The City of Golden Friendship Cagayan de Oro is known as the Whitewater Rafting Capital of the Philippines mainly because of the whole year round rafting activity and of course how someone mightily struggle the great rapids of Cagayan de Oro river.
Aside of being dubbed as the Whitewater Rafting Capital of the country, Cagayan de Oro is also known as the Pioneer of the said adventure. And i am proud to say, i had my meet up and conversation with the Pioneer himself, Mr Rupert Domingo.
(That's me and The PIONEER)
The Story and its People
In the northern part of Mindanao, province of Misamis Oriental,
lies the city of Cagayan de Oro. Aside from the famous label as being the City
of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro is known for the long-stretched river that
has a distance of approximately 38 kilometers from Ugiaban to Taguanao and
another 12.32 kilometers from Mambuaya to Kabula. It has its headwaters in the
Kalatungan Mountain Range found in the central part of the province of
Bukidnon. It passes through the municipalities of Talakag, Baungon and Libona.
It then empties in Macalajar Bay at Cagayan de Oro City.
The river functions as the natural border between the province
of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte and between Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City.
Kalambaguhan is the original name of the river derived from the
word “Lambago” from “Lambago trees” which can be found near the riverbanks. In
the midst of Spanish era, it was then renamed as “Cagayan” originating from the
Malayo-Polynesian word “ag” which means “water”. “Kagay” means “river” hence
“cagayan” is called “place with river.”
The year was 1995 on that rainy month of June when the adventure
aficionados Rupert Domingo and Julius Bioco finally materialized their hobby
into a full-time business. Passion, hardwork and their undying love for
adventure made their visions come true. It took them ten, long yet fulfilling
years to survey the majestic river and it includes testing the impact of the
raging rapids with sheer inflated tire tubes or crude floats made out of banana
trunks. Since then, the river became popular especially after well-known people
came to paddle and experienced adventure - Cagayan de Oro style! To name a few,
her Excellency president Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo visited the city and
witnessed first-hand, the mighty rapids of the river. Sports Unlimited
adventure-seeker hosts Diane Castillejo and Marc Nielson were also one of the
first few who joined the bandwagon. Beauty title holders Gloria Diaz, Margie
Moran, Dania (Ms. Honduras for Ms. Earth) among others conquered the rapids as
well. Famous artists such as Giselle Toengi, China Cojuangco, Piolo Pascual,
Angel Locsin had their share of extreme quest in the river.
It isn’t just a site for famous artists, politicians,
influential individuals or the shakers and movers of the country. It could be
the best place to have a team building, a bonding movement for family and
friends or any individual, Filipino or foreigner, who is willing to experience
pure adrenaline-pumping adventure.
THE UNSUNG HEROES
Behind every fulfilling adventure-packed trips of white water
rafting are unsung heroes who needs to be credited for a job well done. They
are the captains of the rapids, the sole navigators; they are, no other than,
the well-trained kick-ass river guides.
Others would say it is just an easy job but actually it’s not.
Some say that all they do is paddle, command and shout “high five” but it is
more than just that. Being a river guide requires patience, hard work, wit,
analytical skills and a great sense of humor.
Despite the excitement brought by the intensity of the rapids, a
rafting trip would never be twice the fun if the river guide does not acquire
those five traits mentioned above. Their role is extremely crucial on every
trip since they act s front liners who would deal with all sorts of
personalities. They have to adjust to different individuals with different
characters thus making the work extra challenging. Aside from that, they also
need to prioritize the safety of their guests that’s why every river guide has
to go through tremendous amount of training such as Basic Life Support and IRF
(International Rafting Federation) trainings and programs. Basically, a
riverguide’s task is just like juggling more than two things all at the same
time, they need to make that everyone is having one great adventure without
With this, we have to consider them as the masters of the river
who make every white water rafting trip memorable and what could be more
fulfilling than giving them a tap on the back for doing such a great job.
As they’d always say, “If you’d fall, just do the floating
position, feet up, butt up, spread your legs and always face down stream and
most importantly, don’t panic.”