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Taob Story - CDO's White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting CDO

Want some exciting Mindanao activity? Well you got to try this extreme life threatening activity at the Cagayan River at Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines - the White Water Rafting.

It is an activity involving a raft and its passengers paddling and conquering a number of rapids from one point to another. The activity has different levels such as Beginner, Advance I, Advance II and Extreme. The levels differ in terms of the kilometers, rapid numbers and difficulty. 

Our guide said that the higher levels tend to have rapids that are 5 meters deep - meaning, the boat will fall 5 meters deep to pass the rapid! That's pretty scary because it has a higher chance of the boat turning over and the passengers being eaten from the circular motion of the rapids.

There are different agencies offering the Water Rafting activity and it includes the pickup, lunch and return transfer to the city. We got ours from Rafting AdventurePhilippines (check the site for the rates). They picked us from where we stayed in CDO and travelled 2 hours to the site. Upon arrival, we saw the other groups which were fetched by other jeepneys. 

We wore the necessary gears - helmet and life-jacket - and hold our paddle.

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com  White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com   White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com

The guide did some briefing and grouped us - since we were only four, we were added with 2 more. They are the lovers from Manila and are very funny and loud just like us so we easily blended. 

What I was scared during the briefing is that what if we fall? I don't know how to swim and having a life jacket does not guarantee that you will be saved! You can see that with the fast current.



Our level - the Advance II - is composed of 13 rapids in a 13 kilometer stretch of the river. Starting at 8AM, the rafting will be completed within 4 hours, thus, will end at 12PM. Your on-boat guide will instruct you how to paddle and what type of paddle you will do during the rafting.

I've never tried water rafting so Advance II on my first time feels scary. But yeah! Need to go with the flow!

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com
Mejo shock ang itsura ko, kakatapos lang ng rapid e!

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com
Wacky daw! Halos angkinin na namin ang Camera Team!
You can take your underwater camera during this activity but you cannot take a lot because you have to paddle (Yeah! It's teamwork!). Also, the agency already has its camera team  to take photos of the participants. (I called them camera team haha! But they also has trainees on their boat). 

Guys are recommended to be at the front as they have more power to paddle but keep the boat balance. Members can switch position to make the shoulder work-out even.

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com
Don't let the river eat you!

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com
Rapid exit this way
There are times the boat will be pulled by rapids on the side of the river under the big rocks. They said we have to keep paddling for us not to be pulled in by the current on those small openings. I was scared that I might drown in a super deep (I don't know how deep - basta hindi nadadama ng paa ko!) river and be pulled in those holes and my body will break like a chicken leg and that it can never be found! My family will have to fly to Mindanao just to pray for my body in the river if that happens.

White Water Rafting Cagayan De Oro glensevilla.com
Bending exercise.
I learned that during the water rafting, it is not like a race - the groups have to stick together - not too much! Just enough so that if a boat has turned-over, there's a boat that can save them. If you know how to swim, that won’t work much because the current is too fast especially on the rapids (Duh! of course! Stupid me!). 

The guide were also creative to have the participants try paddling while standing on the boat - I think they did this to remove the boring ambiance on calm parts of the river.



Just as we reached the first rapid for the Beginner's level, our boat turned-over due to a big stupid rock that we encountered. We underestimated it and the current did not pull the boat away from that rock! We were also unaware of that because we were watching the trainees thrown out of their boat to the rapids (agaw eksena sila!).

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
The trainees. The Scene-stealer, beware, don't watch scenes like this, because eventually you'll follow.

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
Ang panandaliang paglangoy. This is our boat that turned over. I was already pulled away on that picture.

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
Me on the leftmost. This is the part where our boat turned over and the two of us got pulled away.  As you can see the guide at the right was reaching for the paddle, and not us. HAHA Why do I look like a dead body here?
Wooh! That was a surprise really. I'm sitting at the middle so I was pushed under the river by my teammate in front. I was the last to reach the surface! I was already being pulled on the left side of the river and that made me freak-out! Luckily, a staff helped me by making me hold on to a paddle which he fetched. Actually, the paddle was in more concern for him because they have to pay for it if it was lost HAHA! Akala ko lang pala ako yung sine-save, yung paddle pala

Being the last to surface the water and pulled-out by the current, I was the only one who was not able to return to my boat (loner). I was later on sheltered by another team and they welcomed me with "Anyare?" ("What happened?") HAHA. Of course, the 'inis' in me made me want to say "Isn't it obvious?". HAHA! But I didn't, I just paddled with them.

During the time our boat was turned-over by that big rock, my other teammates were also temporarily sheltered by other teams. They got a chance to step on Bukidnon which is the right side of the river. I also got this chance when my temporary shelter-boat stopped for a while to look for a missing paddle which was lost during our disaster! :P There I saw jumping spiders with long thin feet. I actually don't know if they're even spiders. They are about 1 in. size.

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
The incident will not stop these guys from having a good picture!

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
and they even have a jump shot on Bukidnon!
It was only about 10 minutes of paddling with my temporary shelter-boat, and I'm back to my original team! Yehey! My reunited moment happened after we passed by what they called Snake Island? Not really sure. We really saw snake's shredded skin in there. Sorry no pictures!

After being reunited, our team paddled completely again but now more FOCUSED on rafting! We don't want our boat to turn over again, but I guess, that experience is a must during this activity! Haha! At least you have something to share with your friends like "Tumaob nga kame eh!" that makes it memorable! Haha!

White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting Cagayan de Oro
The finish line. Congrats guys!                                'Mga dalagita sa batis' ang peg!

I definitely recommend this activity during the Cagayan de Oro travel! It's a must-try! Share me your 'taob' stories in the comment section if you have one!

Cagayan De Oro, Philippines

UPDATE 1/15/2017: 
Their website is saying forbidden. So you may check out raftingphilippines.com portal for other agencies.

Photo Credits to Enkiel, Rafting Adventures and Eula.


Glens is a full time Systems Developer and part time wanderer. On weekends she's mostly at home watching series, anime or anything of her interest. Sometimes, she can be seen backpacking or hiking. But she can ditch that over comfort food and bed weather.

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