Cagayan de Oro City in Southern Philippines is without a doubt, the top white water rafting destination in the country. The reasons for that are numerous. First, the rapids of the Cagayan de Oro River are available all year round, except of course during extreme weather conditions. There are also a handful of outfitters now that offer attractive adventure packages. This healthy competition has not only driven the rafting rates to an affordable level but also improved their services even further. And finally, the city is easily accessible via various air, land and sea transportation options.
In short, this means that anyone from anywhere in the Philippines can readily avail of this unique adventure without depleting their lifetime savings.
Before a rafting adventure can begin, an orientation is conducted to ensure a safe and enjoyable run for everyone. Aside from the individual paddles, everyone is then given a lifevest and a helmet. There is also a dry bag for personal belongings supplied in each raft. The rules are then outlined along with the important what-to-do-when-this happens scenarios (raft is overturned, someone in the group is thrown overboard and the like). Everyone is assured that the guides accompanying each group are all well-trained and know well enough how to respond in such circumstances.
The two most common rafting packages are the basic and advance courses. The basic ride covers 12.32 kms, takes you to 14 rapids and costs Php700.00 The advance on the other hand covers 20.4 kms, takes you to 24 rapids and costs Php1000.00. The duration for each varies depending on the weather, the river current among other similar factors. But on the average, the actual river run for the basic and advance courses lasts for 3 and 4 hours respectively.
There is also a name for each rapid. I like the ‘I’m busy’ and ‘Makabundol rapids,’ which are the first two that would be encountered in the basic course. You have to ask your guide why these were named as such and he would be more than willing to provide the backstory including those of the lava rocks and the wild horses.
The experience is like going to a wet roller coaster ride sans the metal rails. Take note that you are also not strapped to the rubber rafts by any means. So you would be really tossed in any direction in every wild rapid. There are also rare instances where the raft would be overturned due to the unpredictable river current or after hitting a huge boulder. But if you want something like that to happen during your run, your guide can intentionally do that for you as well.
At the calmer portions of the river, one may be allowed to jump off the rafts. The views at these parts are equally stunning as the rapids. The cliffs, lush vegetation and the clean river reminds me a bit of Argonath from an LOTR movie. It makes you wonder how this part of the Philippines can both have a captivating landscape and a urban lifestyle at the same time.
At the endpoint is a restaurant which serves affordable meals. This is where you can also wash up and change your wet clothes. Others would usually take a quick lunch here before heading to their next destination. By this time too, the adrenaline may have already worn off but the memories of the exhilarating ride remain.
The white water rafting experience at Cagayan de Oro is absolutely ‘chada,’ a local term for anything that is fantastic, nice and great. This is indeed one adventure that I would never get tired of doing all over again.
Kagay | Cagayan de Oro’s Premiere White Water Rafting Voyages
#21 Pres. Aguinaldo St., Cagayan de Oro City
+63 917 712 2323
+63 88 858 310 4402 | +63 88 852 1021