The other day, I had the chance to do something very cool here in Dumaguete in the Philippines. It’s also something that’s been on my Bucket List for a long time – take a private charter flight. In fact, I had seen signs for Royhle Charter Airlines at the Sibulan Airport here and even a few advertisements around town, but didn’t think much of it. After all, they were advertising a flight from Dumaguete to the nearby island of Sijiour (you can easily see it from Dumaguete’s port, and it only takes one hour to get there on the ferry) but it cost 1,999 Pesos – about $40 for only a 10-minute flight!
Flying Royhle Air
But on a whim, I did email Royhle Air, and they gave me a few options. I thought it would be easier to go visit their office to get info, which is right outside the airport parking lot near the Finish Line Café, and I’m ecstatic that I did.
I ended up signing up for a recreational tour of Dumaguete and its coastline. In total, they only charge the same 1,999 Pesos for this nearly one-hour flight (it feels like WAY longer!). While that may seem like significant money, think about how fast we blow through $40 on dinners, drinks, transportation, or buying other nick nacks and bullshit – when we could be spending it on a once in a lifetime crazy flying experience.
I booked my flight for 4 PM on a Thursday to catch the sunset (but it’s usually best to take the flight in the morning when it’s most clear and less windy). It was even amazing just walking up to the Royhle office instead of entering the airport, and then taking the pilot’s moto through a field as a shortcut to their hanger. I got to stand out there and take pictures as the maintenance crew readied the aircraft, and the pilot told me all about their fleet, their operation, and the flight we were about to take.
I got in the Cessna 182 and realized it was probably more narrow than a standard car front seat! The plane and even the propeller seemed so small, so it was an awesome feeling as we roared down the runway and then lifted off effortlessly. The pilot brought us up to about 600 feet and rook a hard right to follow the coastline. First, we flew low enough over Dumaguete’s coastline that I could make out each individual building and even traffic. Then, over the yellow building of Robinson’s Mall, over lush green jungle with the mountain ranges out our right window, and over each beach resort in Dauin. After that, he banked left over the open water, and 10 minutes later we were arriving at the famous Apo Island. He took a slow and low loop around the island, and the photos and videos of this whole trip are incredible – far better than any drone can take.
It was a little windy that day, so he kept us at 1,000 feet instead of lower for safety, and there was a little turbulence on the trip back home. But he slowed down from about 100 mph to only 50 mph for our landing and came in feathery smooth.
Royhle Air is incredible, and now I’m addicted to taking recreational flights – and I’ll definitely call them first next time I have $40 I want to spend on something worthwhile!