(Auggie the Lion)
Brave the waters
Never mind effortless water striders
Forward, back, stop
Ride, maneuver or you drop!
Paddle hard, harder, hardest
Make yourself, your momma proudest
Sit at the side, stay inside
Balance, sway, go with the flow, they say.
Rapids are rough
Raft is tough
Rocks, boulders bump and grind
Scream Wohoo!, Yeah!, no one will mind.
|Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines|
Some say we should start the year with a bang! I say, start it with a splash! White water rafting has long been on my bucket list and finally this year, my time and resources (Thanks to my sister, who arranged the adventure for me and my cousin.) have conspired and left me with no reason to say "maybe next time".
We started our journey at exactly 8 AM when we were picked up by CDO BUGSAY guides at Gran Europa village's entrance. There were three guides, a driver and two other guests with us inside their jeepney/saraw service. The weather was exactly what we wanted it to be - not sunny and not rainy (although halfway in our course it did rain and made the water cooler). My cousin and I would have wanted to go for the Advanced Course but the two other guests from Manila weren't up for the added challenge so we had no choice but to settle with the Beginner's Course. We arrived at the start-off point and I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the river that I wanted to grab the raft myself and start the adventure right away.
With my cousin Dianna from NZ
We suited up with life vests and helmets as soon as we arrived in the site. One of the guides warmly welcomed us and gave a short introduction about himself, the other guides and the company they were representing. A brief orientation about water rafting including proper handling of the paddle, conduct inside the raft and some important safety reminders followed thereafter. After we were told that when one of the guides shout, "High five!" we bring our paddles up and yell, "Bugsay!", we immediately jumped into the raft and started the three-hour journey downstream.
Brief orientation with our Bugsay guide before the ride
Our first of many encounters with the rapids
FORWARD, BACK, STOP!
Our first encounter with the rapids happened as soon we took off. We paddled according to the guides' instructions whether to paddle forward, back or stop. My cousin and I were seated at the front part of the raft which was perfect! Our feet were planted firmly on built-in feet anchors so we wouldn't be thrown out easily when the going gets tough. The two other guests were seated in the middle and the two guides at the back. It was exhilarating! I learned how to paddle at a very young age because I grew up in a coastal town but paddling and, at the same time, maneuvering the raft with unpredictable river current and obstacles of rocks and boulders ahead, is totally different. Good thing the guides obviously knew what they were doing so I never had an ounce of doubt regarding our safety. Besides, I was looking for an adventure so I was expecting that I'd get thrown out or at least get eaten by a hungry crocodile for snack. (Haha! Just kidding on the crocodile part.)
Paddle hard, harder, hardest!
RIO, FLORA AND FAUNA
As we headed further downstream, more challenging rapids awaited us and to add more thrill to our already thrilling ride, the guides modified our 'roles' and positions inside the raft. They made us stand in front or sit at the front bumper part while our feet hang or shifted the raft's position backward as we approached the rapids. The most exciting part was when we braved the rapids very fast before we intentionally collided with a boulder in the middle of the river (see video below). I expected our raft to topple over but it didn't and I was a bit disappointed (but was thankful after because I couldn't imagine the scene if we did). There were times when the waters were calm and we were allowed to dive off the raft and swim. The water was almost ice-cold so we had to keep our muscles active all the time. Flora and fauna were abundant in the vast stretch of greenery along the river. There were wild ferns, orchids and wild animals such as colorful birds, lizards and snakes.
This snake, probably a red-tailed green ratsnake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum), was hanging by the cliff, motionless and resting comfortably.
One of the Philippine sailfin lizards (Hydrosaurus amboinensis) we spotted along the riverbank.
MORE THAN SATISFIED
The last portion of our ride consisted mostly of swimming and more chit-chats with our guides and other guests. We also had a chance to climb up a volcanic rock formation in the middle of the river and each one of us was 'required' to dive or jump off before we advance downstream. One of the guides dived first and I followed right away. It took a long time for the three female guests, including my cousin, to gather enough courage to jump although it was only about 10 feet high. After the jump, we braved our last encounter with the rapids before we reached the end of our roller coaster river ride few minutes past 11 AM. It was definitely the best way for me to start the year. Water nourishes life and having said that, I hope I will be as aggressive as the rapids and come out stronger and tougher than any obstacles that will come my way this year! Cheers to more adventures, lots of blessings and a year-round full of love and success for me and everyone! ;)
The diver in me. Haha!
Water's rough but we're tough!
Start your own adventure now! Contact CDO BUGSAY RIVER RAFTING at: 09177035558 or 09228377646.
Here are the videos:
We stand strong!
Man (women actually) overboard!