PAGSANJAN, LAGUNA: MORE THAN JUST THE FALLS AND THE RAPIDS

MANILA, September 4, 2003  (MALAYA) MISSED out on the latest beach outing of the barkada? Not content to just staying home and watching VCDs? Bored and still craving for that ultimate fun and adventure? Don't fret. Just because it's already the rainy season doesn't mean you can't sneak out of the urban jungle and share a weekend of fun with your family and friends nowadays.

For a truly exciting outdoor activity this rainy season, you can check out the La Corona de Pagsanjan (www.lacorona.com) in Laguna, which is just a short 2-hours drive from Manila via the South Expressway. Aside from offering a majestic view of the mystical Pagsanjan falls, the La Corona de Pagsanjan also lets you experience the fun and excitement of shooting the rapids going to Pagsanjan falls. Or windsurfing, fishing, swimming and jet-skiing at the nearby Caliraya Lake, and exploring Nagcarlan's famous underground cemetery that serves as burial ground for this town's ancestral people. For deeply religious souls, church visitations in the towns of Pagsanjan, Mabitac, Majayjay and Pakil may also be arranged.

If the above activities still don't make you keyed up, then there's also the exciting Ropes Adventure Challenge being offered at La Corona de Pagsanjan. Unknown to many, this highly secluded resort-hotel actually boasts of 4.5 hectares of sprawling trails, landscapes and campsites. Its exceptionally-designed outdoor facilities is also perfect for thrilling high and low element activities that include crossing 40-feet high cable wires, balancing on V-shaped cable courses, passing through pint-sized hotels in an oversized spider's web and climbing up greasy poles just like in palosebo games during fiesta celebrations, but this one is tougher.

There are also events that would require participants to stand straight near the edge of an elevated platform and then fall backwards. Other exhilarating events include going up and down a 25-foot hanging ladder, jumping off a 45-foot ramp and sliding on air while attached to a safety harness overhead, traversing a 20-foot log suspected between two 40-feet high posts, and going through an obstacle course while blindfolded.

This outdoor challenge consist mostly of team events with either a pair or an individual doing most of the tasks while the rest of the team members act as safety nets or belayers. These series of engaging activities, however, is not called the Ropes Adventure Challenge for nothing. Aside form all the fun, there are also a number of positive values that may be derived from each activity. These are effective communications, acceptance of roles in a team, patience, planning, commitment, self-confidence, trust, coordination, cooperation, discipline, determination, and focus.

Here's a quick look at some of these activities:

Blind Man's Trail: a paired event where one player guides a blindfolded teammate through an obstacle course. What makes it a not-so-easy task is the fact that only the guide could talk, no two-way communication allowed. A highlight value here of course, is trust and the importance of an effective communications strategy.

Low V: a paired event where two participants are asked to balance out one another while traversing a V-shaped cable course that's about three feet high. The objective is for both players to reach as far as they can go on top of the cable. The underlying principle here is the value of effective communications.

Tension Traverse: a paired event where two players, with the aid of a medium-sized rope, try to balance themselves while crossing a high-tension cable. Both players start from opposite directions then exchange ropes at midpoint. The aim is for both players to successfully cross the cable until they reach the other end. It is important to always keep one's focus, which is the main highlight value here.

Spider's Web: a team, event where people are passed through different sized holes in an over-sized spider's web. The objective is for all team members to get through the other side of the net without touching the web, but you could only use a hole once. A highlight value here, of course, is the importance of planning. Without it, any task could really be unmanageable.

High Y: a paired event where participants need to traverse a V-shaped cable wire. As the name suggests, the wires are located on top of a mount that's far above the ground - two 40-feet high posts, to be exact. While holding on to the opposite ends of a balancing rope, the pair crosses the wire as they act to counter-balance one another. In this part, no one can reach the other end without the help of his partner. Not without cooperation and partnership, that is.

Slide for Life: an individual event where a participant jumps off a 45-foot high ramp and slides on air while attached to a safety harness overhead. Like in life, it's usually so much easier to be always on the safe side (landing) than to be on top of things (view from above). A key value here is self-confidence.

Team Wall: a team event where the members get everyone on top of a 12-foot high vertical wall within a given period of time. Those who have gone to the top also needs to come down but they can no longer assist in carrying the remaining members to the top. In this event, all previous lessons learned apply: from trust, effective communications to careful planning and execution aided by proper cooperation and partnership.

According to Marc Gaņa, ropes course safety instructor, the course being offered at La Corona today is a take-off from the more rigid and dangerous military training courses but it was toned down with more safety measures. "The Ropes Adventure Challenge," he says, "has been adapted more for corporate training, with well-engineered structures following safety guidelines and designs based on US and British standards." "We also use imported safety gears such as harness, carabs, helmet, gloves and ropes," he adds.

When first introduced in the Philippines, in 1999, the program was initially made available only to managers and senior executives. But after realizing the potential of the course both as a values-formation and as a team-building medium for all types of people, the ropes course was eventually expanded to include every member of an organization.

Today, the program is considered as an effective mechanism for fostering camaraderie among employees. It has also proven to be a great tool for unifying people coming from varying cultures. Every team-building exercise that forms part of the course could also extend to serious business projects that can, in turn, provide business outputs and organizational benefits.

Interested to get booked already? Call 747-1270/635-7499 and ask for a stay in paradise or check out the La Corona de Pagsanjan (www.lacorona.com), where the fun never ends...


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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