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Country > Philippines > Cagayan de Oro
Date > 2013 > March
Activity > Rafting


River Rafting along Cagayan de Oro River Mar 7, 2013

River Rafting along Cagayan de Oro River

Location Google Map: Great Water Rafting Tour, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

White Water Branding
I was already over a month in Cagayan de Oro without ever trying their much talked-about tourism offering - white water rafting. In fact, in the same way that Siargao has its iconic branding on surfing and Coron with its wreck diving, Cagayan de Oro lays claim on water white rafting. White water rafting is offered in other parts of the country - Chico River in the Cordillera Mountain of the north, Tibiao in Panay, and I later learned, also in Davao. But in the Philippines, when "white water rafting" is mentioned, Cagayan de Oro quickly comes to mind. CDO has 5 established players offering the tour package, and the industry itself is already well-developed. When I was invited by Great White Rafting to do their ride, I was gung-ho to finally find out what CDO river rafting is all about.

Manila Crew
I was picked-up straight from my hotel (and brought back the same way). Usually though, the pick-up point is Coffee Works beside Xavier University. I was a joiner to a Manila-based group of 8. We bonded well during the day's ride and I was even invited to join them for drinks later that night. I dare not mention where they work since I suspect some of them called-in sick that day. LOL! Coffee Works was the pick-up point.

Setting Up
After going 12 kilometers upriver, the raft was set up on the river bank bordering the Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon boundary for the basic grade rafting (14 rapids). We were given the standard gear - helmet, vest and paddle. There was a brief orientation by our guide who gave us a high-level picture of the rapids that lay ahead, the do's and don'ts and the paddle 'high 5'. Our cameras were collected for a full-time camera crew on a kayak to just take our pictures! How cool is that? Just is just soooo forward-thinking. That practice should be emulated across the country!

The Ride
Our group was divided into 2 rafts to avoid over-crowding. Our guide did a good job telling us stories during the 3-hour ride. The camera crew meantime would head out forward and wait at pre-determined spots for a perfect shot. Mid-way, they served us Vjandep Pastel and bottled water. I lost count, but we were supposed to go through 14 rapids. Some of them were adrenaline-sections that nearly threw us off the boat, some were caffeine moments and some were more like stutters. I hear that to get the most excitement, you really have to go the whole 9 yards and take the 21 Rapids course. During the entire ride, we shared the river with other travelers from a different rafting company. The rafts are color-coded. If you see white rafts, that's Great Water Rafting.

River Rafting along Cagayan de Oro River
up in arms for the greaat splash!

Typhoon Sendon
Dec 2011 saw the most devastating flood that wreaked havoc in Cagayan de Oro. The river flooded (largely due to illegal logging, illegal mining that uses water-blasting for accelerated land erosion, etc.) and rearranged the mightly Cagayan de Oro River-scape. Water level rose perhaps 20 feet (judging from the watermark that still scars the river berm) bulldozing everything that lay in its path. From what the guide told us, the technical rapids sections were relocated in several places.

The Manila Crew
I'm glad to have met this fun-loving (and hard-drinking!) office crew from Manila. They had been doing this annual jaunt together for years, usually holding it in different destinations. After this, they're thinking of where to go next. I suggested Coron given the wreck-diving, snorkeling spots, island hopping boat tours, mountain biking and just for the chillout factor. I joined them for drinks later that night at Yuri's and chow at Maxi's. They'd be doing Dahilayan Adventure Park the following day. I hope to hook-up with them when I visit Manila.

Ending Thoughts
It would seem that Great Water Rafting's operation is a well-oiled machinery. They have already done some thinking-through and the efficiency is evident - personal belonging lock-up, full-time camera crew, pastel snack with bottled water, prepared lunch, door-to-door pick up (or at Coffee Works), the story-telling guide, etc. I could imagine that they'd be quick to improvise and add even marginal efficiencies for increased fun and comfort. Many many thanks to Bimbo and the cool staff and crew for making this happen for me.

Great White Rafting comes in many names: Great White Rafting (logo), Great White Water Rafting (painted on the boat), Great White Water Tours (posters) and River Rafting CDO (domain name). Confused? Me too!

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

ps - If you want me to objectively cover your resort for this website (beach resort, mountain resort, island resort, etc.), email me.

Get More Info:
Cagayan de Oro white water rafting

How to Get There

The entire tour is a door-to-door pick-up. Usually though, with pre-arranged bookings, pick-up is done at Coffee Works beside Xavier University in Divisoria. Just tell any jeep driver or tricycle driver to drop you off Xavier University. They'll know that.

Great Water Rafting Rates per Head as of Mar 2013

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Reader Comments:

Jovy LugtuJovy Philippines
(Mar 10, 2013) thanks Gigit !... you spared me the effort of documenting how much fun we had riding the rapids :) ... panalo photo captions mo! LOL :) ...

Yasmin AlihYasmin Philippines
(Mar 10, 2013) just sharing....summer kick-off with the boys and Jovy :) Blog courtesy of Gigit..

Nalani RachelRachel Philippines
(Mar 7, 2013) Hindi ka naman masaya. :))

Pia FaustinoPia Philippines
(Mar 7, 2013) Looks fun, Gigit!!

Jim WardJim Philippines
Thai Plum Village
(Mar 7, 2013) Will you EVER slow down....

Bam BiBam Bi Philippines
(Mar 7, 2013) I really wanna try this. Actually meron din dito Git, sila Jackie din nagseserve.

Judy PazonJudy Philippines
(Mar 7, 2013) I took that too, 2 years ago...and we had the funniest guide ever w/c made the adventure quite remarkable! Great Water Rafting din..the name of our guide is Tata. Did you do the advance? It's more thrilling, Git. Sa Davao, super mahal, 2k per pax kaya di na kami tumuloy when we were there. I was negotiating if they can remove the t-shirt, lunch and free ticket at the Crocodile Park para maka discount kami kahit P1.5K...but still they did not allow - *very tourist friendly*. From what I read, they have more rapids in CDO than in Davao.

Laiza LimpinLaiza Philippines
(June 6, 2013) I and my friends enjoyed the 14-rapid course! Would love to go back and try the advanced course! Very cool and funny guide too (Jojo), I think we enjoyed listening to him more than some of the small rapids!

Wilhelmina MinorWilhelmina Philippines
(Sep 26, 2012) Great adventure!!! I really enjoyed it!!! Will do it again when I go back to CDO.

Next story:

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities Lucid Thoughts

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities

(Mar 19, 2013) As I continue my stay here in Cagayan de Oro (CDO), the abundance continues without abatement - it's almost bordering on surreal. Business has been good and I'm back into the black (instead of drowning in red ink). While the going is shifting into high gear, I'll make the most out of this borrowed time...more »»

Rafting Blogs by TheLoneRider

About Cagayan de Oro

City of CDO About Cagayan de Oro:

Cagayan de Oro, fondly referred to as "City Of Golden Friendship" is the northern gateway to the rest of Mindanao. Because of its stable peace and order situation, commerce is bustling fueled by local and foreign investments.

Cagayan de Oro in a nutshell

  1. Economy - business hub of Northern Mindanao region with its economy largely based on industry, commerce, trade, services and tourism
  2. Climate - no typhoons all year round, tropical climate with an average temperature whole year round of 280C (820F)
  3. Tourist attractions - white water rafting and river trekking, Monigue Cave, Malasag Eco-tourism Village, Macahambus Adventure Park, F.s. Catanico Falls, McArthur Park, Xavier Museum
  4. Land area - 488 square kilometers
  5. Geography - located in northern Mindanao, along a narrow coastal plain with its south flanked by the plateaus and mountains of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.
  6. Religion - 87% of the population are Roman Catholic
  7. Education - it is home to 3 private universities, Capitol University, Liceo de Cagayan University and Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan and considered the educational capital of the region
  8. Language - the main language is Cebuano with English used primarily for business and in the academe. Tagalog is also spoken.
  9. Shopping - Night Cafe And Market, Limketkai Mall Center, SM City, Robinsons, Gaisano City Mall, Market City, Centrio Ayala Mall and (soon to open) Paseo Mall
  10. Population - 621,000 in 2010
  11. Transportation - one can easily roam around the city by any means of land transportation
  12. Medical Facilities - there are eight major well-equipped private and government-run hospitals

Google Map of Cagayan de Oro

Google Map Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

How to get to Cagayan de Oro

how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Air

Cagayan de Oro is major destination in the Philippines and all major airline companies have flights to Cagayan de Oro. CDO arrival is at Lumbia Airport. To get to the city, you can ride a cab (~P300) or take a Carmen-bound jeep (30 mins, P17)

  1. PAL Express - has flights to CDO coming from Manila and Davao
  2. Cebu Pacific - has flights to CDO coming from Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and Zamboanga
  3. Philippine Airlines - has flights to CDO coming from Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao
  4. TIP: unlike GenSan or Busuanga where you are forced to take a cab or van from the airport, in CDO, you can just walk out of the airport and cross the street and flag down a jeep that will take you straight to downtown CDO, to Cogon Market or Carmen. 45 mins (because they stay long on nearly every major stop, waiting for more passengers), less than P20.
how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Land
  • Philtranco - Manila (Pasay) to Cagayan de Oro, 42 hours, non-aircon, departs Manila 10:30am daily
  • Bus - from Malaybalay, P375, aircon 6.5 hours (some road repair)
how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Sea
  • Super Ferry 2Go Travel - Manila to CDO, 33 hours

      Accommodation and Rates (as of Mar 2013)

    • Mega Value Class - Php 1500
    • Tourist Class - Php 1350
    • Stateroom for 2 - Php 2400
    • Manila to CDO schedule

  • Negros Navigation - Manila to CDO, 33 hours, Manila (02)554.8777, CDO (088) 856.9114

      Accommodation (as of Mar 2013)

    • Suite Room Accommodation
    • Admiral Cabin Accommodation
    • Business Class Accommodation
    • Tourist Class Accommodation
    • Tatami Economy Class Accommodation
    • Budget Class Accommodation

      Schedule of St. Micheal the Archangel (as of Mar 2013)

    • depart Manila Mondays at 3:00 p.m. - arrive Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday 4:30 a.m.
    • depart Manila Thursdays at 11:59 p.m. - arrive Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday 9:00 a.m.

  • Sulpicio Lines - Manila to CDO, 33 hours

Cagayan de Oro Blogs


  • Cagayan de Oro: Passing Through Aug 13/20, 2023
  • 2013

  • Goodbye Cagayan de Oro Jan 31 - May 5, 2013
  • Summer Peace Festival 2013 at Cagayan de Oro Apr 26-28, 2013
  • Abundance and Letting Go Apr 5, 2013
  • Cagayan de Oro's Street Masseuse March 24, 2013
  • Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities Mar 19, 2013
  • River Rafting along Cagayan de Oro River Mar 7, 2013
  • Abundance in Cagayan de Oro Feb 10, 2013
  • 2009

  • Exploring Cagayan de Oro Mar 7-9, 2009

  • Brief History
    1. 1622 - the Spaniards set foot on Cagayan de Oro initiating the start of Spanish colonization in the area. This started a war with the Moros who didn't appreciate the locals siding with the Spanish priests
    2. 1739 - moro raids menaced the population of "Little Cagayan" prompting the construction of a fort, Fuerza Real de San Jose
    3. 1870 - Cagayan de Oro, now the capital of Misamis Province, experiences its golden age of arts and literature
    4. 1898 - the 333 years of Spanish rule came to an end giving the Cagayanons a brief taste of independence
    5. 1900 - the Americans arrived and occupied the city thru military might
    6. 1942 - with WWII in full swing, the occupying Americans surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army
    7. 1945 - the Americans regain control of Cagayan and the region. WWII ended soon thereafter, with the surrender of the Japanese
    8. 2011 - Typhoon Sendong sends torrential flood waters from the mountains into the city wreaking havoc and killing hundreds as the Cagayan de Oro river overflowed. The people demonstrated resilience and tenacity with their rebuilding efforts

    Cagayan de Oro Attractions

    travel tip to Cagayan de Oro Not to be Missed in CDO:

    1. Divisoria - visit CDO on a Friday or Saturday and eat varied BBQ offerings at the famous Night Cafe in Divisoria. It's also great for shopping and getting an outdoor massage (full body massage P100)
    2. River Rafting - see selection below
    3. Dahilayan Adventure Park Dahilayan Adventure Park - 840m zipline, Dropzone (pendulum swing from 120 feet), pedal-ride on a forest canopy, team-building rope course and mountain lodge (read Blog)
    hotels Cagayan de Oro Hotels/Hostels/Pension/Inns/Lodging:
    • Uptown Condotel Uptown Condotel - Cagayan de Oro's first and only luxury condotel, fully furnished, near SM
    • Hotel Conchita Hotel Conchita - central location in Cagayan de Oro, near Ayala Mall, Limketkai Mall and Divisoria
    • De Luxe Hotel De Luxe Hotel - centrally located and short walk from Centrio Ayala Mall, Limketkai Mall and Divisoria
    cagayan de oro outdoor_activities Cagayan de Oro Outdoor Activities:
    • Dahilayan Adventure Park Dahilayan Adventure Park - experience Asia's longest dual zipline and warp-speed to 90kph
    • Sumalsag Cave - technical caving requiring a submerged dive to exit the cave. Sumilao, Bukidnon
    • Sprint Multisport Shop - Corrales corner Ramon Chavez St., 9000 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
    • Jatico Adventures - zipline, big swing, bungee tramp, zorb, boot camp, Sitio Mahayahay, Bayanga
    • Macahambus Adventure Park - rafting, zipline, rappeling, skybridge, caves, Barangay Bayanga
    cagayan de oro spa Cagayan de Oro Spa:
    • Iaso Spa Iaso Spa - Uptown CDO's refuge for body scrubs, soothing massage, sauna and jacuzzi treat
    • 3K Thai - Capistrano St., 714.918
    • Body Touch - Rosario Strip 856.1519 and Robinsons Mall, Limketkai, 856.3127
    • Fai Thai - Velez St., 714.528
    • La Cabana - CM Recto Ave., 856.4168
    • Nuat Thai - Papa Juanitos Square, Florentino St., 857.5877
    • Palm Day - San Agustin St., 857.2862
    • Red Fern - Velez-Chaves St., 852.1855
    • Sentara - Limketkai Drive, 856.8870
    White Water Rafting in CDO Cagayan de Oro White Water River Rafting Tours:
    • Cagayan de Oro river rafting Great White Rafting Tours - discover pure adrenaline with our professional guides (read Blog)
    • Bugsay Whitewater Rafting - San Agustin - Velez
    • Eco Extreme Rafting Adventure
    • Golden Friendship White Water Rafting
    • Rafting Adventure Philippines - #86 Jongko Bldg. Arch. Hayes Street, CDO
    • Kagay Whitewater Rafting - #21 Pres. Aguinaldo St., Cagayan de Oro City
    • Pinoy Whitewater Tubing - by De Oro Mountain Explorers (DOME)
    beaches in CDO Beaches and Beach Resorts in Cagayan de Oro:
    • Chali Beach Resort - Cugman CDO, GPS Waypoint: N 08 28.334 E 124 42.097, from Xavier University, take RD jeep and ask to be dropped-off at Chali Beach, P13, 30 mins. P100 consumable. Not for beach-swimming, pool (P100 extra), relaxing sea breeze, good food in resto, (the old domain, does not work anymore)
    • Roan Beach Resort - Taboc, Opol, Misamis Oriental, P100 open cottage, P300 big cottage, no entrance fee
    • Apple Tree Resort & Hotel - Brgy. Taboc, Cagayan de Oro (formerly : Lauremar Beach Resort)
    • Yasay Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • Marvilla Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • San Pedro Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • Duka Bay Resort - Medina, Misamis Oriental, shaded by ancestral trees, 7 villas
    • Lyka's Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Misamis Oriental
    • Acuna Beach - Baloy, Cagayan de Oro
    • Bonbon Beach - Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro
    • White Beach - white sand
    • Baagas Beach - Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro
    heritage sites, landmarks, attractions Attractions:
    • St. Agustine Cathedral and Garden - destroyed several times by fire and bombing, fully rebuilt
    • Cagayan de Oro City Museum - located at the converted Water Tower
    • Gaston Park - gathering place by locals for social interaction
    • Divisoria - popular during Friday and Saturday nights for its Night Cafe alfresco bbq
    • Golden Friendship Park - located along the Divisoria stretch
    • Macahambus Cave, Hill and Gorge - great outdoor trekking and caving, free
    • River Taxi Cruise - starts at Liceo Cagayan University going downstream to the Cagayan de Oro river mouth
    Cagayan de Oro Malls Malls:
    • Ayala Centrio - newest mall to open in CDO; 4 cinemas, C.M Recto Avenue and Corrales Street
    • Gaisano Mall - 6 branches, main mall located in CM Recto Ave., affordable shopping
    • Limketkai Center - 4 cinemas (1 is under renovation), 66,000 square meters of store space
    • SM Cagayan de Oro - 4 cinemas, shopping, restaurants, grocery, etc., located Uptown
    map of CDO Location of Participating Establishments

    link Essential Links:

    CDO >> Davao City by bus

    CDO has 2 bus stations - West Terminal Bulua and East Terminal Agora. For Davao, you have to take a jeep going to Agora.

    1. CDO West Terminal (Bulua) - if you came from Iligan, you would be getting off at trhe Bulua West Terminal. Take a jeep to East Terminal (Agora Terminal), 20 mins, PHP 20
    2. CDO East Terminal (Agora) - take bus going to Davao City, 8 hours, PHP 875. This terminal is open 24 hours and there is always a bus going to Davao - no need to pre-purchase tickets
    3. Davao Bus Terminal - you'll arrive at the Davao Bus Terminal, close to SM City. From there you can take a cab ride to your hotel. There are many jeeps that will also take you to the Poblacion town center, 15 mins, PHP 12

    CDO >> Iligan by bus

    CDO has 2 bus stations - West Terminal Bulua and East Terminal Agora. For Iligan, you have to take a jeep going to Bulua West Terminal.

    1. CDO East Bus Terminal (Agora) - 24 hours, if you came from Davao, you'll be disembarking at the Agora East Terminal. Take a jeep going to West Bus Terminal (Bulua), 30 mins, PHP 20.
    2. CDO West Terminal (Bulua) - 24 hours, take a bus going to Iligan. Many buses going west (Pagadian, Zamboanga, Plaridel, etc.) will pass by Iligan - just ask the bus conductor. 2 hours (1.5 hours night trip), PHP 200 (SC P160). You will get off at the Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal in Iligan
    3. Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal - from the terminal, take a jeep to City Proper and it will pass by the Iligan Port, 30 mins, 15 PHP (if you intend to take a boat out of Iligan)

    CDO >> Lazi, Siquijor by boat

    Cagayan de Oro to Lazi, Siquijor route by Kho Shipping was just opened up in early September 2023. Before, going to Lazi from Davao meant going to Iligan after CDO, adding 3 hours on the trip. Now, Iligan can be completely bypassed.

    1. CDO Port - take Kho Shipping to Lazi, W-F-Sun, 6 hours, CDO departure 5 pm, arrival in Lazi Port 11 pm, economy Pxxxx, tourist Pxxxxxx.

    2. Cagayan de Oro to Lazi

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