Extreme adventures, anyone?-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
LOOKING for some adventures during weekends? Why don’t spend one such weekend at the Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental? The city is touted to be the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao” because of its prime location and good transportation facilities (buses, boats and planes). It is also known as “The City of Golden Friendship” as people are very warm and friendly.
That was what we – a group from a hospitality industry in Davao City – found out during our recent visit there. But that’s going ahead of the story.
We departed Davao City at around 9:00 o’clock in the evening heading to Cagayan de Oro via Buda (Bukidnon-Davao). It took us 6 hours using a private vehicle to reach Cagayan.
Actually, there are three options in going there: by land, by sea or by air. But we preferred to go land trip; our reason – to view and enjoy the mountainous scenery of the Buda highway. During our trip, we saw a lot of local vendors selling their products. If you like vegetables, newly harvest cabbages, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and pechay can be had for a few pesos. If you need some “pasalubong,” there are homemade delicacies; but the most common is dried banana chips.
While on our road trip, we had a hard time passing the Bukidnon highway because of fogs. We were worried because our driver was not familiar with the road.
It was already 3:00 o’clock in the morning when we arrived in Cagayan. We took a quick rest in one of our companion’s aunt house located in the city proper.
Since our scheduled river rafting was at 8:00 o’clock in the morning, we went to eat our breakfast in a fast food chain located in Divisoria. From there, we proceeded to our white river rafting hosted by Kagay.
Kagay, I found out later, is a local tour operator that caters the needs of adventurous people. It also offers different packages like city tour. But Kagay – which means “water” – is more popular for its river rafting adventure.
But, where did river rafting originate? History records showed it happened in the United States. In 1811, the first recorded attempt to navigate the Snake River in Wyoming was planned by the Overland Astorians. While attempting to boat the stretch below Jackson Hole, the river was found to be too treacherous and it came to be called Mad River. The rubber river raft is believed to have been invented in the early 1840s. It was first made by Lt. John Fremont, who was then serving in the U.S army and Horace H. Day. They invented the rubber raft with the intention of surveying the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.
Rafting was first included in the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Subsequently, it was included in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games.
In Cagayan, river rafting is very popular because of its death defying thrill along 17.2 kilometers stretch of the Cagayan River. They called it advance course river rafting.
To start with, you have to ride a small jeepney going to the starting point. When we arrived, our tour guide told us that there were some changes in the current and behavior of the water of the river due to devastation caused by the two typhoons that hit the province.
Many people where affected as a result of the two typhoons, he said. The number of tourist arrivals in the city went down. Among those that were directly affected were those who are selling locally-produced products.
Since there were ten of us, we were divided into two groups. A group from Red Cross and vacationers from California also joined us. All in all, there were four rubber boats for the whole groups.
The stretch of the advance course had 24 difficult rapids. It was my first time to experience river rafting, although I have heard of river rafting in Davao before. Apart from rafting, I had the best ever experience because of the very cool companions who displayed lot of spirit and fun.
After rafting, we did caving at the Macahambus Cave. Our guide said that the place was very historic as it played an important role during the 1900 Revolution between Filipinos and Americans. Once you get out from the cave, you get to see almost the whole stretch of Cagayan River.
As if the extreme adventure in Cagayan was not enough, we went to Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. With 840 meters stretch, it has the longest dual zipe line in Asia.
But before you dare to try this huge far distance dual cable, there is a 320 meters and 150 meters ziplines where you can try first. Among the ten of us, only half dared to take the challenge: to ride all ziplines. Some of them had already experienced zipline rides; there were those who were afraid of heights. Instead; they preferred to watch us while doing the death-defying act.
Two of our companions – Jesse and Jomel – decided to take the plunge of the 120-feet drop zone. It was there that I met Engr. Elpedio Paras, the owner of the park and the Pinegrove Lodge, and his wife. We had a good conversation together. I learned that he opened a new activity which he called as flying lizard.
We had to excuse ourselves since we wanted to see our companion trying the drop zone stunt. When Paras saw that we were enjoying, he told our group that two more can avail the activity for free. Aries and Marky volunteered.
It was amazing and crazy fun ride, the two told me later. I knew it was. After all, I did it before – during the launching of the drop zone way back in February 2012.
Indeed, the trip was unique and memorable.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 24, 2013.