One of the more popular things to do in Cagayan de Oro city, is to raft your way through the twenty three rapids of the Cagayan de Oro river. Choosing "Mild" brings you a smooth ride against the ebb and the flow of the white waters of the river, while settling for the more exciting "Wild" gives you the thrill of enduring the capsizing of your raft while passing through a rapid.
Guess, after swallowing a fair amount of river water and tumbling with our raft; seeing the whirlpool at the bottom of the water and struggling for breath; being dragged back to our raft by our reliable guides, you could say we opted for the more volatile yet adventurous river rafting experience. The "Wild" one.
The rafting guides has this technique of causing the raft to flip over when passing through turbulent rapids. For the mild one and without interference it is fairly easy to control the raft from flipping over, given that proper balance and a continuous paddle is practiced.
However in our case, we were able to go down with our raft a few times. I've lost count but I remember four different experiences of being immersed into the river water and feeling like I was inside a washing machine. The first one, as we reached a rapid that sort of carried our raft higher by three to four feet up in the air and the moment it kissed back the water violently jerking sideways our guides made the move of countering the flow therefore causing our raft to flip over throwing Tina, Me, Lot and Rocky into the river water.
For a moment I saw bubbles, whirlpool and a set of feet kicking away. Next thing I know, one of our guide has plucked me from the bottom and with the help of the safety life vest that I was wearing I was floating safely above water and was being pulled back to our raft.
It was really an adrenalin pumping moment. Once we settled back on our raft, we went back to paddling and was looking forward to another rapid, half worried of another capsizing experience and half gleeful with anticipation. When we reached the middle part we all rested a bit for a snack that consists of Zesto juice and Pastel, a sweet delicacy popular in Cagayan de Oro that originated from the island of Camiguin.
After that, we went back to rafting - going over board - being under the raft - drinking river water - and the likes that all made up for a wonderful experience.
This was my second time to experience river rafting, the first one being at Davao City River. That time it was like semi-wild as I experienced fewer turns and drank lesser amount of river water. This time, it was more thrilling and for about 4 to 5 hours it was all you can gobble up in terms of excitement and joy.
It started at around 9:00 AM and it ended almost 2:00 PM, after that we went back to the rafting operator's headquarters (Great White Water Tours - near Xavier Estates - rafting packages ranges from 700.00 - 1,200.00 per person) and feasted on pork, chicken barbecue and kilawin.
So, when you find yourself being a nomad in the beautiful city of Cagayan de Oro, mingling with the residents of this "City of Golden Friendship". Make sure to give river rafting a try.