I travelled to Cagayan de Oro because of an assignment and I spent my weekend there alone. The previous weekend, I went to Siargao by myself, too. I’m starting to embrace the notion of flying solo and it’s not really that much of a big deal for me anymore. I still prefer travelling with friends as I get to enjoy the company of other people. But this recent trip gave me another thought to ponder when travelling to different destinations as I spent this trip with another group of people; this time with a family.
White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro River
December 4, 2011
CDO’s wild rafting adventure
Feeling restless that I didn’t have anything planned, I Googled ‘whitewater rafting Cagayan de Oro’ to finally experience one of the more popular activities in the City of Golden Friendship.
One of the websites that came up was that of 1st Rafting Adventure. I called them and made a reservation, hoping I could join a group that can accommodate one more head on their raft. It’s tough to get a good deal for packages when you’re alone. Luckily, I was given a go signal as there was an available slot with other companions the next day.
1st Rafting Adventure Office
Sunday morning, I bought a couple of bananas (at 1 Peso each!) so I could eat something while waiting for my jeepney ride. It’s nice that the rafting company will fetch you from your hotel/hostel and take you to the starting point of your chosen package. Boarding the jeep, I noticed 5 other people inside and initially thought that I was with college kids from town who were there for a vacation. I was right about the vacation; but they were actually a family from Manila.
setting up the raft
Getting to Know the Baylon Family
I introduced myself to break the ice and I got to know them a little more. JB just graduated from college, and his younger siblings are still in high school. Tita Eileen brought the family together for a vacation because she wanted them to experience the things they could do in Cagayan de Oro and its nearby places – they just arrived from Iligan and was heading to Bukidnon that next day. What was a 45-minute ride didn’t seem to take long due to our conversation. They were surprised that I was there alone, but they smiled at the thought of me joining them in this wild rafting adventure.
Raft guide Jerome teaching the basics
Advance 2 Rafting Course
Jerome, our river guide, educated us of the basics of rafting, how to use our paddles and what to do when we encounter the rapids. I took the Advance 2 Course because I wanted something more challenging. I would’ve taken the Extreme Course, but it was already off my budget.
pointing at snake skins stuck on the rocks
We started paddling and the main objective was to avoid falling. We were unsuccessful during the 4th rapid due to an unexpected 10-foot drop (see the video below). But it was exciting to be thrown into the river and get carried away by the water.
At times when the water was calm, Jerome and Vivien (our other river guides) would throw a few jokes to entertain us. They would also inform us of facts about the river. “This river is what separates Cagayan de Oro (left side) from Bukidnon (right side).” Jerome said. “It’s brown and murky because of the water from the mountains due to the rain the previous night. But it’s even better as it makes the current stronger.”
The rafting adventure ran for five hours with a short lunch break in between. We managed to survive paddling 26 rapids. I wanted to bring a waterproof camera with me so I could document how beautiful the place was. I’m not that good at describing the view anymore. My words will become flaky if I keep using adjectives that have become cliches.
Joining the Baylon family in this adventure made me a little awkward at first because I felt like I was invading their family affair. I was the stranger there but their actions showed that I was welcome even from the start. There was no “space” and any barrier between us was immediately crushed. I couldn’t thank them enough for their gracious welcome. “Join us.” Either of them said whenever our guides took their photos.
Tito Jun stepped down from the raft in order to grab me so I could have a photo with his kids.
Sharing a morsel of rice cake to taste if I also wanted one, grabbing me from the side in order to include me in their photos, or inviting me over for a late lunch after the rafting activity. These were some of the instances that made me feel as if I was part of their family! I could also sense their closeness through their conversations between each other.
Shouting “Awooh2x!” when conquering a rapid
Tita Eileen mentioned that I should’ve brought my friends along. I also agreed that the rafting adventure would’ve been a fun opportunity to bond with friends or colleagues. I explained that this was an immediate assignment so I wasn’t able to prepare for this trip; more so invite friends. But I was already glad to be with their company. This white water rafting adventure in Cagayan de Oro made me think about the last time I was able to bond with my own family. This is another project that I should be working on.
Thank you very much Tita Eileen, Tito Jun, JB, Ise, and Ann!
Photos are already part of the package, videos were taken with an additional fee. Thanks to Dodong & Kitot for taking our pictures! Check out the video below to see what you can expect from this wild rafting course in Cagayan de Oro.
1st Rafting Adventure
1st Rafting Adventure is the pioneer Whitewater Rafting in the Philippines since 1995. They have 4 courses offered: Beginners, Advance 1, Advance 2, and Extreme. Beginners is too easy and Advance 2 was just okay for a first-timer. If you want a challenge, go for the Extreme as you’ll trek for about 1.5 hours before getting to the starting point of the river.
Thank you Rhossel, Kennie, Jerome, Vivien, Dodong, Kitot and the rest of the staff of 1st Rafting Adventure! It was an awesome experience! Thank you as well, to the Baylon family for your warm welcome!
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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