Lalang and Cocoy, as “bangkeros” and rafting guides, never ran out of jokes and myths and anecdotes during our 3-hour adrenaline-pumping rafting adventure. Pitching out stories on how one hanging bridge (which we saw during the ride) was the longest in the country since it connects 2 provinces (Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon) and how a small hut by the riverside also served as a factory (factory for babies, that is) had us all singing to the “Going Bulilit” theme. Of course some jokes were lame but we’ve got to give it to them for making the ride worthwhile and keeping us entertained, not to mention safe too.
The rapids have monikers descriptive of what they lead the paddlers to do. There’s “Kiss the Wall” where you could literally kiss the wall if the paddle strokes are not enough for the rubber boat to make the turn. There’s also “brave’s way” and “surprise”. For one of the rapids, the guides told us to stand when paddling. With knees shaking and hearts rapidly beating, we braced ourselves for the turbulence. Fluid dynamics for the bold and the brave! With 15 rapids through, we demanded for snacks. We were drained already and the ride’s not over yet so we recharged with Vjandep’s famous pastel from Camiguin and some juice in Tetra Pak. Unmindful of the 16th rapid ahead, we breezed through the meal like famished children.
It was a long countdown to the last rapid with the boatmen instructing us what paddle stroke to use (heavy forward, back, right turn, left turn) every step of the way. I remember associating heavy forward strokes with them intentionally causing the boat to tip over (in safe areas I was assured). Being a non-swimmer, I cling desperately to the rope in my seat which was fastened to the boat to the disapproving nods of the guides as I may lose hold of the paddle. Number 1 rule in rafting: never lose the paddle. They tell us to keep the paddling synchronized if we want to survive the rapids. Ok then. Let me just anchor my feet in the space between the seat and the rubber boat’s floor. Ha! Now look at the completely petrified look on my face:
And here’s how to put your game face on: maintain a semblance of the perfect paddling form, flash that undaunted gaze (as if challenging the rapids to give it all), keep the mouth open and the nostrils flaring. Voila! As a demonstration, refer to picture below (zoom in: man in green shirt, rightmost).
21 rapids conquered!
Considering that Cagayan River is the largest and longest river in the Philippines, this is definitely a feat. If you want adventure in CDO, advanced white water rafting is the thing for you. Game face on!
edit (13Aug2011): Cagayan River in Luzon is the Philippines’ largest, and not Cagayan de Oro River.
Rafting Adventure Organizer:
Great White Water Rafting
Package (Rafting bundled with Zipzone rides in Bukidnon’s Dahilayan Adventure Park, meals, and transfers): 2,000 pesos per person