Flying Fast and Furious over B’lakayo Zipline

Rina Takes Off at Blakayo Zipline

It was my “official” first day at Soccsksargen Experience Tour 3 (S3X Tour for short) organized by a good friend of mine Avel Manansala and the Sox Bloggers. I was a day late since I have work…but the rest of S3X Tourists have already enjoyed their outdoor activities at Sarangani Province the day before. That Saturday morning, we went all the way to the highlands of Barangay Olympog in General Santos City to experience one of Philippines’ fastest and highest ziplines, the Fifth Mountain of B’lakayo—looks like it’s time to prove that pigs do fly, fast and furious! One of Gensan’s rising adventure tourist attractions.

It may be slow but in a way B'lakayo's Cable Car Ride is an extreme one...

B’lakayo is a B’laan word meaning “Black Woods” or “Other side of the woods,” referring to the place on the foothills near Mount Matutum. It is about more than 15 to 20 kilometer ride all the way…to the highlands. Getting here needs some effort since roads are yet to be paved and steep enough (recommended if you have a 4×4 vehicle)—that’s the only start of the adventure!

Extreme Romance with Nature: Cable Car

The Cable Car/Gondola

Upon arriving, Sir James Betonio (the owner) and his wife Madame Twilight, have us tested one of the newest attractions of B’lakayo—the cable car. The only difference is, it doesn’t have a lock (yet there is a safety bar), you can see the ravine down below and most of all—it is wide open! Yes sir, it may be romantic but dangling in more than a hundred foot ravine is surely putting up some spice on your supposedly leisurely appreciation with nature.

The first batch takes off...looks easy but once you're in the middle of the journey, that is where you place your guts.

Our turn, there they are...well wishers...

You just have to be there...

I was with Fitz, Don, and Karen when we rode the gondola. I was frozen and couldn’t move a bit. I’ve been to heights but this one was pretty extreme, given the cable car’s specifics and very slow speed—its either agony or ecstasy.

Define this face and how deep the background goes...

Deep Ravine at B'lakayo...there it goes. Wasn't able to get much photos because I was frozen...

The view north...

and the View South of B'lakayo...on a clear day, downtown Gensan and Sarangani Bay can be clearly seen from this vantage point.

The cable car ride usually lasts about 5 minutes or so, seeing the deep ravine below, the beauty of Olympog Hills to the north and downtown Dadiangas and Sarangani Bay to the south. Appreciating the beauty while giving you the thrills!

The extreme cable car ride costs about P200 per person. The gondola is good for 4-6 persons, depending on the size/weight.

After that, Madame Twilight treated us with a sumptuous breakfast in a more “native way.” I’ll discuss it later, together with our food trip for the rest of three days in Soccsksargen…:D

Defying Gravity: The Fast and the Furious Way

B'lakayo Zipline - One of Philippines' Fastest and Highest Ziplines

The main attraction of B’lakayo though would be the zipline. With ziplines sprouting all over major cities and provinces in the Philippines, what is its difference?

Prepare for Launch...

First, it is one of the highest—given a thousand foot ravine below, launchpad on top of a hill of almost 2,000 feet ASL overlooking Gensan is really something right? I saw a Youtube video of B’lakayo posted…the woman disappeared from view…its quite far from launch pad 1 to 2!

Second, it is one of the fastest. Depending on your weight, the average speed that B’lakayo ziplines reach is from 50 to 70 kilometers per hour, spanning almost a kilometer of cable from launch pad 1 to launch pad 2 below.

The view of B'lakayo base camp and the rest of Gensan going to LaunchPad 1

Well, its my turn...the rest of more than a minute is pure insanity

That morning, I was about to experience one of the best thrills of my life! Since I am more than 200 pounds (urgh!), the zipline staff needs to move the stoppers much closer to the middle. And when it was set, here it goes:

Profanity and screaming hard as I hang on the cable with a thousand foot drop below. I was frightened yet excited. The thrill was really something since I went faster than normal weighted people. Then…boom! Plag!! I hit the stoppers…it hit me hard like hitting a wall—I fell silent. What’s going on…then I was already at launch pad 2—almost overshot myself to the other side and went back…good thing the staff was able to catch me before I went back to the middle of the zipline—hanging dearly with my life in the middle of the ravine! I was like…screaming out loud. It felt good but I also felt conquering fear itself.

Fifth Mountain of Blakayo Schematics

Newton, I have proven your second law of motion! Force is equals to mass times acceleration!

Now going back to base camp…while I was overwhelmed with adrenaline rush on the first fast zip line, going back was…a bit scary. It is much slower, hence longer time dangling in the hundred-foot cliff-I was a cliff hanger. When the staff said “I’m ready,” I was trembling with fear instead of excitement. When I took off, I wasn’t screaming at all…I was dead silent. As I zip my way over the cliff, I was like hanging for my dear life, a minute later I was back on the ground…trembling.

For P250 per person, you can enjoy B’lakayo zipline. If you’re a group of five, one person is for free…so that’s six!

I’ve defied gravity

It was a coincidence that my LSS was “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway musical “Wicked.” Yet with the thrill of being flying fast and furiously, I have said I have finally defied gravity despite my weight, haha! B’lakayo on the other hand, has a lot of potential for any one who visits Habagat-Central, este South-Central Mindanao. I still remember reading a news that Gensan is gradually shunning away as the “Tuna Capital” of the country, indeed…they simply went beyond the bay and went over the horizon. While B’lakayo is still under-developed, the local government has already acknowledged its contribution in diversifying and boosting Gensan’s economy and making Mindanao a place for adventure and fun-without insecurities!

The S3X Tourists at B'lakayo

I’d said to myself, I’d be back again. Sir James said, “try the third zip line next time.” Looks like I’ll surely will.

To experience the best thrill in General Santos City, please do contact the following in order to provide you guidance and advise on how to get to Purok Balakayo:
James 09232225040
Aweng 09239053054 / 09177203306

or you may like them at their Facebook page by just clicking here, for more information.

Find where Fifth Mountain of B’lakayo at General Santos City:

View B’lakayo Zipline in a larger map

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October 2011
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