Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines — Located along the north-central coast of Mindanao is Cagayan de Oro, also known as the City of Golden Friendship because of the warm and hospitable people of the city. It is the capital of the Province of Misamis Oriental and serves as the regional center, making it one of the busiest and most competitive cities in the Philippines.

The geographical location and reliable transportation facilities also made it as the gateway of Northern Mindanao, bounded on the north by Macajalar Bay, Iligan Bay on the west, Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte on the south and southwest, and on the east by Agusan Del Norte.

Cagayan de Oro River, photo by Mae Ilagan
Cagayan de Oro River, photo by Mae Ilagan

Despite the modernization in the city of Cagayan de Oro, this destination offers nature tripping activities and never-ending adventures. Extreme sports are accessible to the adrenaline junkies in this lovely city. It is a paradise for those who want to cross off this kind of activity in their Bucket list.


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Discover Whitewater Rafting in Cagayan de Oro River

Whitewater Rafting is a fast-paced and extreme outdoor activity that involves hurtling down a river in an inflatable raft, dodging and hitting rocks, and even falling down various degrees of rough water. It’s an activity where you will feel the rush of rapids and discover the thrill of nature in a whole new way.

In CDO, whitewater rafting is one of the main tourist attractions that is highly promoted by the Department of Tourism. As they usually say, “You have never been to CDO if you haven’t gone whitewater rafting”.

CDO Whitewater Rafting
CDO Whitewater Rafting

Cagayan de Oro River is the playground for the Whitewater rafting adventure. It also serves as a natural boundary between the provinces of Bukidnon and CDO. If you are heading downstream or doing the rafting adventure, Bukidnon can be seen on the left side while CDO is on the other side.

Cagayan de Oro River Barangay Uguiaban, photo by Mae Ilagan
Cagayan de Oro River Barangay Uguiaban, photo by Mae Ilagan

From Seda Centrio, we traveled for about 1 hour to the put in location in is Barangay Uguiaban. The transportation was already provided by Kagay Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting, or simply Kagay – our official guide for our river adventure.

Kagay is a group of experienced staff and guides, mostly locals from Barangay Mambuaya, with years of experience when it comes to reading the river and providing rafting tours. All of them are well-trained in river travel, customer care, and most importantly first aid. Last year, they earned a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence from the great reviews they got from various clients.

Jeepney ride to Cagayan de Oro River
Jeepney ride to Cagayan de Oro River

Upon our arrival, everyone started to gear up. People would initially think that white water rafting is a dangerous activity, who wouldn’t, right? But with the professional river guides and the safety gears (helmets, buoyancy aid, and paddle), we didn’t feel like we are headed on an enjoy-now-regret-later-YOLO ride. All safety gears and guides were all provided by Kagay.

Getting ready for the Whitewater Rafting
Getting ready for the Whitewater Rafting

There are 3 river rafting options to choose from: lower, middle and upper sections. We took the combination of the middle to lower sections which will run for around 1.5 to 2 hours. Each of the sections has varying counts and types of rapids. The lower section has a total of 14 Class I to II rapids, the middle has a total of 24 Class I – IV, and the Upper section has 14 majority Class III rapids. Our choice will let us experience 10 Class I – III rapids.

Classes of Whitewater Rapids:

  • Class I: Easy, fast-moving water with few obstructions.
  • Class II: Easy to moderate rapids making navigation a little bit more difficult than Class I. There are some sudden drops and rocks that may require maneuvering but can be easily avoided.
  • Class III: Moderate Rapids with a sudden burst of speed due to powerful currents. This Class is usually found on river bends.
  • Class IV: Intense rapids with larger waves than Class III and possible dangerous obstacles. This Class can be handled with fast maneuvers and extensive paddling. Moderate to high risk of injury to people in the water.
  • Class V: Very violent rapids with complex routes. Proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. There is a high risk of injury to people in the water. Beginners should avoid all river tours that may involve Class V and VI of rapids.
  • Class VI: Tough, unpredictable and dangerous class of rapid. For teams of experts only since errors can have severe consequences.

Before we started the adventure, a safety lecture was given by our official guide. In summary, he told us about how to paddle, do’s and don’ts, what we should expect, and how we should react on possible things that may happen during the rafting activity. It is important to listen carefully to the lecture as this could be a life-saver in case something goes wrong during the rafting tour. It is crucial to keep in mind that the main goal is to avoid falling from the raft during the rapids.

Briefing before we go to the wild water, photo by Kagay
Briefing before we go to the wild water, photo by Kagay

After the thorough briefing, we are finally ready to ride the raft. We were having mixed emotions of fear, excitement, and happiness as we started paddling to the wild. In just a few minutes, we were whooping as we run into our first rapid. Per our guide, it was an easy obstacle and it was just a warm-up. Slam!

Passing under Uguiaban bridge, photo by Kagay
Passing under Uguiaban bridge, photo by Kagay

As we continue paddling, the rapids become more challenging and demanding and as the paddling becomes harder, our screams got louder as well.

Intense water encounter, photo by Kagay
Intense water encounter, photo by Kagay

The biggest rapid almost made one of us fell off the rafts. Luckily, one of our team members has fast reflexes and he was able to grab him back to the raft.

Hit by strong rapids, photo by Chuckie Dreyfus Action Cam
Hit by strong rapids, photo by Chuckie Dreyfus Action Cam

This activity is perfect for barkada and team building since it will really develop the teamwork. Focus is needed to be able to follow the commands given by the tour guide.

High Paddle five, photo by Kagay
High Paddle five, photo by Kagay

There are parts of the river where the water is extraordinarily calm and is highly recommended for swimming. It is also the part where the breathtaking view of Cagayan de Oro landscape and green scenery can be witnessed. Truly, the City has a lot of diverse things to offer. There was no dull moment during our rafting activity which made the trip more fun.

Serenity of Cagayan de Oro River, photo by Kagay
Serenity of Cagayan de Oro River, photo by Kagay

When we are about our river adventure, one of our members decided to take some drone shot of the beautiful river. To add more spice while waiting for her, our guide brought us to a small cave where snake skins can be found. It is the definitely the scariest part of the adventure for me since I have a strong fear of snakes. Goosebumps! Thank God, we were able to leave without seeing any snake.

Moving out of the Snake Cave, photo by Mae Ilagan
Moving out of the Snake Cave, photo by Mae Ilagan

After 1.5 hours of thoroughly having the time our lives, we finished the activity at Sitio Aura, Barangay Mambuaya with complete body parts LOL. It was immensely fun and we were eagerly craving for more.

Kids enjoying the rapids at Sitio Aura
Kids enjoying the rapids at Sitio Aura

After a fun-filled trip through the rapids, we were rewarded by a delicious Lechon boodle fight. It was one of the tastiest lechon I’ve tasted in my life.

Yummy Cagayan de Oro Lechon
Yummy Cagayan de Oro Lechon

So, who’s up for this challenge?

Just a few reminders if you’re interested to try this activity (you should!):

1. Wear your rashguard. Nobody wants to get sunburned. Summer or not, you will be exposed to the harmful rays of Mr. Sun so it’s better to get your skin protected.
2. Use sunblock for added protection.
3. Do not bring gadgets or any item that you don’t want to get wet. Especially if it’s not waterproof.
4. Bring some food and water to keep you filled throughout the river activity.
5. Listen to your guide!
6. And of course, enjoy the moment and have fun!

For inquiries and information about whitewater rafting packages of Kagay, you may visit their official website at http://www.kagaycagayandeororafting.com/.

Experience Paragliding in Amaya View

Have you ever dreamed of flying and wondered what it’s like to have a bird’s-eye view? Well, you are not alone. Many of us dream of flying, but only few will accept the challenge. I’m glad I did!

Paragliding is the closest activity that people can try to experience flying like a bird. It is a recreational air sport that resembles parachuting. The activity uses a paraglider or an inflatable wing attached to a person’s body by a harness in order to allow it to glide. This activity relies solely on the wind and pilot’s expertise.

Experience Paragliding in Amaya View
Amaya View Paraglider

Amaya view (formerly Sierra del Oro) is the newest sky destination that is perfect for Paragliding. It is located at the highest peak of Cagayan de Oro. They were the first to offer Paragliding in CDO and they now serve as the Paragliding hub of Mindanao.

Tandem Paragliding at Amaya View, CDO
Tandem Paragliding at Amaya View, CDO

Despite its location, it is very accessible to road transportation with a travel time of 30 – 40 minutes from downtown. The only hassle we encounter on the way is the traffic in the city center.

Upon arrival, we noticed that some of the attractions are still under construction. Nonetheless, it has the perfect view of the city and Indahag hills. We did not hesitate at all to try Paragliding. It has been in my bucket list for a long time and I’m glad I’m finally crossing it off the list in Cagayan de Oro — the Adventure Capital of the Philippines.

Amaya Azul Infinity pool with the view of Indahag Hills
Amaya Azul Infinity pool with the view of Indahag Hills

While we were waiting for the wind to blow, fear knocked on us. The fact that they have tandem pilots that will join and control the flight made us worry less. Fear may be a strong force that stops people to do amazing things, but we are more powerful than fear.

I am the third one from our group to try the Paragliding. Trusting the pilots is the key to have a comfortable flight. I may be a little nervous as the hooks were latched on to me and to my pilot, but knowing that they are from Northern Mindanao Paragliding Club made me calm and relax.

Preparing to fly
Preparing to fly

As the wind blows up, the pilot gave the instruction to run to the to the trailing edge. Since the activity is wind-dependent, the instruction may come any time after the harness is secured. The instruction “Run!” may also surprise you but being alert is a must for this activity.

Ready to Run and glide
Ready to Run and glide

I am more than excited as we glided and started to fly. Your heart may skip a bit while running to trailing edge, but as soon as the wind picks you up and you started to fly, you will surely do not want it to end.

While on air, all you have to do is to sit on the harness and enjoy the view of Indahag hills and city of Cagayan de Oro. For me, it was a dream come true and the feeling of flying is so addicting not to mention that the bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills is stunning as expected.

We were flying for less than 10 mins, yet it is one of the best experiences of my life so far. I can’t wait to try it again!

Enjoying the view of Indahag hills
Enjoying the view of Indahag hills

If you want to make your dream of flying a reality, come and visit Amaya View and try it for only 2500php per head. The flyable time in Amaya View is 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM or depending on the wind blow.

For more information and inquiries, you may contact them on their mobile number 0915-280-1759 or official FB page at https://www.facebook.com/amayaviewcdo/.

The author in Cagayan de Oro
The author in Cagayan de Oro

What are you waiting for? Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy these amazing extreme activities in the City of Golden Friendship.

If you are planning to go, AirAsia is now offering flights to Cagayan de Oro City from Manila twice daily, Cagayan de Oro – Cebu route also has daily flights, Cagayan de Oro – Clark has four times weekly and lastly, Cagayan de Oro to Iloilo has flights every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or three times weekly.

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