Skydiving in Vigan: I Did It & Here's How You Can Do It Too

Skydiving in Vigan: I Did It & Here’s How You Can Do It Too

Skydiving in Vigan is one hell of an adventure you should add in your bucket list! Take it from this Vietnamese expat.

Contributed by The Yellow Monkey Traveler

Have you ever wondered how it feels like jumping out of the aircraft at 10,000 ft? Here’s my story:

skydiving viganFree falling is not as scary as it sounds

I have been in the Philippines for almost one and a half months as an expat and like most of the other expats here, I work, eat, sleep in Metro Manila – one of the busiest cities in the world. Like anyone else who lives and works in Metro Manila, all I want for the weekend is a place that allows me to escape the hassle traffic and polluted air in the mega city. Besides that, I have a craving for new things. Therefore, I decided to do something that I cannot do in my home country – Vietnam.

The search was on and I bumped into an interesting article about skydiving in Cebu, which was not an ideal option for me since I can only travel during the weekends with a limited budget. Then, I discovered these guys – Skydive Greater Vigan (you can see their contact below of this article) – who are new in Vigan but they have been operating in Cebu for quite a long time.

Vigan is only 400km north of Manila. It is an ancient city with hundreds of years of history, but all I care is the jump. I can just take an overnight bus and be there for the jump in the morning. So I went on with the reservation and prepared for the jump.

Also read: My Bucket List-Worthy Skydiving Experience in Iba, Zambales

How much to skydive in Vigan?

Okay, now it comes to the most popular question after the comment ‘wow, so cool’ when people hear about skydiving: how much does it cost to risk your life plummeting to the ground in the speed of 200 km/hr?

In Skydive Greater Vigan, they offer a package of ₱18,000 (~US$ 391) which includes the equipment, a tandem jump, the flight to the right attitude, and photo/videos. Note that you cannot bring your own camera, for safety reason, only skydivers with C-grade license can bring their camera to the sky.

Me and Brad before the jump. Don’t trust the smile, it’s fake. The ones during the free fall are real.

Àfter the jump, if you feel like you will do it regularly later on, you can always sign up for the AFF lessons which will take you through ground training and several more tandem dives and end up with a solo dive. This will cost you ₱120,000 (~US$ 2,600). At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate from the United States Parachute Association that allows you to do the solo jump in any legal drop zone in the world. Any AFF course will start with a Tandem Jump, you can deduct the jump that you’ve just made into the course. When you already have your license, everything gets a lot cheaper. You only have to pay ₱3,500 (~US$ 76) for your solo jump.

There are different alternative options in the Philippines which offer something around ₱12,000 (~US$ 260) but according to my research, their equipment is so obsolete that they are not used anywhere else anymore. Further discussion with my skydiving instructor revealed that Skydive Greater Vigan is the only place that offers AFF instructor in the Philippines – which means they are qualified and certified. There are other facilities which let people without AFF instructor certificate to guide you on the sky and there were people getting killed due to the instructor’s shortage of experience handling mid-air problems. My recommendation: if you are doing some extreme activities, do it with a pro and qualified one. It is not worth saving a few bucks over your beautiful life.

When is the best time to make the jump?

Best time to skydive in the Philippines would be from November and May, anytime before / after the rain and storm season (June to October). Even when you are already at the airfield, also expect to postpone your jump due to the weather conditions or government regulation (sometimes they create a no flight zone for sudden military exercises).

How to get to Vigan from Manila?

If you are living in Makati, as I am, take the Partas bus to Vigan, it will take you around 8-10 hours depending on the traffic. The terminal is at Pasay, 10 minutes taxi ride from Makati. They have buses going to Vigan in day time and also night time. For me, I just took the bus on a Friday night and arrived right on time at Vigan for the jump at 8am. The ticket would be between ₱600 – ₱800 (~US$ 13 – 17) for one way. You might want to buy or book your ticket ahead through phone (Partas Pasay Terminal: +63 2 2 851 4025), since the terminal is always crowded. Even at 3am, it might be hard to get a ticket for your scheduled ride if you don’t arrive early.

After getting to the Partas terminal in Vigan, you will have to make another 15 minutes tricycle ride to Mindoro Airfield, which will be the place the jump happens. The tricycle costs should be ₱70 to ₱100 (~US$ 1 -2) depending on your bargaining skill.


I arrived at the Mindoro airport early and met up with another dude named Mon, who was also waiting to do the jump. As it turned out later, Mon’s also an adventurous guy and we became friends after the jump, hoping we could discover some other places together.

It was not long before Brad, our skydiving instructor showed up with the equipment and a cheerful smile on his face. Brad has been jumping out of the plane for 19 years and he’s a funny guy, but you cannot expect a guy who does skydiving for living to be a boring guy, right? He also has a United States Parachute Association (USPA) instructor certificate. They gave us the waiver to sign and we signed our initials on some injury and death clauses on the contract.

After the paperwork, now it came to the most interesting part of the day – skydiving. Brad carefully explained to us how the equipment works in different situations that we might bump into in the air. Brad seems like a cowboy when you first speak to him but when it comes to his work, he is a responsible and careful skydiving instructor. From the ground to the air, he explained and provided guidance through every necessary step clearly and made sure we were safe in the best way that we could be.

After the brief training, we were ready to go. I and Mon suited up with the gears. Mon was here first so he made the first jump. Then I came 2nd. The airfield siren went off as the plane started moving. I waved at Mon from a distance signalling him everything was gonna be okay, as I was talking to myself.

Jumping out of the plane

To be honest, I was freaking nervous behind all the smile I put on my face back then. It’s not like I had an experience whatsoever in jumping off an aircraft before. It was absolutely one hell of an item in my bucket list but it felt a little bit different when sitting in an ascending plane knowing a few minutes later, I would jump off the aircraft, and if the canopy malfunctioned, I would be going home probably in pieces. Sometimes my imagination goes too far. However, no matter what, I was determined to take the jump that day.

The plane gradually gained its attitude. It took around 15-20 minutes for the plane to reach 10,000 ft. Brad signalled me to get prepared by leaning forward for him to hook up the cables attaching me to him. There are four of them, and one of them would be always hooked so if anything happens during the flight, you can still make the emergency jump with the instructor. After that, we climbed out of the plane. The moment I put my body out of the plane, I felt the wind coming up on my body really strong. The adrenaline rushed to my brain, I could even hear my heart beat in the wind. Brad picked the jump spot and asked if I was ready. I nodded and then Brad made a santo move to start the jump.

Also read: Leap off a Plane: 10 Stunning Places Around the World for Skydiving

skydiving in viganSkydiving can bring you the feeling of flying, just remember to release the canopy on time 🙂

I got that weird feeling in my stomach for the first few seconds of the jump. After about 3-5 seconds, I just couldn’t stop smiling and doing all the funny gestures with the feeling of flying. The feeling is probably one of the best in my life so far. All the worries back in plane were completely gone with the adrenaline rush and the beautiful view that I could only see on TV. I was free falling faster and faster every second. The view got even better now that there was no obstruction, plus it was a sunny day.

By the time we were at around 5,000 feet, it was time to pull. Brad looked at his attitude parameter and pulled the trigger to release the canopy. The feeling was like hitting the brakes while driving a really fast car. The parachuting was a little less thrilling but it was definitely fun in its own way, maybe because I knew the parachute did open and I wasn’t gonna die after all.

We were gliding with the wind and Brad let me drive for a bit. He showed me a cool trick that you can go whirl around by pulling one side of the canopy. After a couple of minutes of gliding, we finally approached the landing site. I did exactly what Brad told and we landed safely on the ground. I looked at Brad when we were detached and envied the guy, he gets to have the best office in the world – the sky!

skydiving viganThe canopy ride is super enjoyable with the spectacular view

I rode a 10-hour trip to make an approximately 40 secs of free falling + around 6-7 minutes of canopy riding, but it’s totally worth it, and I would definitely do it again. I am interested in a solo certificate but I cannot do much with it in Vietnam since there is simply no available drop zone in Vietnam at the moment. Let’s see how it goes in the future.

Also read: 15 Incredible Outdoor Adventures to Conquer in the Philippines

In summary

If you are planning to do it and still afraid of falling down to the surface of the earth, trust me, this will rank first in the best moments of your life. For first timers, fear is part of the experience. You just have to step up (along with the skydiving instructor of course), overcome your fear and enjoy the best scene in front of your own eyes. My only note is that whoever the skydiving instructor you choose, make sure they have enough experience to deal with the tandem jump and take a look at the equipment they use. Don’t be afraid to ask about their equipment or experiences, it’s your life up there! Happy skydiving!

Skydive Greater Vigan
Address: Mindoro Airport Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Region, Philippines
Email: [email protected] | Tel: 0917 7690504

About Author

Tony Phan
Tony Phan

Tony is a Vietnamese who is staying & working in the Philippines. Born in a communist country that has just opened recently, he is eager to make his adventurous journey to absorb the beauty of the diverse cultures as well as nature from all around the world and conveys how that has changed his life through The Yellow Monkey Traveler.


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