“Listen to me when I say paddle… ” Raft master’s voice went serious.
“Guys, this is the second to the last rapid. This is where the accident happened where a tourist from Bohol drowned. Her death is the first fatality since the city’s commercial white-water rafting operations began in 1995…”
Everyone looked at each other and swallowed hard.
I was just quiet but in my head I was panicking. I was like, “What the fudge!!! OMG! OMG! What did you get yourself into KT?!” The next thing I know was everyone was paddling so hard to steer away from a tsunami-looking water formation (big ass rapids) and then a big splash of water wiped us off!
Two seconds later, everyone were shouting and laughing. “Whoa! We survived that 5-foot drop! We made it!” We raised our paddles up and did a high five. It’s freaking crazy, I like it! That’s just a part of our 4-hour Cagayan de Oro Whitewater Rafting expedition.
White water rafting in CDO is an extreme sport and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors no matter what your ability or experience level. Lots of people from all over the country and even outside the country want to try it coz it’s fun and affordable (Php 700 class I and II, Php 1200 class II to IV).
This isn’t only for crazy hard core mountain people anymore, it’s becoming too main stream that a lot of people take risk for that Instagram-worthy pictures. No pun intended. It isn’t for faint-hearted but if you’ve got guts to go screaming your hearts out and be all wet and pumped up then you might want to hop in a plane to Cagayan de Oro to experience their class III and Class IV rapids (take note that the higher the class of rapids are, the more exciting and scary it gets!).
The Cagayan River serves as the natural boundary between the province of Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. It’s a long winding river that’s dotted with rapids and huge rocks. Upon arriving there you’d find a number of water adventure agencies that would help you all the way. There is Kagay Whitewater Rafting, 1st Rafting Adventure, CDO Bugsay River Rafting, Great White Water tours and The Red Raft. Most of them would offer tour packages with land transfer, gear and optional add-on lunch after the tour. Ideally a group of 6 could occupy a raft, if you’re travelling alone the tour guide will include you in other groups. You can choose between the basic course package (14 rapids) and the advanced course package (21 rapids).
Since we flew from Manila all the way to Mindanao, we decided to take the advanced course. Go big or go home baby!
In each course you will get rafting gears and basic training. They will teach you how to paddle properly, what to do when there’s rapid up ahead, how to position yourself in the raft, what to do when you fall off the boat etc. Our guide was really good coz he knows each rapids so well like the back of his own hand. He would tell a story on each rapid and crack some jokes from here and there. He would give us different challenging tasks that would test our camaraderie and made the adventure more ballin’.
Kagay also offer photography and video services (most of the photos I posted on this blog post are from them). I brought my action cam with me but it has no use since the ride was so bumpy, I only get to use it whenever we’re in the quiet part of the river. So leave it to the pros and just enjoy the adventure. The photographers paddle their own kayak and they take risk by stepping into slimy rocks just to get those perfect shots. They burn all the photos and videos in one CD right after the tour. They take photos of everyone in the tour so expect more than 200 pics of strangers in your CD. Ya that will happen, just be patient to weed out your group pics and videos when you get home.
Most of the agencies would offer free rides from the area to the city proper so if you’re in doubt of how to get there, just book with an agency that would offer a free lift.
Oh I have to mention this; the rapids could vary from really angry rapids to less angry ones. You should expect the waters to turn into murky brown during the monsoon season and while this doesn’t seem to be inviting at first, the turbulence that the waters would offer would really turn things up a notch. I suggest you go there around October to February. The weather is not too hot and the rapids are perfect. Anyways, whichever you end up with, you’d still get a great dose of scream and adrenaline rush.
Additional Rafting Tips
- Bring some sunscreen =the sun may be hiding beneath the clouds in the morning but as the day drags on, it will peek out and it’s extremely hot even in Ber months.
- Keep yourself planted firmly in the boat =unless you want to swim solo and get lost. Teehee!
- Be swim-ready = you will definitely get wet even if you brace yourself real tight.
- Paddle together = work in unison, it’s all about teamwork.
- Listen up = stay alert and listen to your guide’s commands, keep an open ear.
- Bring a sense of adventure = loosen up!
So are you ready to try white water rafting in CDO too? Let me know your thoughts!
Kagay Whitewater Rafting
address: Corrales Ave, Cagayan de Oro, 9000 Misamis Oriental
phone: 0917 712 2442, 0922 388 6200, 0917 712 2323, 088 852 1021 look for Dan Kaamiño