Zipline adventure at Salvador Benedicto

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

FROM its soft opening last October 18, the one-kilometer Everest zipline in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, the longest and highest zipline in the Philippines, has drawn hundreds of adventure seekers.

Mt. Everest Expedition team leader Arturo Valdez, who owns and operates the outdoor facility, said the zipline, which is more than 1,000 feet high, has become an added attraction to the summer capital of the province.

It will take about a minute and 20 seconds on the average for a one to take off from Barangay Igmayaan and land in Barangay Tuburan, he said.


In terms of safety factor, Valdez said it is four times safer than other ziplines in the country and in other places.

Valdez, who was with his family, including wife former Bacolod Joy Valdez, during the media visit in Salvador Benedicto recently, said people from Bacolod and other parts of Negros and even from Iloilo are drawn to the zipline adventure.

“They come here to experience an exciting zipline ride, and the arrival of people is non-stop,” he said.

At any given day, about 30 persons come to the site.

“We try to make them experience a pleasurable and enjoyable ride as possible. We can accommodate about 50 to 60 persons a day,” Valdez said.

To those who want to enjoy the ride more, this is his advice: “Keep your eyes wide open to see the view below – the river, rice terraces, the winding road which makes Salvador Benedicto one of the most exciting places to visit.”

Valdez said they plan to install next year another zipline, this time about 700 meters. The ride will be from Tuburan going back to Igmayaan just below the Everest Zipline and Café.

If Salvador Benedicto becomes fully developed, he said, people can come to the mountain municipality to experience the zipline and then go camping, swimming and trekking.

Valdez said they build ziplines at par with world standards in terms of safety.

Safety is their number one consideration, he said, adding that they use oversized cables in setting up the ride.

Salvador Benedicto Mayor Jose Max Ortiz had earlier said they are positioning Salvador Benedicto as a tourism capital to increase municipal revenues.

The town is a 40- to 50-minute drive from the Bacolod City Government Center on a regular speed.

“The view is breathtaking, panoramic and it is affordable to come here,” Valdez said. “People who come here say they feel that they are in a different place. This can be even much better than Tagaytay although it has Taal Lake.”

Ortiz had also said they plan to put up a cable car going to the waterfalls.

Moreover, Valdez said a zipline party can be held in the area where participants aged 10 to 15 years old will be taught basic mountaineering and survival training.

“They will also have a chance to trek to the waterfalls. We should develop in children the love for the outdoor life. Children nowadays are hooked on computers, we want to bring back the love for the outdoors. This is the purpose of the Everest zipline,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 08, 2014.


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