Whitewater Rafting The Golden Waters of Cagayan
In December 2011, the province of Cagayan de Oro (CDO) was beaten down by typhoon Sendong. The entire city center, once a bustling hub of businesses, schools, and malls, was devastated by the waters of the mighty Cagayan River. Whole streets, homes, churches, and other establishments were either felled by the strong winds or submerged under muddy water. Thousands of people lost homes, family members, and jobs as the city succumbed to the effects of the storm.
However, in a show of typical Filipino resilience, little more than a year after typhoon Sendong unleashed its fury on Cagayan de Oro, the province has almost fully recovered. Everything is as near to normal as possible, with businesses picking up and tourism growing to its usual frenzied levels during the summer.
It’s Off To CDO We Go
This small, peaceful city on the north-eastern tip of the Mindanao island is home to the country’s premier white water rafting destination. A decade ago, white water rafting as a leisure sport and tourism attraction was almost unheard of in the Philippines. The country is criss-crossed by different bodies of water, but they were mostly used for transportation and livelihood only.
White water rafting had its humble beginnings in 1995 when a couple of rafting enthusiasts formed an organization called the Cagayan de Oro Whitewater rafting Adventure.
The members surveyed the mighty river section by section, painstakingly pointing out the areas where the rapids flowed with the right speed and intensity to give boaters a thrilling ride.
The sport really took off in 2002 when the government finally gave whitewater rafting a spot in the country’s tourism campaign efforts. Now, adventuresome tourists from all over the world flock to CDO to experience the Cagayan River’s powerful rush. Tours and lessons are available all year round, so it’s up to you to pick a date to travel.
Ride and Explore
A trip to CDO is never complete without getting yourself soaking wet in the rapids. There is nothing quite like the thrill that comes from battling against the onrush of the water and trying to keep yourself steady inside the boat. There are 23 rapids for you to enjoy, ranging from level I-IV.
Once you’ve satisfied your craving for an awesome river adventure, it’s time to check out some of the other attractive sights and sites of CDO. The Macahambus Cave is a favorite among tourists because of its colorful history. The Macahambus Hills was where the Filipinos had their first victory against the Americans at the turn of the 20th century. The caves open up to a steep gorge where the enemy soldiers fell straight down into the Cagayan River.
While you’re in the shopping district, don’t forget to pack some Oro ham for your friends and loved ones back home. This local pork delicacy will surely make your mouth water with its tasty flavor and special spices. Load up on some cheeseticks, durian candy, and Vjandep pastel cream puffs and you’re good to go.
This 2013, book a trip to one of the more pristine white water rafting destinations in the world and experience what CDO has to offer.