My First White Water Rafting Adventure

Cagayan de Oro Travel Blog

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A slideshow of photos taken during our trip in Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Camiguin last April. If you need help in planning a CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin tour, you may reach me thru my "Whitewater Rafting in Cagayan De Oro" Page in Facebook.
I am not really the adventurous type but when I learned that white water rafting is a must-try experience in Cagayan De Oro, I did not hesitate to sign up. Cagayan De Oro was actually just a jump-off point for us because my friends and I were bound for Camiguin, but since we would not make it in time for the last ferry going to the island, we decided to spend our first day in CDO.

The guys from Kagay (the premiere white water rafting company in the Philippines) picked us up from the airport and took us to the rafting site. They provided the paddles and safety gears (helmet and life vest) and even helped us put them on. I must say their service is impressive and first-class, so to speak.
jeepney ride from the airport to the rafting site
Tata, the River Guide assigned to us, briefed us on safety measures and rescue procedures for this type of extreme sport, which thankfully, I intently listened to. You'll find out later why. :D

We took the basic course, which required us to brave 10 rapids. The whole trip usually takes 2-3 hours, I'm not sure anymore how long ours took. The first rapid was challenging for us already, since the 6 of us were all first-timers. The next rapids were just as scary, but we soon got the hang of it after a few successful passage through the raging rapids. That's when we found ourselves enjoying the whole experience. We're doing something "extreme" after all, and we thought we are so brave.

When we are on calm waters, Tata and the other guide dare us to take a dip into the river, or else, they'll turn the raft over so we wouldn't have a choice.
briefing
Of course we knew it was a joke but we followed them, nonetheless. Swimming in a river was another new experience for us, since there are not much clean rivers where we came from. Jumping out of the raft was easy, but climbing back up was another story. Tata had to pull me out of the water and onto the raft... all the 143 pounds of me, and he looked so skinny! I found out later on that river guides have to go through a year-long hell of a training, since our lives and limbs depend on their strength and mastery of the river currents when we're on the raft.

It turned out that that "exercise" was to prepare us for what was about to happen... I fell off the raft on the next rapid. That rapid was aptly named Carabao's Back because that huge protruding rock tips over the rafts that bump on it 90% of the time.
I'm not sure if it was the rock we happened to bump on to, but that rock certainly managed to throw me out of the raft. I just found myself bouncing off the raft and head first into the drink. As instructed during the briefing, I was supposed to swim aggressively towards the raft so the others can reach out to help me get back onto it. But I am not a good swimmer and the current was so strong that I was immediately swept away from safety. All I could do to keep myself safe was to let myself float while keeping my limbs up over the water to avoid accidentally inserting them into a crevice that could entrap my legs or arms while the rest of my body was being carried away by the current, and ultimately result in broken limbs. My head bumped right smack on a rock but since I was wearing a helmet I knew I was not injured.
after my rescue... that's me at the back of the raft
I then managed to look for the raft and wait for the river guides to throw the safety rope to my direction. The throw was accurate so I was able to grab the rope at once. I was so relieved when I felt the pull from the rope, and very grateful when I was finally lifted out of the water and onto the raft. Whew! Tata told me afterwards that he did not feel my weight at all when he carried me that second time. I told him that's called adrenalin rush.

I wanted to return back to land right away after the incident, but since quitting is no longer an option once you're there, I thought I will just endure the rest of the trip. But a few minutes was all I needed to realize that I am actually glad to have fallen, or the trip would not have been that eventful. I'm sure my friends felt that way too (Aminin.
at the "take-out"
..).

It was a fun, bumpy and dangerous ride! Extreme indeed! But I'm definitely coming back for more thrills!

Here's my advice to those who are planning to try this sport:
1. Relax and just enjoy the view surrounding the river when you're not on the rapids.
2. Make sure to remember all the safety and rescue guidelines. Most of the accidents happen inside the raft, as they say.
3. If you fall, don't panic. Trust that your river guides are capable of rescuing you, so don't do anything silly out of fear.
4. Do it in Cagayan De Oro, of course! Get Kagay and you're surely in good hands. You may contact Tata to book: +63932-6449831
PDXDUS says:
Great writeup!
Posted on: Nov 01, 2010
jonatz says:
been there last 2006, but will surely like to try it again this year! =)
Posted on: Oct 30, 2010
cathysioson says:
To all my friends, if you have a Facebook account, please visit my Whitewater Rafting FanPage on FB, just copy the link below to your browser. Please don't forget to "Like" the page, and post status messages and interact in the Discussion Page. Thanks!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Whitewater-Rafting-in-Cagayan-De-Oro/101525509897209
Posted on: Jun 03, 2010
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A slideshow of photos taken durin…
jeepney ride from the airport to t…
jeepney ride from the airport to …
briefing
briefing
after my rescue... thats me at th…
after my rescue... that's me at t…
at the take-out
at the "take-out"
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high five!
high five!
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high five!
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after rafting
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Cagayan de Oro
photo by: Luv