Flying the Xcelerator

With almost an entire day to kill before heading to the airport for my 7pm flight back to Manila, I decided to try out the Xcelerator, reputedly Asia’s longest zipline beating out the one set-up in Ko Samui in Thailand.  That it is located in Davao is not surprising as the city, with its expansive forested areas and and nature-themed parks is filled with zip lines. The only zipline I tried was at Macahambus in Cagayan de Oro which came part of our white-water rafting package.  The canopy walk led us to the wooden platform from where we would zip down to the park entrance.  It was a short line and I think it lasted only about less than 10 minutes.  The Xcelerator was almost a kilometer long and though not the highest in Davao (that reputation belongs to the one in Zip City), it was also supposed to be the fastest at 100k/hour.

Run by Outland Adventure, the facility is about 20 minutes outside the city proper and since transport options is difficult, I opted to hire a cab to bring me there, wait for me, and bring me back to my hotel.  Since the park opens at 1pm on Sundays, I opted to be there at exactly 1 to beat the crowd. The driver mistakenly took me to Zip City which was empty.  We finally found the small side road near the GAP Farm that led to Outland.  “It looks abandoned,” the cabbie said.  Then 2 guys emerged from a trail carrying some equipment.  I was the first customer of the day which means first on the zipline.  I paid 300 bucks and was given a number. Two others arrived and three of us were put in harnesses (I chose the seated position while the other two chose the superman position) and briefed.  We were told of its safety features and that we should not be alarmed when we hear three popping noises as that would be the break system slowing us down.  Then we were off to the short trail to the river.

We pulled ourselves on a raft across the river to the trail head. This is probably the most difficult part of the experience.  Depending on your fitness level, the steep hike could take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.  If you’re feeling jittery about zipping, by the time you get to the top you’d be so tired to even think about getting nervous.  I reached the platform and rested a few minutes then the guy hooked me to the cable.  Everything seemed to professionally done with people communicating to the stations via short-wave radio, checking and double-checking on straps and carabiners.  I was asked to sit on the platform and when ready just count down to three.

Up Up and Away

I had a tablet of Xenor in my pocket in case I get an anxiety attack. But I was cool.  Besides, I figured, with only about 20 seconds zipping time, by the time my Xenor acts, I would be back at the starting point anyway.  So with my  water bottle  looped through my cable and my camera  in video mode, I was ready to fly.   “Count to 3 then go,” commanded the guide. I laughed nervously  then counted “3 – 2  – 1!.”  Nothing happened.  The guys laughed.  I  was expecting to be pushed just liked in  Macahambus.  I was supposed to slide of fthe platform.  So I did and away I went.  It was awesome!  In the middle  of the zip, I turned so my back was towards the end of the line.  Three popping noises later and I was on the platform with a guy guiding me how to get down safely.  It was over too soon.  I rushed back to the registration booth, paid 150 bucks for a second ride and this time, was harnessed up for  the superman position.  Three other people were waiting on the raft for me.  I quickly hiked up to the trail to be them so I could go ahead.  It was even more awesome!  I came barreling down the line screaming “Superman!” I wanted another one but that would be another 150.  If only I had known it would be really fun and there wouldn’t be any waiting time due to low traffic, I would have paid the Php 500 unlimited package which includes the cable line walk.

Back at the starting point, I paid for some pictures (100 bucks per pic; buy 3 pics and you get to have soft copies saved but you have to bring your own usb disks or memory card) and bought a souvenir t-shirt.

The Xcelerator is definitely worth the time to visit.  Never at any point did I feel unsafe or not taken-cared of.  The staff were really very friendly and nice and acted very professionally.  The girl at the registration booth said that most people come in around 3pm.  Next time, I’m gonna take the unlimited package.  The only downside of course is going up the trail but as the girl said, “it helps you burn calories.”  At least if you’re in a big group and there are people before you, you can always make a quick dash up to the platform and while everyone is catching their breath you can go ahead and be the first one to zip 🙂

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