To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)
JUNE 28, 2007
6:00 AM - Rose, She, Ces and I arrived in Cagayan de Oro via Cebu Pacific (We availed of the piso fare promo. Roundtrip ticket costed Php 2,483.04. Ninoy Aquino domestic airport terminal fee is Php 200). We took a cab (I think the meter was around Php 150) to Casa Crystalia to check in our stuff.
7:30 AM - Ate breakfast at the nearby Jollibee right across Xavier University.
8:00 AM - Waited in front of Jollibee for the Team Kagay rafters' jeepney to pick us up. The first lesson of the trip is to not make Jollibee as a landmark/meeting place! It turned out that we were in the wrong Jollibee branch. We were supposed to meet them at the Jollibee Plaza Divisoria branch which was about one block away from the Xavier branch of Jollibee. We called them up and they asked us to just stay put instead of us (getting lost again) going to the other Jollibee branch. Hay. Too much Jollibees in one place! :p
9:15 AM - We arrived at the starting point of our white water rafting. They provided us with a big waterproof duffel bag which was strapped later on on our raft. We were handed our rafting gear: a helmet, a lifevest (which has additional straps that ride securely on your groin) and a paddle. Did some pre-departure picture-taking on the CDO white water rafting sign. Our guide-rafter Clint demo'd paddling instructions, safety precautions and tips. He also asked which ones can't swim (which is, uhh, just me!). He pointed out that the left side of the river is Cagayan de Oro while the right side of the river is already Bukidnon. In case we get swept off by the current, always swim towards the left. And a tip which they always emphasized in case we fall off the raft: "Lay flat and don't panic."
WHITE WATER RAFTING TIPS: Buy a Sandugo or Tribu outdoor sandal (mine is a Sandugo) for white water rafting. The place is quite rocky and slippery and there is a possibility of your raft flipping over. You just might lose your Havaianas to the current. For thy OCness, your digital gadgets inside your waterproof pouch which is also inside the rafter's waterproof duffel bag shall give you peace of mind. Wear long sleeves and long pants for sun protection. I wear a 3/4 sleeved shirt and shorts that rode above my knees when I sat so my forearms and part of my legs just above my knees were sunburned to the max! *Ouch* Parts of my cheeks and nose were also sunburned coz I didn't put on sunblock :( I basically looked like one of those sunburned Mt. Everest climbers for the rest of the trip :p Bring water and easy-to-eat lunch like sandwich or burger. Eat light. A super full stomach and crazy white water rafting don't match.
9:40 AM - Our basic white water rafting began. We just paid close attention to all of Clint's paddling instructions: "Paddle forward! Paddle backward! Stop! Two-strokes forward! High-five! Lock your feet!" My favorites were "Stop" and "High-five" :-) [We high-five'd using our paddles after every exhilirating move.] A photographer-rafter went along with us on a separate boat to take our photos with a 7MP waterproof Pentax digicam. A teenage paddler went along with us to assist Clint. Both Clint and the teenage paddler sat at the back of the raft. They made sure we sat properly near the edges of the raft. We encountered 14 rapids in the basic course. In between, where there were long stretches of calm waters, we were encouraged by Clint to get out of the raft and just float on the river while laying flat on our backs. (Laying flat is important coz you'll never know when you'll bump into a rock underneath.) Along the course, we saw swallows flying around, dragonflies, butterflies, wild mangoes, occasional locals doing their laundry by the rocks, some locals fishing, some carabaos on the side of the river, wild orchids and ferns, huge cave-like rocks, a gushing stream of mineral water from a huge rock just above us. Every so often, Clint would shower us with cold water from the river because he says one should always remain damp while rafting. Makes sense coz if you're sweaty and then you get wet by the super cold water of the river, you might catch a cold. After the last rapid, we did their so-called "Graduation Jump/Drop". We climbed on a tall rock which was about 12feet above water level and jumped off it. When it was my turn, Clint warned his kasamahans on standy-by below that I am a non-swimmer so I was not really scared that I'll drown or something. He told each of us not to hesitate when jumping. I pinched my nose with my hand as I jumped but water still managed to get into my nose. Felt myself sink due to the impact but I immediately bobbed out of the water since I was wearing a lifevest. Felt totally awesome after that! :-)
We super enjoyed our 2.5 hours of basic white water rafting! We were confident we could tackle a much more exciting/rougher course together with our guide rafter Clint (whom we deemed super adept so we weren't scared at all of flipping over or anything like that) so we asked if we could also do the advanced course after lunch.
12:15 PM - We arrived at Macahambus Park where we rested first and ate our super pisa Jollibee burgers which we kept inside our bags. After eating, we did the canopy walk and zipping which lasted for about 30mins. We handed our cameras to the guides who took our photos while walking and zipping. The canopy walks were long with about 1ft.L. x 3in.W. wooded boards to step on. We were strapped on safety lines just in case we slipped. While walking, we saw deep ravines below. Seeing how super high we are as I looked below made me a bit woozy. In terms of height, it was probably something like being on top of the Glorietta building and then looking down below. I just made sure I held firmly on the ropes which acted as hand rails on the canopy walks. The tour was capped off with us zipping back to where we started. It probably took about 15-20 seconds to zip. Screaming while zipping is highly recommended :-)
MACAHAMBUS PARK = 3.5/5 RATING (Good)
Cost of canopy walk & zipping: Php 300/pax.
PROS: Gears are well-provided. They will secure your straps properly. The guides were good photographers. There was a clean restroom in Macahambus for a quick pee before our advanced course in rafting.
CONS: A bit pricey for about 30 mins. of all that. The helmet smelled stinky with sweat. Ewww.
1:50 PM - We were brought by Team Kagay farther away upstream for the starting point of our advanced white water rafting. Clint had two new assistant paddlers this time. He explained that the local "assistant" rafters were following a queue for each rafting trip. Since our afternoon advanced rafting was a "new" trip, we had new assistant paddlers. The raft was also pumped with extra air to be firmer and less susceptible to bending. Before starting, Clint briefed us again for more safety instructions -- once again emphasizing on "Don't Panic" and "Lay flat". This time, two rafters Neil and Ryan (who looked very much like Chito Miranda of PNE!) sat in front and Clint stayed at the back. Pio, another rafter who was a native of Bukidnon, was on a separate raft to take our pictures. (In our animated chat on our way back to Plaza Divisoria, Pio revealed that he belonged in a band that played world music much like the Pinikpikan. He had been in Manila a few times to play with the band). The water was indeed rougher with lesser calm waters in between. The course was much more exciting due to the stronger currents. There was a point wherein we paddled against the current for about a minute or so. Really felt my tired arms about to fall off so I stopped paddling but I could still see Neil and Clint paddle to the maximum level! Very impressive! Neil was paddling so fast that one stroke of ours was already 2-3 strokes of his! We managed to go against the current after a few minutes of crazy paddling to the max to repeat a certain drop that had our raft almost in vertical position. Super astig! High-five! And in true Barney [How I Met Your Mother] fashion: "legendary"! There was also a part wherein Clint instructed us to stand up on the raft while paddling. We tried to paddle but the raft was super shaky so we opted to hold on to the rope beside our raft and kinda sat down (but Clint was still shouting "Tayo! Tayo!" Haha, no way dude! I am holding on to the raft and sitting down my pretty butt now! I don't wanna fall off the raft!:p ) The advanced course had 7 or 8 rapids. We had to lock our feet more often (by inserting our feet under the seat in front of us) this time. After the last rapid, we all jumped into the water and floated downstream up to the end point (which was the beginning point for the basic rafting). I was drifting too far away from the left [calmer] side of the river so Clint towed me by my lifevest. On the other hand, Ces was journeying too close to the side of the river which tend to have lots of leeches so Clint also grabbed her away from it.
3:00 PM - Finally finished the awesome white water rafting experience! Posed for a picture in front of the CDO rafting sign together with our friendly rafters Clint, Neil, Ryan and Pio. My right hand which held the paddle handle felt a bit ngalay. My left hand which held the lower part of the paddle was a bit red from all the friction. And since I did not put on sunblock, I ended up with a rudolph nose and cheeks, roasted legs and forearms. As of this writing, my sunburned legs are super itching to the max. Argghh!
KAGAY WHITE WATER RAFTING VOYAGES = 5/5 RATING (Excellent! Highly Recommended!)
CONTACT NUMBERS: 0917-712-0325/0917-712-2323/(088) 856-3972
Cost of Basic Rafting: Php 500/pax
Cost of Advanced Rafting: Php 700/pax
PROS: Their riverguide-rafters are very adept. I felt totally safe even if I didn't know how to swim. They are very alert and quick to respond. Like when Ces and I was about to fall off the raft, Clint quickly grabbed us by our lifevests. Sense of humor is also a welcome trait. To lighten up the mood and as an icebreaker, Clint would crack jokes in relation to our surroundings once in awhile. I could almost hear an "esmyuskee" joke in my head! He also gave clear paddling instructions and safety tips. He made sure that we understood all his instructions. In case you book a rafting trip with Kagay, we highly recommend Clint :)
Gears provided did not smell funky. The lifevests had different sizes for a snug fit. Lifevest straps and helmet strap were complete and had no defects. Paddle was in good condition. They provided us with a waterproof duffel bag for our things. There is a shower area at the end point of the basic course but we did not get to try it.
A CD containing the numerous photos taken by their 7MP Pentax waterproof digicam was delivered to our hotel by Pio around 6:30PM the same day.
CONS: Their beige colored raft was not photogenic. A bright yellow, red or blue raft would register better on photos. Not a big deal actually, nothing like a good Photoshop can't fix ;-)
After being dropped off by the Team Kagay dudes at Plaza Divisoria, we walked back to our hotel (Casa Crystalia - Tel. No.: 88-722465) in all our post-rafting wet glory. Overnight booking for quadruple sharing costed Php 1,335. It's a budget hotel which is conveniently at walking distance from Jollibee, McDo and Mercury Drug. It has an aircon, cable TV, hot shower, two twin beds and two bad-ass-huge cockroaches inside the CR (yikes!). It has a restaurant downstairs but we opted to venture out and eat at the nearby Barkadahan which their receptionist recommended. Barkadahan is a self-serve restaurant with grilled seafood in their menu. They had a very helpful waiter who attended to us and helped us choose our food. After our meal, we stopped by Hanabel bakery which was just beside Barkadahan to buy pastries for our early breakfast. We bought our bottled waters from Mercury Drug. Since we had to leave the hotel early at 6AM the next day, we decided to settle our bill the same night.
Read about our Camiguin Day Tour here.