No fear factor: Zipline fun in Ilagan

Jerald Uy
Conquer your fear by jumping into it — literally

FEAR FACTOR. For a few seconds, writer Jerald Uy was Spider-Man. All photos courtesy of Jerald Uy

MANILA, Philippines – “How did I get myself into this?” I asked myself. The zipline’s platform was on top of a hill, elevated 700 feet above the ground.

The locals at Ilagan Sanctuary in Isabela took pride in it and claimed that it was the fastest zipline in the country. Relying on gravity, the 350-m zipline took you across at 80 kph or around 15 seconds — faster if you weighed more.

Country’s ‘fastest’ line

Here’s a 22-sec video of an Ilagan Sanctuary zipline rider:

Ilagan Sanctuary administrator Arvin de Perez asked us to choose between riding the zipline and exploring the Sta. Victoria Caves. Most of the mediamen chose the caves while 8 of us chose the zipline. 

We climbed the 250-step hill. The hike was tiring so we rested first and enjoyed the view. 

Then one by one we rode the zipline. I decided to go last because, honestly, I was afraid of heights. But I wanted to overcome that fear: my first plane flight was a trip to General Santos City to cover the Maguindanao Massacre; my first chopper ride was with the Philippine Air Force flying over the territories of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 

THE HILL. Climb 250 steps to the zipline's jump-off point

This was supposed to be easy. For the first time, I was going to be up in the air without any worry that I might get hit by bullets. I could only get hurt by falling. 

The guy from the newspaper Malaya felt so free (pun intended) when he jumped from the lowest point of the ramp. I heard him shout “Let’s get it on!” as he zipped through the forest cover. The writer from GMA News Online hesitated at first but was convinced by the operator that everything was going to be fine. By then, the zipline operator sounded like a therapist.

Then my turn came

NO TIME TO CORRECT GRAMMAR. 'Sir, safety (sic) yan,' the operator told me

“Sir, safety ‘yan, huwag kayong mag-alala (Sir, the thing’s safety [sic], don’t worry),” the zipline operator said. I had no time to correct his grammar since by then the only thing that separated me from broken bones was a harness.

He then went on, saying riding a ferris wheel was scarier because it would spin in different directions. I knew he was just making me feel at ease.

Kuya, itulak na lang ninyo po ako (Kuya, just push me),” I told him. He did. I closed my eyes.

HEAVIER MEANS FASTER. The writer and his companions during the safety briefing

Then I opened my eyes and saw the blue sky and the trees “speeding past” me. It felt like flying. Not like Superman (in other ziplines the bodies are strapped face down) but like Spider-Man, sliding.

“At least now you know how Peter Parker feels,” I told my geeky self.

I stopped 5 feet above the ground, still hanging. The ride was fast. 

Adventure hub

NOT JUST THE ZIPLINE. Writer Jerald Uy (right) holding the Ilagan Sanctuary python

The Ilagan Sanctuary zipline was opened in May 2012. Safety consultant Geoffrey Fortez said that it had “the same effect of a small roller coaster” and was made of European materials that passed security standars. Passengers should be at least 12 years old. 

Napakaraming sumusubok lalo na tuwing weekends at summer (Lots of people try it especially during weekends and summer),” he said. “Kaya magpo-provide ng cable car going to the top (That’s why we’re building a cable car going to the top).”

Riding the zipline costs P50 to enter Ilagan Sanctuary and P200 to ride the line.

ANOTHER ATTRACTION. Hikers can enjoy exploring the Sta. Victoria Caves. Photo from the Isabela Provincial Tourism Office

Ilagan Sanctuary is located at Barangay Sta. Victoria, Ilagan City, Isabela. It is accessible via a jeepney (P10) or a tricycle (P8) from the province’s National Highway.

Other attractions in the park are a mini zoo, caves used by guerrillas in World War II, a swimming pool, and horseback riding.

But as the locals would like to tease tourists, you haven’t really been to Ilagan City if you haven’t tried the country’s fastest zipline. You just have to take a leap of faith — literally. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.