Cagayan de Oro is for the adventurous

By Annie G. Cuevas

THE Philippines has become a major destination for tourists who long for adventure rather than just visiting heritage sites and historical landmarks or enjoying the beauty of scenic spots. Many resorts throughout the country offer off-the-track and off-the road adventures such as ATV driving, zipline, skydiving, kayaking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning, trekking and mountain climbing.

One city that stands out in the new field of adventure tourism is Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental. It is one of two very popular whitewater rafting in the Philippines, the other one being the Chico River in the Cordilleras.

Cagayan de Oro offers one of the best white water rafting experiences in the country. But if you are faint at heart, you can do many other things in Cagayan de Oro and nearby Camiguin Island.

Whitewater rafting. The natural, wild and rugged countryside of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon blends well with the rough and tumble torrents of the roaring Cagayan de Oro River for an exciting experience of shooting the rapids and wrestling with the waves and whirlpools in a water sport called whitewater rafting. A minimum of six persons can enjoy a maximum of four hours with 14 rapids and friendly whirlpools between the huge mountain ranges. For rabid whitewater rafting enthusiasts, the experience wouldn’t be complete without doing what they call “Kiss the Walls.”

River Kayaking Tour. You can challenge the rapids of the Cagayan River onboard a kayak. If you don’t know how to kayak, formal lessons are offered prior to the tour.

River Tubing. Experience a truly Pinoy whitewater rafting with tubes instead of rafts in the rapids of the Cagayan de Oro River.

Caving at Kweba de Oro. You can go spelunking in Kweba de Oro (Cave of Gold) and rappel 110 feet down to the cave entrance.

Macahambus Adventure Park , Cave and Gorge. Visit the Macahambus Adventure Park and walk the 120-foot Sky Bridge/canopy walk amid gigantic, centuries-old trees. For an added adrenaline rush, rappel down to Macahambus Gorge or try the 120-meter Zip Line (also known as the Slide for Life).

Noslek Canopy Walk. Take a trip to the enchanting rainforest of Magbais in the municipality of Claveria in Misamis Oriental, just 1 hour and 45 minutes from Cagayan de Oro City. After a short climb, defy gravity while you cross the hanging bridges between the majestic trees, and marvel at the charm of the forest while on top. Trek the Magbais River and have a refreshing dip in the pools at the base of waterfalls.

Cagayan de Oro City Tour. Discover the City of Golden Friendship and enjoy the following attractions you can find in Cagayan de Oro: Plaza Divisoria/Golden Friendship Park, St. Augustine Cathedral, Wooden Sta. Cruz, Gaston Park, City Executive House, Ysalina Bridge, Casa del Chino Ygua, Vicente de Lara Park, MacArthur Memorial Marker, Makahambus Cave and Hill, and the Gardens of Malasag Eco- tourism village.

Camiguin Island Day Tour. Known as the “island born of fire,” Camiguin Island offers natural wonders and historic riches for the adventure tourist. On this day tour, you will get to see the following destinations: Taguines Lagoon, Sto. Niño Cold Springs, Old Catarman Church Ruins, Cross Marker and Sunken Cemetery, Old Vulcan, Station of the Cross, Ardent Hot springs, and the ever- famous White Island.

Gardens of Malasag Ecotourism Village/Mapawa Nature Park. Another must-see is the Gardens of the Malasag Ecotourism Village with its replicas of the region’s tribal homes, endemic plants and trees, and a panoramic view of Macajalar Bay. You can spend the rest of the day at the Mapawa Nature Park which is just minutes away from the Malasag Ecotourism Village, and offers a range of activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, rappelling, camping, zip lining, trampoline jumping, and waterfall trekking.

Participants to the 9th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) on July 28-31 can experience some of these by joining the Cagayan De Oro-Camiguin Tour, one of eight optional package tours available after the basic tour.

For four days and three nights, the tour will bring you to St. Augustine Cathedral, Bulua Pottery, MacArthur Marker, Xavier Museum, and island-hopping tour with lunch.  Accommodations in CDO will be at Seda Hotel and in Camiguin at Bahay Bakasyunan.

After the four-day tour, the adventurous ones can opt to experience whitewater rafting, kayaking or river tubing on Cagayan de Oro River. Have fun!

To join the 9th ACGTDT, please call the Philippine Department of Tourism-Los Angeles Office at (213) 487-4525 or your travel agent.

(Ms. Annie Cuevas-Lim is regional director of the Philippine Department Tourism-Los Angeles Office.)