I just recently came back from a trip to Cagayan De Oro , and it was amazing! We went there because of our student congress and convention, and participated in the quiz bowl and some other events. Cagayan De Oro is such a nice place, and we got to visit some nice places. Limketkai. Centrio. Black Nazarene Church. Cagayan River. Xavier University. But the highlight of my trip there was definitely the river rafting!

I had been dying to try the white river rafting, and it was definitely on my to-do list even before I knew the convention would be in Cagayan De Oro. I’m really glad I got to try this, and I would highly recommend everyone who is in Cagayan to stop by and try this!

Now, for some technical stuff. Cagayan River is huge! It spans around 6.5 KM (correct me if I’m wrong) and courses through the whole city of Cagayan. Since Cagayan De Oro is predominantly a mountainous area, you will start rafting from the top and make your way down. There are many agencies that can book you with rafting trips, inclusive of transportation and lunch. You just have to do your research, call and make a reservation! It’s pretty flexible, and rates get cheaper with more participants per trip.

There are 3 levels to choose from when you go rafting. The difference between levels is the skill it takes, the length of the journey, the number of rapids and the number of guides you take along with you, and of course, price.

Basic = 14 Rapids, 1 guide, PHP 500-1000 per person

Advanced = 21 Rapids, 1 guide, PHP 1200-1500 per person

Extreme = 36 Rapids, 2 guides, PHP 2000-up per person

Now, people can choose to take basic and advanced courses right away. The basic course is highly recommended if you have adolescents and women with you, but if most of you are guys (and gals) who are sporty, adventurous and like adrenaline, you can try and go for the advanced course right away! Now, the guides will not let you take the extreme course if you haven’t conquered the basic and advanced courses, and from the word itself, “extreme” makes you think that this is for professionals only. They even require 2 guides, so that shows you how tough and challenging this course is.


The loading and unloading of the rafts.

You’ll be transported to the Cagayan river, and from there you will be greeted by some souvenir shops. Once they unload the raft from the jeepney, you’ll be given a flotation device, a paddle and a helmet. All standard gear. They’ll give you an orientation, assign you a guide and teach you all the commands you need to know. Depending on the size of the raft, you’ll be assigned to groups of 4-6 people per raft (and +1 for the guide). The guides have their own paddles, and will be at the back of the raft for the guiding and directing. He also has his own flotation device and has a line with a buoy that he can use to pull you from afar if ever you drift far away from the raft.


The beautiful Cagayan River!

There are 3 basic commands. Forward pedal, back pedal and stop. The guide will be in charge for the direction or steering, so all you need to do is trust him when he assigns a command. Just keep on your toes, paddle hard, and enjoy the journey. Don’t forget to shout “Bugsay!”


Orientation from our guides.


Ready to roll out!

The starting point of the basic course is the ending point of the advanced and extreme course, so you will encounter totally different rapids if you take advanced and extreme than if you would have just taken the basic course.

Now, we took the basic course. It was a whole lot of fun! The whole trip from start to finish took about 3 hours. There are still water areas where you have to paddle, and there are 14 rapids spread across that you have to coordinate and work as a team to get through. There was also a segment where we got off and took pictures at a rock formation, and actually getting off the raft and swimming! It wasn’t just about the actual rafting, but there were some good sections for picture taking and swimming too. Your guides have a camera of their own, and they can take lots of pictures, compile it to a CD and sell it to you repriced. (We got ours at PHP 150.00 for around 100 pictures. I guess it was worth it!)


Picture at the rock formation!


Swimming time!

Now, there are 4 levels of rapids (as far as I remember), which indicate their difficulty of maneuvering and the water drop! The basic course has around 2-3 level 3 rapids, with a lot of them being level 1 and 2 rapids. The advanced and extreme courses have mostly level 3-4 rapids, which definitely makes it a challenge.


Brave the waves!

There is also the option of night rafting, but it isn’t really advised unless you’re a bit experienced already. Also, every time there’s a big typhoon (Pablo or Sendong) the rapids get re-arranged. Some rapids get stronger, some get weaker, some dissipate, some show up. So the guides will have to survey before they allow people to try the rafting experience. So, we’re in pretty good hands.


Bugsay! What a drop!

There are lots of beautiful sights while you’re rafting across the river, bordering between Cagayan and Bukidnon. Lots of caves, cliffs, rock formations, flora (balete trees, vines, flowers) and fauna (snakes, insects, fish) which can leave you in awe and amazement. It really is just a beautiful place.


Pretty wet and cold after, but what an experience it was!

So, this is something I would definitely recommend to everyone. It’s moderately priced, it’s one heck of an adventure, and it is a must-do if you’re in Cagayan. It’s not too taxing on the body, and there are options out there for everyone. The guides are friendly. The view and environment is beautiful. The water is fresh and invigorating. The adrenaline rush through the rapids is there and the teamwork and camaraderie between the people in the raft is formed. It’s an experience worth trying. Definitely.

Please comment or shoot me a PM if you have any more questions, and I’ll gladly try to answer them for you. So what are you waiting for?  Schedule a trip and get to tackling those rapids!

Until next time,