Fine, I rest my case. During our experience, the water was brown due to the rain the night before. So, muddy water rafting or wild water rafting it is (instead of white water rafting)! Hehe.
I’m always up for adventure and doing crazy things I’ve never done before. That is not to say I don’t get scared. As a matter of fact, I always go through these crazy adventures terrified. I’m too afraid of heights and I don’t like unpredictability. That being said, it takes a ton of effort to talk to myself to be calm and convince myself to just go through whatever it is that I will regret at the end if I didn’t.
And so this was one of the entries in my bucket list. White water rafting sounded to me like a lot of fun. It seemed exhilarating to be going through that entire experience, especially hearing the gushing water all throughout. I was initially planning to try this if not in Cagayan de Oro, then maybe in New Zealand. But as life would happen, nothing is ever predictable. Thus, I gave this one a go. Also, this was included in the voucher that we availed.
We were dropped-off at the same place where the Crocodile Farm was. The guests were gathered inside, where gears (life jacket, paddles, helmets, rafts, etc.) rest and other amenities such as locker cabinets and water were. A television in this area was playing a video on loop about the water rafting happened in the past.
White water rafting is almost a whole day activity. We started traveling to the starting point for around 45 minutes, the organizers picked up our packed lunches on the way. We rode this extra-ordinarily long jeep and it got quite dusty. Upon arrival at the starting point, topics on precaution, safety and rescuing were discussed. It should be noted to pay very close attention to this pep talk as the scenarios discussed are likely to happen, especially when the weather is bad.
We were guided on how to put on our helmets and life jackets. Shortly after, we began our drills in the water. It was cold and the current was strong. It rained the night before thus the water was muddy and brown. We began positioning ourselves at the edge of the rafts and one can only manage to stay in the raft by the body’s balance and by the feet gripping on the ropes in the raft. There were different instructions coming from the guide (ours was Lloyd, he’s cool) and it is very important to follow them as to steer correctly. Strength and timing are important in white water rafting as paddling will be constant and the more in-sync the group is in paddling, the more the effort exerted are counted.
The ride started out smoothly but soon after we encountered a few loops and gush of water towards our direction, causing our raft to fumble and be unstable. A few times I was almost out of the raft but luckily, I managed to control my balance to prevent that. After an hour of admiring the nature’s beauty while paddling, getting wet, and laughing, we halted for our lunch.
Shortly after, off we were, back in our places and rafting once again. This time the water was a little wilder and even more unpredictable. Our speed would increase and then we would slow down, depending on the movement of the water. In between, we would be asked questions about our lives and we would love about the experiences of the past rafters. We were laughing at a time and be a bit thrown out of our comfort zone, the other as we would get ready for the upcoming water. It was like surfing in a way (when paddling towards the line-up) because the water would take us at a height, but then slam as down in an instant. It was good fun.
Probably about two hours into it, we soon reached the end. We hopped off and showered a little then off we went traveling another 45 minutes back in the Crocodile Farm. We were picked up by Crown Regency’s service van and brought back to the hotel. I had to shower thrice just to make sure I had no mud water on me. The experience was tiring and exhilarating… always a very good combination if you ask me. Watch our video below.
I have listed some things in preparation for the water rafting just to help you out and give you some ideas.
- Everything you wear will get wet so make sure to wear an attire that is made for this condition. I wore a pair of bikini covered in rash guard and board shorts. Avoid anything white if possible as it might turn brown at the end of the activity if the water was brown. It was difficult to wash off the brown water after.
- Bring an extra shirt and towel which you will leave in the jeep to change to after rafting.
- Remember to put on your most effective sunblock. Your body (especially your thighs and feet) will be exposed in the middle of the day so make sure to put a lot to avoid sunburn.
- I was wearing some sort of flip flops but the guides will recommend wearing something with strap so that it won’t get accidentally thrown away in the water or just go barefoot. I wore my slippers anyway and just asked for the guide to keep it in their dry bag together with our packed lunches, you may opt for this too.
- Leave everything else in the locker. We’ve been told that a lot of people have donated a lot of expensive things to the river (which included a Rolex watch! Ouch!). I suggest leaving everything that you will have to hold on to just to be on the safe side, even your waterproof camera. There were designated photographer and videographer during the activity. The payment for the activity already includes coverage.
- Do your business in the bathroom before leaving Crocodile Farm. There are no bathrooms at the starting point and anywhere else until the activity is done. Even then, the shower facility and bathroom were both messy.
- Bring a handkerchief, or anything that can cover your nose on the way to the river and back. Dust and polluted air was difficult to deal with so I will advise not to forget this.
I think on regular rates, this cost Php 2000 (but please ask to confirm). This includes all the gears, packed lunch, water, photo/video coverage and a souvenir shirt. Let me know how your adventure goes. If you have any questions, you know where to ask.
Davao Wildwater Adventure
Davao Crocodile Park Compound, Riverfront Corporate City,
Diversion Highway, Ma-a, Davao City, Philippines
(63 82) 3012020; (+63-920) 9546898; (+63-920) 9546897
*all photos and the video (except for the first two) in this post were captured by Davao Wildwater Adventure, edited by me.