Above the islands like a bird: Southeast Asia remains a paradise for drone enthusiasts

Martin Hajek
April 11, 2022 • 06:20

photo: Martin Hajek

The icing on the cake is the relatively benevolent rules for piloting small drones, and above all the almost non-existent resentment of the locals against the annoying buzzing in the sky. It doesn’t matter if you go to India, Thailand or Indonesia. Rather than disturbing the peace, privacy, GDPR, and similar modern conveniences of our western civilization, locals will turn to you here with an aerial photo request or just a simple interest in the weird thing that flies.

An example is the popular Philippines with 7641 respectable islands. You could say what an island is unique, and describing the character of each would last a lifetime. The Philippines is extremely diverse in many ways, yet easily recognizable. It’s beautiful to see from the air. On the slopes of the Cordillera mountain range, the most common color on your screen will be green – the incredible rice terraces vie with impenetrable rainforests for a piece of land here, and you’ll rarely come across bigger signs. of civilization. In contrast, in the Bacuit Archipelago, where the small islands are too numerous to count, the predominantly blue and turquoise shades of the sea, combined with gray limestone rocks, will predominate. Fly a little east to Bohol Island and you will see a fantastic landscape of hundreds of brown “chocolate hills”. And that’s how I was able to continue for a long time… So let’s fly through the most beautiful corners of the Philippines as the crow flies.

Illegal gold mining in the Philippines or diving in deadly mud for a shiny piece of metal

Olof Jarlbro March 5, 2019 • 1:29 p.m.

Batad – rice terraces and skull hunter

Have you ever interviewed a century-old skull hunter about cock wrestlers and modern technology? I experienced this clash of cultures in the north of the island of Luzon. All he had to do was take off from the paddy field near the small village, and by the time the drone swept across the horizon, the elder was already there, begging for a backyard with his fighting cocks. Our communication was very rough at the beginning, because so far there is no electricity in the village, let alone 21st century technology, but in the end it ended to the delight of the two parts. My grandfather had a movie he could show his rivals at games, and I had a story that won’t be forgotten.

This unconventional experience took place on the rice terraces of Batad, one of the most beautiful in the world. They were built 2,000 years ago by Ifugao people and are one of the few places where human intervention in nature has created something more beautiful than the original. There are no roads, only stairs and narrow paths. All day you pass hunched people pedaling huge stairs with heavy scissors on their backs. Life here is not easy, but you will not forget the purity of the people and the peace and quiet that reigns here.

Paradise archipelago named Philippines or Beyond the natural beauty of the islands of Cebu, Bohol,…

Honza Cermak March 13, 2020 • 2:01 PM

Snake Island – jaw-dropping fake for Robinsons

The Philippines is famous for its white sand beaches and unusual black sands. These natural formations are absolutely breathtaking, but to truly realize their uniqueness, you need to view them from above. However, it is not recommended to take off with the drone directly from the sand. It may happen that your landing zone returns to sea level within minutes. A fine example is the island of Vigan – a sandy promontory almost a kilometer long, accessible by a short boat ride from the island of Palawan. As the tide alternates, the shape of the island changes daily, and at high tide often only a patch of land with a few palm trees remains in the sea. In such a paradise, however, few would object to playing the Robinsons for at least a day or two.

Ati-Atihan: A popular holiday in the Philippines full of color and energy has a surprise…

Tomas Svoboda March 4, 2020 • 12:43

El Nido – discoverer at least for a while!

Probably the most spectacular coastal scenery is found around the town of El Nido in northern Palawan. Here, massive cliffs overgrown with greenery rise from the clear waters of the sea, as if cut from the film The lost World.

I have always dreamed of discovering a white space on the map that has never been documented before. There are fewer and fewer of them, but thanks to the dexterity of Chinese engineers churning out little flying miracles on a remote control, literally anyone can come close to that dream today.

However, during my little expedition into the unknown, I had to take risks and entrust my life in the hands of two boys barely twenty years old, captains of a small boat. bangkawhich was to take us to places untouched by tourists. As I have learned, many local pilots have lived off piracy in the past. In the end, however, the risk was outweighed by a spectacular reward in the form of truly unique views and, as I had hoped, perhaps places that have never been photographed. In the end, it also turned out that the threat of losing an expensive drone was a greater danger than hackers. Due to the surrounding beauty, it is very easy to forget that the maximum flight time is only 30 minutes, and the bad habit of “squeezing” the battery to the last drop may take off when piloting at above the sea.

Fire Mummies: A Journey to the Tattooed Guardians of the Philippines Mountains

Tereza Hrazdírová April 21, 2017 • 12:20 p.m.

Bohol – inland charm and pretty tourist traps

Most trekkers will head to Bohol Island to visit the famous Chocolate Hills landscape or track unique endemic tarsiers. However, Bohol is bound to explore the unpopular hinterland with quiet villages and stunning waterfalls. You have to stumble over some of them for more than an hour, but such a bath in the jungle is worth it! However, I also have to admit a weakness for the typical tourist trap. This is a cruise on the Loboc River. A massive barge laden with tourists and tables with a heap of average food to the sad melodies of the below average ship’s orchestra flows lazily through the exotic landscape. You can’t think about it, just experience it! In my defense, however, I want to mention that some unconventional drone fire paved the way for me to free surf here. Also try next time…


Good to know

  • Compared to Europe, the rules for piloting drones in Southeast Asian countries are still being worked out and what is true today can change quickly. However, if you have up-to-date information, stick to the general basics of safe flight, and most importantly, remember to pay attention to your surroundings and the inhabitants, then you can bring some truly unique photos of your holidays.
  • until recently you had to register a drone at the office before arriving in the Philippines Air traffic control. In practice, however, no one demanded it, and the answer to my question at the local police station was only a puzzled headache followed by a request for a selfie with a stranger.
  • The maximum take-off altitude is 120 meters.
  • The drone should not approach the unknown within 30 meters.
  • It is forbidden to fly after sunset and over a large assembly of people.
  • Drones are not allowed to fly where they are airplaneor near airports.
A remarkable funeral ritual on the Philippine island of Luzon has become a tourist attraction

Writing of LaZ February 11, 2019 • 12:36

The oldest church in the Philippines is in the town of Baclayon on the island of Bohol

Writing of LaZ March 24, 2020 • 10:42 a.m.

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