What comes to mind when you say Cagayan de Oro or simply CDO?
I betcha, nothing is much more synonymous to the “Gateway of the South” than whitewater rafting!
Whitewater Rafting, or simply river rafting started in CDO in way back 2006 and was now gaining popularity after ex-president GMA along with other notable personalities and celebrities tried it.
The one who started it all!
Kagay Outdoors, the pioneer of whitewater rafting in CDO is the top choice for the river adventure. Amateurs and newbies alike need not to fret as Kagay Outdoors is using state-of-the-art rafts and equipment to compliment their experienced and able river guides who have been trained both by the prestigious International Rafting Federation (IRF) in rafting techniques and safety and by the Philippine National Red Cross in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Currently, they own the most number of rafts that daily traverse the great Cagayan River that divides Cagayan de Oro (left side) and Bukidnon (right side).
Advance course jump off point
There’s no adventure quite like rafting down the Cagayan de Oro with all its raging rapids. The stretch from jump off point to the city provides you with a panoramic view of the river’s rocky walls, lush vegetation and a haven for monkeys and snakes. That, alongside its breathtaking rapids makes Cagayan River is a sure source of chills and thrills to both seasoned and inexperienced paddlers alike.
Good thing we had managed to squeeze our time to explore Camiguin and have spare time to go back to CDO and try whitewater rafting before going to airport and fly back to Manila. We chose the shortest trail which is the beginner’s course that have 2-3hrs of actual river run starting at Brgy. Mambuaya, 30 minutes from the city proper.
Last minute briefing and reminders
Advance course jump-off point
Aside from CDO, there are also river rafting adventures offered in other places in the Philippines like Davao and Cagayan Valley (Chico River), but what makes CDO more attractive to tourist is that it is the only one that is operational 365 days a year- come rain or shine. During rainy season, rapids are a bit more challenging and the course varies each time are the flood water moves and makes new path.
Always remember! CDO on the left, Bukidnon on the right
Traversing “Krisdrop” where Kris Aquino fell in 2006.
Get ready to paddle hard, bumped, dragged away, drink river water and be thrown out of the raft (lucky for us it didnt happen) as you have no idea what will happen each time the raft will pass the raging rapids. Each rapids are well spaced 10-20 minutes from each other so excitement can pretty much build up after passing the last one.
The Snake Wall. Yes. The name implies.
Here are some tips to enjoy the river rafting:
• buy those arm covers (50php a pair) as protection from the sun
• wear sunglasses for eye protection. Reflection from still waters can be hassle at times
• you can bring food and drinking water inside the raft. Just make sure that you tie them up securely in case the raft capcize.
• put liberal amounts of sunblock on your nape, arms, and legs and all other areas that will be exposed to sun for long periods.
• for those wearing eyewear, get a string (40php) that will hold your eyewear in case it accidentally got removed.
• you can bring cameras as well. Just make sure its in a waterproof case and please not take pictures when the guide shouts row. Remember, your safety depends on how good you paddle!
• if you plan to go rafting and your in a small group (6 persons below) it is adviseable to contact them first and have a date booked at least a day ahead. Ideally, a raft can accomodate up to 10 persons. You will be paired with other small groups or individuals.
Whitewater rafting or simply river rafting in CDO offers you many ways to experience adventure:
Beginner’s Course (2-3hours actual river run, 12kms ride, 14 rapids): 700php/head. Good for family with small kids. Only ages 5 and up are allowed but on parent’s discretion.
Advanced Course 1 (3-4hours actual river run, 16kms ride, 21 rapids): 1000php/head. Lunch included and a can of beer.
Advance Course 2 (4-5hours actual river run, 18kms ride, 27 rapids): 1500php/head
Professional Course (5hours actual river run): 2000php/head
(3hours actual river run, 13 rapids): 1000php/head
If you want to have photos of your adventure along with some video clips, you can add 250php to your package and they will burn a copy of it in a CD.
Souvenirs on the wet and wild adventure!
Our adventure started around 9am and we ended up by noon. Soon after a quick change, our friendly guide dropped us right at the gate of the airport, plenty of time to spare!
Getting there and Away!
From Manila, Cagayan de Oro by plane is just 1.5hrs away. From the airport, make your way to the city center (preferably around Divisoria area). Rafting companies arrange pick ups from your accomodation to the jump off points.
Below are some of the rafting tour operators you might want to check:
1st Rafting Adventure
#86 Jongko Bldg. Arch. Hayes Street, CDO
Tel # +63 (88) 857-1270 / 0917-707-3583
Contact person: Rupert Domingo
The Red Raft
Corrales Avenue (fronting Consuelo\’s Steak House) Cagayan de Oro City 9000
Tel # +63 (88) 857-RAFT (7238)
09178556983 / 09228973175
Contact person: Rex Tapongot
Corralles Avenue Cagayan de Oro City 9000
Tel # +63 (88) 856-3972 / 0916-217-4035
Contact person: Roldan Kaamiño
Great Whitewater Rafting
Tel # +63 (88) 856-55555 / +63-88-851-7856 / +63-917-706-0677
Golden Friendship Whitewater www.goldenfriendshipwhitewaterrafting.com
6th Division, Patag Tel # +63 (88) 858-9007 / +639194924488 / +639233573450
HIGH FIVE! CDO river rafting style!