“Rafting in the Storm”

“Rafting in the Storm”
Our Cagayan de Oro Adventure
by Danny Tariman

The excitement grows bigger as we near the date of our trip to Cagayan de Oro. My daughter who loves extreme sports/adventure is eager – no “eager” is a weak description; maybe “dying” is better – to go rafting in the wild rivers of Cagayan de Oro.

The day, and the day before, we were scheduled to try this extreme adventure, it was raining hard. When we went out for dinner in the evening the streets were flooded – only big vehicles can pass. I just dismiss the idea that the rafting tour operator would cancel the adventure ride. In fact I had already in my mind the title of my blog “Rafting in the Storm”. I thought it will be more challenging, more exciting, more adventurous.

A brief stop over at St Augustine Church in our CDO tour in the rain.
A brief stop over at St Augustine Church in our CDO tour in the rain.

In the morning, I called our friend who was going with us in the rafting adventure and who is from Cagayan, to check if the rafting is okay. He replied in the affirmative! Wow! Great!

We quickly managed to have a brief city tour despite the rains. We drove through the busy streets in the business district. We stopped at St Augustine Cathedral – the main Catholic church of the city. It is huge, the altar is large, its windows are made of frosted glass.

We tried looking for the museum which we ‘found out’ from the internet but after driving a distance, and making U-turns, we were not able to locate it. And so, we decided to visit the newest mall in the city operated by Ayala Malls. We had a good lunch in the mall but since it is an upscale, Manila-company-operated mall, most of the restaurants were branches of Manila brands.

The white water rafting -- a famous adventure in Cagayan de Oro
The white water rafting — a famous adventure in Cagayan de Oro

We then proceeded to the rafting tour office. We met our very good family friend, Fr Kit, who hails from Cagayan de Oro. We will be with him in this rafting adventure. He too, loves this extreme adventure, and was insisting we take the advance course – the “course” here means the more difficult path or waterways. I was asking him if there will be courses with jumps, a small falls where the raft jumps into the lower stream. He said there are!

My adrenalin is starting to rise! I sense my family’s too. We are all excited to go white river rafting in Cagayan. We boarded a jeep which took us to the drop-off point. The distance is a bit far – maybe 20km uphill drive from the city. You can just imagine, that same distance is almost the distance we will be rafting going down the rapids!

And the rain continues.

Exciting indeed! My mind was “seeing” the rapids, with swollen water; while we are on a rubber raft zigzag-ing though the wild river, the raft jumping into the lower stream! Wow!

Rafting in the storm!

When we reached the drop off point, our tour guides, went ahead to the river bank to assess the situation. After few minutes, the leader announced “Guys, we cannot go down the river as it had swollen beyond the ‘danger limit’”.

My children for a photo-shoot of the swollen river.
My children for a photo-shoot of the swollen river.

Our excitement was doused. It was like pouring frozen water into your head.

Anyway…

We drove back to the city, with a brief stop-over at a cave along the way – the Makahambus Cave. The marker says that it was the place where the local infantry men fought gallantly against the American soldiers. The cave is actually a tunnel leading to the river – the same river we will be passing by raft! And indeed we saw the river very swollen and gushing with strong currents.

The Makahanbus Cave marker
The Makahanbus Cave marker

We capped our day with a dinner at Panagatan, a restaurant by the bay. It is in fact, above the sea, sitting on stilts. We had a gastronomic experience here in Cagayan – seafoods galore! We thank Fr Kit and family for the hosting us in this wonderful dinner. We truly enjoyed the company, the food, and the ambiance!

The feast of seafood in Cagayan de Oro hosted by Fr Kit & family.
The feast of seafood in Cagayan de Oro hosted by Fr Kit & family.

The next day, we visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy sitting on top of a hill near the airport. It is a very nice, serene place to meditate. The Shrine does not have a roof. It is a large garden with ornamental plants all-over the place. To go to the Shrine, you need to climb its 150 steps (my guestimate only). But it is worth the climb. Once you reach the Shrine grounds, a cool breeze and a peaceful environment welcomes you.

The Divine Mercy Shrine in Cagayan de Oro -- a peaceful garden.
The Divine Mercy Shrine in Cagayan de Oro — a peaceful garden.

My son had noticed that the “rays” emanating from the heart of Jesus’ statue is actually a ladder (or stairs) leading to the tabernacle which is imbedded in the “heart” or chest of the statue. Truly a wonderful work of art and engineering.

Thank You LORD for the gift of friends, and for the wonderful experience in Cagayan de Oro!

More photos:

The window panes of the Cathedral.
The window panes of the Cathedral.
My family in front of the Makahambus Cave
My family in front of the Makahambus Cave
Seafoods galore in Cagayan de Oro
Seafoods galore in Cagayan de Oro
The Panagatan seaside restaurant at night.
The Panagatan seaside restaurant at night.

 

[Rafting pictures courtesy of Bugsay Rafting CDO website]

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