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PUGAD: Extreme Northern Adventure Like No Other

PUGAD: Extreme Northern Adventure Like No Other

Visit PUGAD in La Union to experience some real thrills
By Lorela U. Sandoval

Caught between wanting to take a step into the real experience and fearing what the real experience may take her, acrophobic writer Lorela U. Sandoval took a leap into a world of adventure where fear and death are concepts unknown and non-existent, and it was called PUGAD.

Much has been said about La Union --beach destination and haven, surfing capital and gateway to the North, among others. But while these references hold true and strong today, the Pugo Adventure or PUGAD presents itself as a new heart-stopper that is just out of the ordinary.

The Experience

For someone who has lived almost all her life in a beach town in La Union without really crossing the boundaries of extreme adventure, PUGAD is a far cry from my character. Save for trekking, ATV driving, and pool plunging, PUGAD's ziplines, wall climbing, rappelling and free fall activities are just not my cup of tea. However, my first-hand experience has twisted the whole thing around.

Located at Kagaling, Palina in the municipality of Pugo, La Union, I can attest that the quietness and remoteness of PUGAD is just right for the deafening screams and sharp curses that you may emit as you push yourself (and occasionally fall on the ground). Your fear, as it echoes in the expanse, seems to encompass the entire experience. Amazingly, though, you gradually lose it along the way without even noticing, as if you have never gone through fear at all. Once you conquer your fears, you will feel proud - and perhaps think you could go back for more.

The pool is, definitely, a welcome breather after the fun but terrifying ordeal, located below the three ziplines and allowing you to ponder how you and others like you were able to survive. You soon realize that PUGAD is beyond a senselessly mad adventure. It is an intense experience that goes further than the ordinary concept of fun and adventure. You just have to try it to know how it feels, and you'll soon realize that it is a precious and amusing experience, after all.

Safety and Security

Before any visitor zooms through the ziplines, assigned staff members always conduct a test ride or jump to ensure that the attraction's condition is safe. A safety briefing is also provided. All structures, gadgets, and gear go through a series of safety and security checks and maintenance every end of the month. Employees have training in Basic Life Support and Standard First Aid. An ambulance is on standby for any emergencies. Rules and regulations are strictly implemented and followed, because safety comes first for the PUGAD staff.

Without a doubt, PUGAD freed me from my fear of heights, death or near-death, and of fear itself - all thanks to that daring ride, leap, and climb that changed it all.

You can visit http://pugoadventure.multiply.com/ for more details.

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A signboard plastered on the wall tells you have reached your destination. Welcome to PUGAD!

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Not a thrill-seeker? The pool gives you an alternative way to relax and enjoy your own brand of water fun.

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PUGAD is for adults and children alike. Here's a sturdy mini-play pen for kiddos who may be looking for other ways to entertain themselves.

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Several kubos provide visitors a space to convene and dine.

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The hanging bridge becomes an added attraction to visitors as it connects the main area to the extension yet to be completely developed.

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Up for rough driving? Then an ATV or a Buggy just might be your thing.

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If you have come to PUGAD for some real thrills, then you might want to check out their rules and regulations first.

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Their harnesses, carabiners, slings, ropes and other gear are dependable, sturdy, branded, and top-of-the-line safeguards. 

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A helmet or head gear is a must for protection.

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Geared up before taking my ride, while interviewing Ms. Kathleen Ira Martin, one of the three siblings who run the family-owned business.

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A member of the staff shows how to tie the rider up for utmost safety.

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Riding a pick-up truck that brought us to the area where Zipline 1 is located.

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A short hike up the hill to the point of origin of Zipline 1.

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As I reached the top, I felt the cold breeze and briefly forgot my fear.

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Zipline 1's point of origin. We waited for cues of the staff from both points, as they coordinated with each other.

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So there I was in Zipline 1, the longest zipline in the North at 400 meters long and 250 feet high. I was all smiles, but truth is, I was nervous as hell while I zoomed through from one hill to the other.

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Zipline 2, not the longest but the fastest among the three ziplines in Pugad. It measures 250 meters long and 100 meters high.

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At Zipline 2, you're no longer doing a Superman stunt. This time, you literally sit and enjoy the fast ride.

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Zipline 3 is the smooth, slow, and relaxed ride. After surviving the two ziplines, you no longer fear this. It also measures about 250 meters long.

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Besides if all else fails in Zipline 3, see that cable wire that crosses above the pool? All you have got to worry about is plunging in the pool for an instant swim--without your swimming gear.

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A Pugad staff member does a stunt in Zipline 3.

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High, but not that high--so I thought. After ziplining, I thought this was peanuts. But when I was up there, I was totally wrong.

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Getting my own dose of wall climbing, and it involved a lot of sweats and sighs. It was a tough climb for a first-timer like me. And it was a weight-loss experience, really.

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As I stood there at the brink, for rappelling, fear started to envelop me. Can I do this, can I do this? I kept asking myself and the staff.

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One last stop of my afternoon adventure: the unforgettable free fall that I feared more than zipline. I was about to give up as I saw the height below me. "Oh, it's high! Don't let go!" My screams and curses here and there. I couldn't let go of Ms. Kathleen's hands, but I knew I had to eventually...

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... And just fall freely as my eyes were closed. The technical team controls and supports you, so you just feel a stop somewhere. I opened my eyes and discovered Iwasn't crushed, but hanging a few feet above the ground.

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Engr. Angelito Hedaro, who has been in the profession of providing ziplines for over 15 years, showed me how a master jumper does it. Bravo!
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