June 16, 2018 – More Wet and Wild Fun

Camiguin gave Joy and I a very satisfying experience. Whether we were on on land or in the water, it didn’t fail to mesmerize us with its beauty. It was enchanting and no superlative is enough to give justice to the beauty of the island. It was just too bad that we had to cut our stay short and return to Cagayan de Oro to resume the rest of our Northern Mindanao adventures.

Breathing in the beauty of Camiguin.

When we were planning our Northern Mindanao escapade, one thing kept popping up – white water rafting. White water rafting is one of the top tourist drawers in Cagayan de Oro and in this part of the country. White river rafting is Cagayan de Oro’s equivalent of canyoneering in Southern Cebu. Of course, there is no way for us to let the chance pass us by. As this adventure was planned mostly in haste, we managed to book our white river rafting adventure the day before we left for Camiguin.

As any veteran traveler would know, booking days before an adventure is never advisable (*haha*). That is unless you’re as spontaneous or as fickle minded as we are then you can always take the chance. The consequence for the risk is that we nearly walked out of Cagayan de Oro without experiencing its most promoted tourism activity. Most of the days during our stay were booked in advance. It was sheer luck that we managed to book an available schedule – Saturday afternoon.

Then came the day of the adventure. Our service provider, as part of the package, picked us up at our hotel. Joining us in this adventure are fellow thrill seekers and adventurers from various parts of the country. We had one mind, I guess. From the city center, we traveled for nearly an hour to the jump off point. On the way up, we picked up our rafting equipment. The group we went with is rather huge in number; I believe there were nearly thirty of us and I think that is the maximum number of visitors per batch.

All paying attention because as we all know, safety first!
Looks easy right?
Ready for some wet and wild adventure.

In any kind of adventure, whether it is extreme or not, the orientation is one of the most important part. Before we made a splash on the Cagayan River, all participants were oriented on: 1) the do’s and dont’s that must be observed while on the raft; 2) the safety protocols in case of emergency; and 3) the various signals and commands that we must be aware of. We were also oriented on what to do to avoid being thrown out of the raft. After muttering a prayer, we’re finally to plunge!

Visitors can choose from four types of packages: beginners, advance 1 and 2, and extreme. Each package presents a different level of rapids. The package price also depends on the level – the more difficult level, the pricier. I wanted to try the extreme one albeit it being my first time (the course was longer too!). Unfortunately, with the tame weather, the maximum level we were offered was advance 1. I guess that is better than nothing.

At about 1:30PM, our tour guides started setting up the rafts. One by one, the rafts started filling up with excited adventurers and adrenaline junkies. I can feel how the atmosphere started heating up due to the collective excitement that started floating in the air. I have to admit, even I was giddy in anticipation for my first white river rafting adventure. Ironically, I never tried the Chico River white river rafting even though it was closer to my province. Maybe next time. For now, here we go!

It was all child’s play until the rapids…
Up we go…
Down we go… It was a perpetual roller coaster ride, on water.
But still, all smiles.

Paddles up! We started on the calmer part of the river but a few minutes later, the lower level rapids started to appear. With our dedicated tour guide serving as the captain of our raft, the six passengers (that includes Joy and me) managed to navigate our first taste of rapids. Our tour guide, to beat the tension, regaled us with his funny antics; he is a comedy act and it helped having him onboard. His funny anecdotes helped keep the atmosphere lighter.

The more enjoyable parts of the adventure were the class 3-4 rapids. They are usually more difficult and more challenging. They also sound more ominous. But let’s just enjoy the ride! Up and down our raft went but we remained calm. I can’t really call it calm nor placid for we were all screaming in delight. It goes without saying that we were all having so much fun. The rush of adrenaline was real. We paddled. We had fun. And although there were heart stomping moments, we were all screaming because of the thrill of the escape.

Watching the landscape change was also fascinating. The verdure was rich on both sides of the river. Cagayan River formed the natural boundary between Misamis Oriental (of which Cagayan de Oro is the capital of) and Bukidnon provinces. On one side of the river is Cagayan de Oro and on the other side is Bukidnon. On the calmer parts of the river, participants were allowed to jump into the river and float along with the raft.

The view was stunning.
Indeed… wet and wild. But fun altogether.
Yowh. A sign that defined a generation.
Paddles up! And never miss a good photo op.

On one part of the river, there was a waterfall where we all went under to be “showered”. Nature can be very fascinating but it can also be very scary. It was heartbreaking to witness vestiges of the 2017 flooding that left scars on parts of the river. Due to heavy rains, the river overflowed, causing flooding in low-lying areas and flattening farmlands on its course.

And just when we were started to get the hang of it, we reached the end of the nearly three-hour course. It was, to say the least, very memorable. I experienced puerile joy. I felt like a kid experiencing something new for the first time (although it was my first white river rafting experience). The world is indeed vast and adventure never runs out, if only you know where to look for it. Thus, ends yet another day of adventure in Northern Mindanao. We have but one more day left. I am already missing the place.

  • Reminders:
    • Bring a sunblock as a protection against the heat.
    • Bring as little things as possible. The tour guides are not liable for retrieving personal belongings that drop into the river.
    • Safety first, always. Make sure that your helmets and life vests fit.
    • Again, leave no trace behind.
    • Pray, keep calm, enjoy the ride, and have fun.
A view one can never get enough of… until the rapids show.
This reminds me of that children’s song. Only more upbeat. Row row your boat, not gently down the stream.
A final wave for successfully hurdling the river course.