You might be wondering what the heck is Runway 32 and where exactly is it found?
Well, Runway 32 is simply what it is, a 5334 ft long airstrip located in Barangay Dahican in Mati, the capital city of the province of Davao Oriental in the Philippines. It is the only airport in Davao Oriental.
Interestingly, during the heydays of the Marcos regime, this was famously called the Imelda R. Marcos Airport, perhaps due to the impulsive whim and scandalous vagary of the former iron lady who had things done, whether it will serve its purpose or not for as long as the project is named after her.
The airstrip with its lone, now worn out terminal building fronting a tarmac for plane parking, loading, unloading, boarding and deplaning was never really fully utilized for commercial purposes as domestic flights are available to and from Davao City.
Needless to say Imelda’s project never took off in Mati.
However, what is successfully taking off at the moment and helping make Mati City soar high up in the air again, as far as tourism is concern, is the ingenious idea of some Davao folks who founded the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) for recreational purposes while suitably utilizing Runway 32 for what it was constructed for and for riders to enjoy the scenic beauty of the city and its surroundings like no one has seen before in exhilarating and breathtaking open cockpit ultra light planes and the like, especially when talking about the Sleeping Dinosaur Island, resort places and the famous Dahikan Beach with its 17-kilometer pure, fine white sand shore.
A must see in Mati is also the city’s Subangan Museum, where it showcases a great mixture of rich cultural and natural heritage thru its displays. It also houses the fossil of a 50-foot long sperm whale that was found by fishermen in 2010.
But the reason really why I am writing about this piece is because I simply want to share with you the experience and fun me we all had at MSFC. I was with my wife, Paz, our daughter Angie, with her husband Rodin and daughters Amaya and Mayumi. Yumi, who is just 6 years old, had the guts to fly with her Tito King, while older sister Amaya was just contented taxiing on the airstrip.
Iñaki (T. King) incidentally is the one managing MSFC. Next year, he says, MSFC will not only be a recreational club but will be a licensed flying school at the same time for small aircrafts.
(For more of MSFC you can go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/MindanaoSagaFlyingClub/photos/)
Enjoy the photos.