~P

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  10. @Berend, dont worry about your misspelled word. i think you should try. i did. LOL!

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  11. Okay, next time Im in Japan Ill try it. :~P

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  12. hahaha, flashbacks?...wla ka txt sakin kya alam kong di ka pa alamat, hahaha...ayos!!...ung paramotoring lng ang na-miss mo, hehehe

    ai

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  13. @Berend, or maybe I can go there to Netherlands and we will for paragliding schools

    @Mata, haha oo nga, dala ko pa naman celfone ko nung tumalon ako haha

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  14. parang si Mother Nature na ang ka-level ni Ate Maki ah. sana matuwa sya sa akin at baka ma-promote akong diwata o kaya ada ng kabundukan ng Kanagawa :P

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  15. Jane, ikaw ba to? haha. pede kang maging diwata. isa sa mga kasama ng dyosa hehe

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  16. tsk tsk tsk,, lalo mo akong pinapaisip na ano bang ginagawa ko dito at puro bahay opisina lang ako,, sa weekends bahay sa weekdays opisina,, i need something kike that heheh, anyway, masusubukan ko din yan promise heheh, 100% inggit. to the highest level,

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  17. oo nga mai kaka inggit ka... c rey d ko talaga madala sa ganyan... na e ihi na daw cya makita lang ang tuktuk, ano ba yan...

    oi daril ha galing mo sa mga ganito "100% inggit. to the highest level," may na aalala lang ako... hehehehe

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  18. @darryl, bwahaha, to the highest level talaga ha. haha. pede ka naman punta sa mayon volcano. dont worry, sa davao, mukhang madami kang mapupuntahan

    @lav, oo nga, sabi nga ni rey, takot nga daw sya dun sa pic ko na kinunan ko sapatos ko sa himpapawid

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  19. hihi atleast nakaya ka na ng canopy di kagay dati sa sobrang taba mo ayaw ng pilot hihi peace bf-ski

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  20. sounds (and looks) exciting. siyet kelan kaya ako makakaganyan? the photo of you taken by Ate Maki is very nice. ang galing!

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  21. yup ate maki is a great photographer tukayo. hayaan mo, kita tayo diyan january hehe

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  22. breathtaking!!!! and i didn't even have to go into flight to enjoy this amazing journey with you....

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  23. Thanks paisley. I will be doing it again if given the chance hehe

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  24. Phew, you're so brave, I wouldn't do that in a million years!

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  25. @STG, well i thought i cant make it too, but i tried and it was fun. you should try too

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  26. Totomai, you ARE and always will be a present tense adventurer.

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  27. Cool story! That took guts! Great pictures, too!

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