Puerto Princesa is famously known for its moniker ‘City in a Forest’ as it is nestled in the province of Palawan, located at the far western side of the Philippines. The province is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, pristine white sand beaches, crystal waters and a profusion of flora and fauna.
Although Palawan prides itself with astonishing natural wonders, the island province extends more than just luscious greens and strong shades of blues. More than its undeniably beautiful landscape, there’s more to Palawan than meets the eye.
Besides the usual island hopping, dolphin watching, underground river touring, sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling activities, Palawan has recently became a haven for kiteboarding.
Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is a surface watersport similar to wakeboarding but uses a controllable kite to harness the power of the wind across the water while pulling you around on a board. For experienced kite boarders, the thrill of this watersport is unlike any other. From sailing around the ever-beautiful beaches of the country to perfect execution of wake style tricks, this sport is definitely just as exciting!
Kiteboarding made its way to the Philippines 12 years ago in the island of Boracay but not only until a few years ago that the activity has arrived at the island of Palawan. The watersport activity in Palawan may be regarded as still being in its early stage but more and more places across the province have started offering kiteboarding activities and classes.
One can choose among four kiteboarding destinations in the province. From the northernmost island of Coron to the neighboring islands of Linapacan and Cuyo, to the municipality of El Nido and recently to the capital city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan province is slowly becoming one of the best kiteboarding destinations in the country.
Before anyone can go kiteboarding, one needs to have some wind. Luckily, Philippines is blessed with trade winds. These monsoon trade winds, referred to as “Habagat” and “Amihan,” determine the kiteboarding season. “Habagat” or Summer Southwest Monsoon blows in from May to October, while “Amihan” or Winter Northeast Monsoon hits from November to April.
The best time to kiteboard in Puerto Princesa for both beginners and advanced is when the Northeast wind speeds up between the months of November and April. It is at this time of the year when you can experience a wafting wind ranging from 12 to 15 knots but sometimes can get from 20 to 30 knots.
My First Kiteboarding Session
We arrived just before 9am and were greeted by the resort’s front office staff. We booked our beginner kiteboarding lesson and waited until the instructor arrived. Good thing was morning is actually the best time to try the beginner lesson as the water is still low and the wind is mild. We went to the kiteboarding shop to choose our aqua shoes and harnesses, and also long sleeves and pants to protect us from the sun. When we finished priming for this exciting activity we head straight to the beach.
The kite had already been setup and was held by our instructor, Victoria. And so my first ever beginner kiteboarding lesson began.
After learning the basic parts, we went to fly a trainer kite to gain some fundamental skills on how to control the kite. This is when the fun starts to kick in and mind you, I was able to kick off those jittery bugs. Upon taking hold of the steer, I was more than determined to start it right away thinking it will be easy but my excitement got the better of me.
Victoria said that it is only because we are beginners that we had to look at the kite. Once accustomed to the steering and movements, like the experienced kiteboarders, there will be no need to look at the kite. You just know and feel where the kite will be. I tended to pull the bar too much when the kite wasn’t following my steers that I ended up crashing it a few times and landing on water, it was all part of the fun.
After getting the hang of it, we moved on to the second part of the game. At this point in time, it was getting tougher. The wind was already at its peak at this time and we had to be on our game and control the kite to the best of our abilities. This was the toughest part of our session because now I could feel the wind hitting the kite and it was really powerful. I was dancing to the tune of nature and it felt great skimming across the shallow waters!
It was almost lunch when we ended the session and decided to grab food at the restaurant and take a dip in the pool to enjoy the nice view, blazing heat of the sun, combined with the cresting blowy wind.
We didn’t think twice to strike some Instagram-worthy poses, never minding that there were guests chilling on their sun beds. Then proceeded to swim and talk about our first kiteboarding experience. It was both fulfilling and amusing on our part how something so easy to watch actually takes a lot of time to learn.
From the pool, we could see the kiteboarders already showing off their skills and tricks. We couldn’t help but think how much fun it would be when it is our time to already go on a board along with maneuvering the kite. Sometimes you just can’t help but think how do they do it? How can they gracefully do something that is tough? Well, I guess the only answer is to practice and learn with your whole heart until you don’t even have to look at the kite anymore.
I can’t say that I completely know now how to control the kite but I’m pretty sure I need a lot more lessons! I never thought that kiteboarding would be hard to learn and that it takes a lot of physical strength and motivation to finally master maneuvering the kite. Overall, it was a fun first time experience and I wouldn’t mind getting a few more sessions to finally learn the ropes and get the hang of it. For those who are into extreme sports, kiteboarding might be a good idea to try while you’re in the island of Palawan.