I've been on a river rafting ride three times already, each one not washing-up away any of the excitement, every ride brings forth a feeling of thrill and a sense of adventure. Although this was a somber version compared to my first river rafting experience in CDO, where Lot, Tina and I opted for the 'wild' ride - which we tumbled and experienced the 'washing machine' effect at least half a dozen times, I still enjoyed this ride I had with my fellow #TravelMindanao buddies. Our party of eight were divided into two rafts so I ended up with Lisa Marie, Alex and Doi while Ferdz, Shugah, Glen and Nathalie boarded the other raft where they were joined by our new travel buddies Audrey and Teckie.
Our tour was organized by Kagay Whitewater Rafting, who employs jolly tour guides who mixes 'Captain of the Raft' commands with banters they have recited each time they guide rafters along the river, but still never fails to elicit laughter. "Paddle up, Forward" or "Paddle back" were the commands issued each time our raft approaches a rapid and a celebratory salute of "High Five" every-time we successfully go over it without being thrown off the raft. Cagayan de Oro was the next-to-the-last stop of #TravelMindanao, an initiative organized by my fellow travel bloggers aiming to promote tourism destinations in the island through social media and our respective travel blogs. I joined the group in Bukidnon, where I was able to channel the UniSol Dolph Lundgren at Pulangui Bridge and did some contemplation at the scenic Lake Apo among other activities we did and places we visited.
The waters on the river that day was generally calm but with the expected rapids still generating whirlwind movement enough to spin any raft. Ours did so in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion to our delight. We would have flipped over if not for the accurate paddle instructions of our guide, on the upside, flipping over is an electrifying experience. Somehow our guide sensed our secret wish and maneuvered our raft to flip backwards at one of the rapids. It was definitely the highlight of the ride.
Edged by scenic greens and rocky formation, it is impossible to concentrate on the rapids ahead as you will find yourself pausing and just appreciating the view around you. The chirping of the birds and the sound of the smooth flowing waters were like the only sounds that existed. Well, amidst the 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' of the rafting party. It was a comfortable ride as the ZemGear footwear we were wearing absorbed the waters on our feet well, giving us a firm grip on sticking our feet inside the raft, which I think made it possible for us not to easily get thrown into the waters. Passing by the smaller rapids presents an opportunity to goof with each other as we kinda mimic those little cute bobbleheads by bouncing up and down on our raft.
The whole ride lasted for around 4 hours and will leave you starving with some arm muscle pain but with a whole lot of good experience. It is generally safe to go river rafting although please exercise caution when the days leading up to your scheduled river rafting is filled with rains. The waters in CDO river has a history of rising quickly. It is sad to note that a person died a few months ago in an accident while river rafting in CDO, so you really need to obey the commands of your guide and practice the buddy-buddy system.
Special thanks to Kagay Whitewater Tours. Please check their FB page for bookings and inquiries, to ZemGear Philippines for our water-sporty footwear and to Tune Hotels CDO for hosting the #TravelMindanao team for two nights.