THE Kagay-anon old wives’ tale warns that beneath the ebb and flow of the perilous Cagayan De Oro River is a giant man-eating fish – a myth immortalized by an old stone tablet depicting an Augustinian priest being devoured by the mammoth leviathan, a tableau once exhibited at a garden in the city’s St. Augustine Church, now transferred to a less conspicuous location in the cathedral’s compound.
This legend has done little to sway locals away from the nearly 90-kilometer-long river though, now an integral part of the life and livelihood of many in the Northern Mindanao region –straddling the provinces of Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, and Iligan.
Most notably, the river – with its wily rapids and scenic rock formations – has raised CDO as the white water rafting capital of the Philippines. No wonder Cagayan de Oro has become a haven for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers far and wide, not even the danger of wide-mawed monster could scare off locals.
RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH
Whitewater rafting and kayaking tours can be easily booked with travel agencies and operators in the city proper of Cagayan de Oro itself, some even having kiosks in major malls – the most popular being Great White Water Rafting CDO, run by Promote Northern Mindanao Foundation chief Elpidio Paras, also owner of two adventure parks in the region.
These all-inclusive expeditions typically include transport services to the mouth of the Cagayan de Oro River, pickup at the end of the usual 2-hour rafting course, and a hearty meal after the excursion. However, if you’re still hankering for an additional adrenaline fix – even after your wild river jaunt – there’s Dahilayan Forest Park in neighbouring Bukidnon for upland adventurers, and Seven Seas Waterpark for daredevil buccaneers.
An hour’s journey from downtown CDO is enthralling Dahilayan Adventure Park, home to Asia’s longest dual zipline. Located at the foothills of Mount Katinglad in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, the chilly destination is elevated 3,400 feet above sea level – so pack a jacket if you’re not keen on getting cold. The pine tree-lined woodland park boasts a slate of heart-racing attractions, including an 840-meter zipline that descends 100 meters – the longest and first of its kid in Southeast Asia.
If you’re feeling especially fearless, challenge your fortitude with Dahilayan Forest Park’s death-defying Dropzone, a freefall ride that plunges you head-on into a manmade lake from a height of 120 feet, before swinging you up again like a pendulum. Equally thrilling are the Skytower Base Jump and Python Roller Zipride that, while still riveting and breathtaking, also treat you to a unique vantage point of the forest playground’s mesmerizing views and lets you glide past the lush canopy of the nature park.
Meanwhile, in Opol, Misamis Oriental – just 30 minutes outside of Cagayan De Oro City – is the Philippines’ largest pirate-themed waterpark: Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort.
The five-hectare property requires a full-day expedition just so you can savor and experience all the park has to offer – with its 12 extreme waterslides, 400-meter lazy river, and vast and exciting wave pools, as well as its handful of swashbuckler and marine life-inspired attractions.
Also having play areas for families and children, Seven Seas is popular for its lineup of exhilarating waterslides: from the classic Cannonball run slide to the dizzying mammoth Cyclone which almost seems to defy gravity, all of which drop you from jaw-dropping four to five-storey heights.
Cagayan De Oro has plenty more outdoorsy activities for both seasoned and newbie foolhardy and brave explorers alike – from canyoneering to spelunking to rock climbing. Truly, in CDO the adventure never ends!
HOW TO GET THERE
2Go Travel links Western Visayas to Cagayan De Oro with its premium M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus vessel, equipped with creature comfort amenities and spacious rooms, so much so that your vacation already begins with the journey. The ship plies the Manila-Bacolod-Iloilo-Cagayan De Oro route weekly, with a capacity of nearly 1,000 passengers.
2Go Travel remains one of the largest, premier land and sea travel providers in the Philippines, boasting a combined history of over 150 years in the travel and maritime industry and born out of established brands Negros Navigation, Superferry, Cebu Ferries, and Supercat.
2Go aims to redefine travel. It works with over 1,200 outlets nationwide, catering to various ports in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – combining a seamless travel experience, with breathtaking destinations, and the luxury of hotel accommodations. Visit a 2Go outlet near you to kick start your plans of a Cagayan De Oro adventure./PN