Thursday, June 14, 2007


I've included this photo at the very bottom, though extremely blurred, to showcase the paragliding skills of our Philippine Air Force. This officer who landed perfectly standing up must have looked like an angel to this young boy who ecstatically rushed to meet him.

These seven PAF paragliders were like giant birds hovering up in the sky; circling the open grassy field in front of Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park for more than fifteen minutes. And as if suddenly, they landed one at a time. Since there wasn't any designated landing point, they came down at different spots very near the crowd, which certainly made the demonstration even more exciting for the audience.

No one expected this landing amidst the crowd maneuver, but its surprise element may have been frightful for those lounging leisurely on a mat (banig) laid out on the ground and then suddenly having a paraglider land right next to them like a seagull about to attack their picnic foodstuff.

Overall, it was an exhilarating show by the Philippine Air Force and provided a wonderful photo opportunity. I just wished I was better prepared for their landing strategy.


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:52 AM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

great capture. i wonder if exercises like these are meant to recruit kids to the armed forces.

June 14, 2007 7:02 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think this was mainly for the Independence Day celebration, Photo Cache. On the other part of the park were military war armaments and vehicles with respective officers demonstrating/discusing their various uses. It was great fun, especially for the youngsters.

June 14, 2007 7:09 AM  

Anonymous Major Tom said...

Bless these paratroopers for allowing such priceless people to the lucky and unexpected onlookers. When i was so young, as children in our old neighborhood, we were once in a while regaled by this exhibitions in the same manner---unexpectedly---so colorful and expertly they glided from the sky; entertaining us children to no end...

sadly now, they don't do this as frequently.

June 14, 2007 8:38 AM  

Anonymous Major Tom said...

Hi eric some error on my comment above. I meant "priceless pleasures" instead of "priceless people".

June 14, 2007 8:44 AM  

Blogger carlotta said...

watching the paragliders is certainly a priceless experience. i'd like to do that someday. =)

June 14, 2007 9:12 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I wonder why they stop their regular demonstrations, Major Tom? After all, it is such an incredible sight to see these gliders hovering like giant eagles and then swooping down to land nearby perfectly! A thrill to behold, indeed :)

June 14, 2007 11:22 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I, too, used to dream of doing this, Carla. But you're still young enough to get into this sport. I, on the other, have to be content to just be quick with my camera to photograph them :)

June 14, 2007 11:24 AM  

Anonymous leo said...

Those guys are very brave and adventerous indeed. They have such a strong faith on their single parachute and soft head gear.If their chutes fails to open or the lines get tangled up,without any back up chute to open, the spectators on the ground will have something to tell their grandkids about.

June 14, 2007 11:52 AM  

Anonymous TruBlue said...

It can be a "recruiting advertisement". Tend to believe the military is quite reluctant to do this on a regular basis coz of safety reasons, the glider and those on the grounds. It's not a common occurence but when one chute is defective, result is always fatal and sheer horror to the viewers.
Without the horrible part, it's great for Senor Enrique as photojournalist and provide us in blogsphere something to say ooohhh and aaahhh. Cheers.

June 14, 2007 1:26 PM  

Anonymous Major Tom said...

It escapes me why...maybe it's for the reason of economy--the cost of having flights like that may be just now within the budget of the air force nowadays. Or it is not as funded as before...

June 14, 2007 3:07 PM  

Anonymous baddie said...

When I grow up (and lose some weight), I want to be a paraglider so you can take a picture of me. Yay!

June 14, 2007 3:37 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

eric, i'd probably have a heart attack to have one of them suddenly land beside me. LOL! imagine yourself making muni-muni on one of the banigs then suddenly "tadahhh!"

it must be great to paraglide. i want also! LOL! hubby, during his stint in his country's army said, they had to learn how to parachute and said he wanted to just die during that time. LOL! i'm afraid he's not one to find this as an "adventure". hahaha

great shot by the way

June 14, 2007 3:56 PM  

Anonymous lino said...

when i saw the parachuetrs coming down, i already rode a ride going to moa because i have to meet my friends there. if i had know you were there, pinuntahan sana kita, hehehe. tinanghali na kse ako eh, tsaka sa side lang ng rizal monument ako nagshoot... sayang... :(
great shot eric...

June 14, 2007 3:56 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...



I've never seen paragliders before but from your photos, I can judge that they are good!

Thanks for sharing Eric.

June 14, 2007 4:44 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

True, Leo! These PAF gliders remind me of our local motorcyclists who are more into projecting super macho images than being concerned about their overall safety.

I wouldn't want to have a paraglider land without a chute/glider right in front of me even though a photograph of his scattered remains might trigger a fierce and lucrative bidding war from the wire services.

June 14, 2007 7:45 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oh, thank you, TruBlue.

I doubt it very much if this demonstration had anything to do with PAf's recruitment efforts. You see, my nephew joined the PAF and he told me that nowadays, only those with college degrees are considered for acceptance as recruits and that doesn't even guarantee officer training program, though they're college graduates. This proves the overwhelming amount of local youths applying to get into the military as a viable option in getting jobs. In short: no need for PAF to stage dazzling recruitment programs.

You're right, paragliding has its great risks as well.

June 14, 2007 7:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hopefully, Major Tom, with Senator Trillanes, the military funding will be properly channeled as appropriated; no mo pilferage.

And very soon, under his watch, we'll get to enjoy more of such goodwill shows from our local troops :)

June 14, 2007 7:53 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Would be glad to, Baddie! We'll just have to appoint/choose a landing point so I can take a perfect shot of your perfect landing :)

June 14, 2007 7:54 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I can imagine little Lucho, on the other hand, as being excited to have one land near him ... hehehe.

And I can understand why your hubby detests the idea of jumping off planes. You really have to like this kind of sport to enjoy it; otherwise, it'll be like an attempt to end life every time you jump ... hahaha.

Thanks, Sheilamarie!

June 14, 2007 7:58 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I wasn't expecting to be there, Lino, I had to stop by an office at Roxas Blvd and I noticed these hovering paragliders when I came out of the building so, I rushed over there. They started landing I got to the field and this explains why my shots appeared rushed.

Too bad, it would have been fun running into you over there :)

June 14, 2007 8:00 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I've seen pictures of even fancier demonstrations, Kyels, replete with smoke and flags! But since this was my first, I consider this just as great as those fancy ones :)

You're welcome!

June 14, 2007 8:02 PM  

Anonymous scott kho said...

wow! these are very interesting photographs of an equally interesting event!

i like that last photograph!

June 14, 2007 11:40 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

Jumping at some thousands of feet can feel liberating, it's like you're up there flying (of course you're actually falling, but it doesn't seem so until just a few feet and the ground closes in real fast). The sensation lingers even when you've landed, and you might even dream about it.

The best instructor in the military (the one who has hundreds of jumps under his belt), could redirect his descent on short notice. That would be when he is close enough to hear the instructions shouted by the people on the ground.

Although most Philippine military personnel can only dream of reaching a hundred jumps, having about four hundred is still nothing considering that predecessors and counterparts abroad (even the hobbyists) have thousands of jumps worth of experience.

Some are so good they test-jump new parachute designs. They jerk the strings just to see how the chute can handle it. They carry two back-up chutes because their test includes cutting off the main chute and seeing if the backup unfurls.

June 15, 2007 12:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

What amazed me, Dave, was that I didn't know they can circle around for quite some time before making their descent.

And with their ability to redirect their approach, no wonder they were able to land safely near the crowd.

Thanks for the info!

June 15, 2007 7:10 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Scott!

Too bad there weren't too many people to enjoy the event. At least they could've performed some of these last Monday when all were off from work and school.

June 15, 2007 7:12 AM  

Anonymous A.E. said...

These things are called parachutes, not paragliders. Paragliders look different and glides much better than parachutes.

June 15, 2007 5:26 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Wow! Great shots! Hirap sigurong i-timing ng shots, ano, Eric? Bet you got a stiff neck after looking up all the time.. hehehe.

June 15, 2007 6:24 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think you're right, AE, these might be parachutes! Thanks for pointing it out :)

June 16, 2007 5:59 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

By the time I reached the field, Rhoda, they were starting to make their landings. I wish they had another group :(

June 16, 2007 6:00 AM  

Blogger Daisy said...

Wow ang Galeng naman ng mga ito. I wish I can say that I want to do it but I have acrophobia. I also like capturing images of flying people and things...

Ang galeng daming activity lagi sa Luneta! Wagi talaga malapit dyan nakatira.

June 18, 2007 11:00 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Like I said, Daisy, not too many people got to enjoy these festivities because they were at work or in school :)

Many thanks! Wish you were there!

June 18, 2007 7:26 PM  

Anonymous Ed said...

Ehhh I don't want to put a sticks on wheels here, but That was not a paraglider. That was a parachute. Anyway happy to see activities like this dyan sa pinas. Someday makikita ko rin yan dyan. :)

July 14, 2007 10:41 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ed you are right!

You can't imagine how in awe I was upon realizing the designs of parachutes these days. I was astounded when corrected by another fellow blogger.

I bet you'll enjoy your balikbayan vacation someday :)

July 14, 2007 11:17 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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