River rafting in Cagayan de Oro river is one of my favorite adventure in the city, living here has given me good opportunity to be there anytime I want with no extra cost than the run itself. I have love the adrenaline rush hurdling the rapids and the white waters that gave cold refreshing wash!
Promising myself to do at least once a year, I went alone last week for the ride romancing the rapids. No doubt, it was a great ride again!
I was looking up viewing the mountains, green trees and the surrounding cliff feeling the breeze on my face, when the guide’s voice rang out, “Forward, one, two!” Thirty eight days after Storm Sendong hit Northern Mindanao, I went river rafting alone. There is that gnawing feeling to visit once more the long, winding river that gave fame to CdeO for the river rafting. I wanted to see how it looked now after being overrun by the flash flood from Bukidnon mountains. I wanted to know her again after she suffered and survived the violent and furious storm. Just three days after the tragedy, I got SMS from Eco-Extreme Rafting that reservations are accepted already for rafting. Though I wanted to do it in the last days of December to beat my timelines, my mourning for the calamity overrun my schedules.
I was joined with Czech nationals (Patricia & Karir) in a smaller boat, after the guide convinced them to join us in the advance course. They were originally booked for beginners, but the other group guests wanted to be in one boat all seven of them. I found it so good, we were not crowded and we had a paddler aside from the guide!
So we started at Uguiaban bridge in Talakag, that same old feeling of rush for the rapids came again. At first sight, there’s nothing much changes in the uppermost area but going down the bend was different. Much of the boulders were washed away downstream and thrown on the banks, there were lot of changes in the topography. There were areas having rapids before but now gone silent as it became deep. There were rapids that have gone smaller and were not as enthralling as before. At the river banks – houses were gone, vegetation uprooted, trees including agricultural crops were washed away. Boulders are thrown in the banks, some portions of the river gone narrow and some got wide. Landslides can be seen in the mountain sides. We passed three bridges that was totally destroyed, undoubtedly affected the community traspo needs. The port of starting point for beginners course was destroyed, the restaurant and entertainment facilities at the end point in Mambuaya was totally gone. It was heart rending actually, but was grateful that the river is still vibrant – the sound of its gushing waters was too reviving. I still notice few bird species hovering the area – brahminy kite (banog or the lawin), herd of balinsasayaw and a blue kingfisher.
It was consoling that the river is still life-giving, an inspiration and a wonderful landmark for this beloved city. After more than a month, the green grass along the river bank have sprouted which is a sign of hope for me. The river will flourish once more, the tragedy forgotten as the days roll by. The adrenaline rush was pulsating no doubt, not only for me but also for other guests. And what a wonderful variation when in the third to last of the rapids – in the beginners run was class IV rapids! Yes, a class IV when it was only class II before. The guide encouraged us to hurdle it and we were enthralled! And right, we made it with no fear but much in high spirits. In every run, my all consuming objective is not to be thrown out to the waters – the table top and Class IV rapids was a good test. Well, it gave me a good reason to aim for the extreme course in my future runs.
The never ending thrill for the white waters will keep me coming for the gripping rapids in Cagayan de Oro river. It’s a promise!
After I had my first taste of river rafting few years back, I promised myself I should do it at least once a year. Why, when people from other places wanted some adrenaline rush at Cagayan de Oro river, it would be some kind of shame if an earthling like me who have declared CdeO as my second home town would simply ignore such wonderful experience. I love the blood flowing as I hurdle every rapids without getting thrown out to the water! 😛
True enough, I have kept the promise – so each year I have a rafting trip in the CdeO river. The lovely thing is I can do it anytime of the year. 🙂 Once I had it in December, and my sister in NY was aghast! While she was shivering in cold on winter, here am I splashing in the waters under the sun like summer! 🙂 I love the waters and I never get tired watching the scenery by the river bank between Bukidnon and Mis Or territories.
And in the last two years, I did it with Angel! He love it too, no doubt – he did it twice last year. But now we’re aiming for the extreme course or even the night run! Hopefully we could do that soon. 🙂 So now, I’m looking forward again for this year’s adventure at the Cagayan de Oro river! I love the white waters of the City of Golden Friendship…
Being hectic for the past weeks and lot of pressures seeping in, it didn’t stop our plans for some quest of exciting leisure that Angel and I have been planning to get into. We have been dying to dive together in MisOr waters plus the advanced water rafting we have been talking about since last year in Coron. I had been chattering about wonderful underwater sites and lately I have discovered that night diving is so exciting, mysterious and challenging. These are too wonderful not to share with Angel who’s been always up to underwater discoveries as we prepare for our Tubbattaha 2010 mission!
Rushing my Friday activities, official and personal was some kind of challenge, we got visitors to attend to, then I have to attend a prayer vigil at 7pm– to think it was raining hard that night, I need to rush home to pack my gears! So I wake up the next morning early to pick up our visitor from the hotel and send off at the airport, then by chance pick up Angel too at the airport. I was glad because we’ll be diving at Agutayan Island as arranged by Mario J – a rich marine sanctuary in Jasaan. It’s been almost 2 years since I dove there and I would say it’s one of my fave site – I had my first deep dive there @ 105 ft even if I’m just OWD certified, this was too where I sighted first giant clams and 4 glistening barracudas!
Revisiting the Agutayan Sanctuary
We drop off at home while waiting for 10am meeting time, catching up things especially on our scheduled next trips. More so with the night dive later and morrow’s advanced rafting! J Rushing to Baloy, we found Mario J waiting for us… We arrive at Kimaya port an hour later after we dropby at the palengke for our food, the beautiful Sakayan waiting for us. The sunny weather was too perfect for our get away, we cruised to Agutayan for about 30 minutes. I chose to set up my own gears to get use to the procedures as Mario keep reminding me that I’m now on advance level – so I need to be efficient with all these things! I need to wear compass to practice my navigation…
After the briefing, we descend for our first dive – it feels good to be in the waters again, swimming & floating in silence. We fish feed (sorry, but it feels wonderful fishes come near me), Angel watching me from behind. We linger for a moment then off going around – school of fishes, sponges, sea fans, lion fish, anemone & clown fish, puffer fish, sweet lips, some grouper, nudi branches, those electric blue juvenile fishes, and more… I forgot to watch my compass :P, keeping in tow with Mario. One of my weights was taken off for balance as well as Angel. We went shallower and after 40 mins passed, Angel surfaced ahead of us with rest of the crew. I lingered for another 10 mins with Mario as I still have enough air. We started our ascent just under our boat, raising my right hand as I swim up like a true diver! J We went 105 ft, such a feat for Angel!
We had early lunch during our surface interval to make most of our time and chatting the time away. We had our next descent at the AR area and giant clams. I was hoping to find again the barracudas but we were shallower this time. We had an encounter with the trigger fish who wanted to attack us as we passed her breeding area. The clams I noticed get lesser – I heard some of it was stolen from the sanctuary during the typhoon last year. But I saw smaller clams, hoping it would multiply soon – too wonderful to watch the specie. The ARs were bit disheveled perhaps due to the typhoon and last time it was too colorful with the soft corals on it. The surrounding is still rich with marine life though. We surfaced together after 55 minutes, Angel’s air consumption improved after his weights were reduced to three.
We had a much longer surface interval this time as we will wait to get dark for our night dive – this will be my first time for 3 dives in tow after my advanced lessons. I was excited for the night dive with Angel. I tried to convince him that he will be allowed to do it even if he has not taken the exercise yet. J We asked PJ if we could go to the white island to explore it, Mario said we will do beach clean-up. Such a pretty idea, an environmentalist attempt to do something useful while enjoying the splendor of the site.
We got bottles, tansans, plastics, drinking straws, candy wrappers, etc – such a beautiful site to be marred with rubbish! I tried to walk through the white island, Angel got some photos then we lingered for awhile while sitting on the beach – watching the beautiful Sakayan and the far away Camiguin Island. So serene, so beautiful – feeling free surrounded by nature – sand, sea, sky! We hastily get off for the boat when it started to drizzle…
When it get dark, we got unto our gears leisurely – I decided not to wear my gloves. Mario found it necessary to have a briefing, reviewing signs underwater plus important reminders like look around for buddy and companions, check your gauges often, don’t point your light to other divers, try to be observant of night critters. The waters was choppy as it was late already, and I felt uneasy in the waters – Mario had my BC replaced so I had to get back unto the boat which was bit tough. Anyway, we finally descend having PJ as my buddy and Angel with Mario. As we got down, we had our lights pressed unto our bodies and wave our hands in the water – amazing sight! Silvery things like tiny stars before us… J
We were in the same site with ARs, as expected the vista was like a different world – dark with only our lights illuminating for us. This time I tried to look around for my companions – Mario, PJ and of course Angel, check my gauges – my air is not a concern actually. We search for moray eels, unusual fishes under the ARs, passed by a big gorgonians, pipefish?, puffer fish, porcupine fish (a favorite), a crab with unusual shape, anemone and clown fish, sea cucumber. We curiously search under the ARs, then we sighted a swimming nudibranch – wonderful sight! J I tried to reach for Angel’s hand when I felt some current somewhere. But truly it was such a magnificent encounter – exploring underwater at dark is something mysterious, wonderful, majestic! Finally, Mario signaled for ascent – I stayed close to them as we swim up. We surfaced away from the boat and the waters still choppy! The boat came over as we swim back to it – it was not easy for me because my BC keeps on deflating and worst my right fin got loose so I took it off fearing it might get lost! So I was swimming with my left fin only – it was tough! We went 65 minutes at 50 ft deepest – wow! J As soon as I got unto the boat I rushed to the rest room – I threw up!
We got into Kimaya port and drove back to the city – I was tired and felt so sleepy. We arrived almost 10pm already, need to check in at the guest house for Angel. I was famished as I threw up twice, so we went off to Night Café for dinner. We explored Cdo bie nacht by walking to the Divisoria area – we went through throng of people looking for a place to dine, we finally settled at the barbecues. I chose to do it kinamot – well, it was something never did before but it was worth it. I don’t want to find myself sitting there eating al fresco with such surroundings, but it was good… We got into a trike for home and called it a day – indeed it was such a long day! We need to retire sooner for morrow’s another adventure…
Wild Cagayan de Oro River
Angel drop by as we head for Divisoria, we need to be there at 8am but he wanted to walk going to the meeting place, we arrived late already and the group have been waiting for us – it was good they waited for us (I got 5 missed calls but didn’t notice it!). We got into the jeepney bringing us to Uguiaban near the bridge. We were joined with others (a couple & 2 guys) in one raft, and have Baldo & Ricky as our river guide. I was just excited and could feel the rush – finally, after more than a year of waiting! The run is 18 kms with 21 rapids, and will take 4 hours from Uguiaban to Kabula.
Angel and I chose to sit in front, we agree it’s more fun to feel first the rushing water on us! J The water was brown but still I love the sights along the river, green mountains, blue skies, lush vegetations. Nothing beats nature’s beauty and going thru the rapids is so adrenaline rushing. Our aim was never to be thrown into the water, paddling thru the rapids is challenging… We had a stop over midway, for a break and had photos. We took time also at the calm part to jump out and swim in the murky waters.
Well, we enjoyed so much the rapids and no one fell into the waters! J We arrived kabula almost 1pm, and went straight to the resto for our lunch. We are all famished, it felt like forever when we wait for our food. We took our lunch leisurely trying to savor our food, I’m thinking about dining with pleasure….
We got on to our transpo for down town, dropping by at Rafting Adventure office for our photos. I felt dirty and all I wanted is to wash off and take rest. Angel and I went home by trike and settled to attend the 5:30pm mass. I doze off after a rush bath, waking up late at 5:15. Rushing things, Angel came who wake up late too despite the alarm! It was raining, and we rushed to XU – the mass just started when we arrived.
We drop by home before dinner, I just need to change and picked up my notebook. Angel wanted to dine somewhere like Margie’s – something like to cap our weekend adventures! 🙂 We went off to LKK mall walking – another exploration of CdO bie nacht on the other side… We settled at Bigby’s (Angel like its ambiance) and tried to investigate its menu trying to find something to our liking – and we end up with Passion Fish and veggies in butter. The servings we found later was too much I cant finish the whole thing! Well, dining taking our time while browsing the net – taking pleasure what we have before us – life is beautiful! 😀 We discussed too our next months’ trips for itineraries, arrangements, schedules – we got skeds until September! We finished off as Angel needs to rest sooner for his morrow’s early flight, we walk again back home.
My weekend has been full, it’s a great weekend with Angel actually. There’s that feeling of newness, ready to take on the challenges everyday at work, at home, in the community. I’m looking forward for our next trip especially our aqua adventures…