Thrilling, exhilarating, exciting, and even relaxing – the Philippine whitewater rafting experience is all this and so much more. Whitewater rafting is one of the newest extreme adventures to hit the Philippines. For decades past, adventure seekers traveled to the rivers of Nepal and Borneo while the raging Philippine rivers remained undiscovered.
Rafting is an experience that can run the gamut from a calm and peaceful float trip that allows you to fully appreciate the spectacular scenery, to an adrenaline-pumping adventure that delights and excites. Whichever you choose, you are bound to get hooked.
In 1997, three Oregonians – Ned Sickles, Gary Fondren, and Dr. Bob Anderson –spotted the Chico River via satellite mapping and thought it had the potential to be a world-class Whitewater rafting destination. They then travelled to the Cordilleras and had their first exploratory run.
From that first exploratory run came the explosion of the Philippine whitewater rafting scene. The Philippines’ wonderful scenery, majestic mountains, and beautiful waterfalls have made the Philippines a prime destination for adventurous whitewater enthusiasts, with around five river trails to choose from.
June to early March are ideal times for rafting, with July to January being the prime whitewater rafting months. These months have the most rain fall, thus resulting in higher water levels and therefore more exciting rapids.
There really is nothing quite like a rafting trip on the Cagayan de Oro River. The stretch from Barangay Dansolihon to the city provides you with strikingly beautiful panoramic view of the river rocky walls, untouched vegetation and the sight of the resting haven of monkeys. It has breathtaking rapids that provide the more adventurous traveler with thrills and challenges of rapids intervals not less than 10–15 minutes of each other. The Cagayan de Oro River has everything that makes for a memorable experience with the awesome roar and power of water cascading over rocks and boulders.
The wilderness section of the Cagayan de Oro River has lots of Class IV rapids, but the overall classification is Class III and III+, indicating that a rafter with strong Class III skills would find the challenges within his/her abilities.
Rafting season here is al year round, with June to December serving as the peak season.
The Chico River is considered the umbilical cord or River of Life for the Kalingas. Its headwaters emanate from Mt. Data and span the whole of Central Kalinga.From the First Put-In In Tinglayan to the Tabuk Take-out is approximately 72 kilometers. With its waters, run the rich political and cultural history of the Kalingas. It is one river that united the whole of the Cordilleras in opposition to development aggression. .It will be recalled that in the early seventies the Chico River was supposedly the site of one of the biggest hydroelectric dams in Southeast Asia but the Kalingas successfully opposed the project. The opposition to the hydroelectric dam dramatized the struggle of the indigenous peoples to be free from development aggression and for self determination. To the Kalingas it is popularly called “KAYAKAYAM” which means crawl but it was given the name Chico Rio by the Spaniard to differentiate it from the Rio Grande of the Cagayan”.
The Chico River is truly a unique class III, IV, and V white-water treasure of hanging gardens and numerous waterfalls cascading down its vertical canyon walls. The Chico winds past smoking volcanoes, dividing the Cordillera Mountains with over sixty miles of heart pounding rapids with an average gradient of sixty feet per mile drop.
The river rafting is the best way to see and experience Kalinga’s sleeping volcanoes, breathtaking canyons, narrow limestone canyons, sleepy villages and stone rice terraces that stair up over 2,500 feet on the mountainsides.
Experience fabulous scenery, exhilarating rapids, and a glimpse of Kalinga culture.
Open schedules for trips are available all throughout the year. Whitewater Rafting in Kalinga can be done throughout the year and is ideal, from June through early January, with other dates possible dependent on water level.
Rafting Season ends Mid-March and begins on June . (Depending on water levels in Chico River).
The Davao River ranks seventh among the largest river basins in the Philippines, with the Cagayan Valley River Basin being at the top of the list. This is the largest of the city’s nine principal watersheds. The river is the main natural reservoir of the aquifer in the city’s jurisdiction.
The river has a total length of 143 kilometers, stretching through a good number of streams. The main source of which may be traced to as far as Bukidnon. The headwater in Bukidnon is largely of timberland or moss forest, and the larger part being found in Davao City. Its width varies approximately from 60 to 90 meters. Suawan River and Tamugan River are its main tributaries, the waters of which flow with that of the waters of the streams to which the river passes through. It flows southward, meandering along the central part of the City and empties eastward towards the Davao Gulf.
The Davao River is rated Class III+ (two class IV rapids). The minimum age requirement is 6 years old.
Rafting season here is all year round.
The Province of Antique, profiled like a seahorse, is an oversized serrated hemline on the western border of the three cornered scarf-like land mass that is Panay. It is the historic land of the Binirayan Festival celebrated by the Antiqueños every Dec. 28 – 30 in commemoration of the landing of the ten Bornean datus in Malandog, Hamtic, and Antique, Antique in the middle of the 13th century to set up the first Malayan settlement or barangay in this country.
Antique, with its numerous rivers, is ideal for white water kayaking. However, the venue for our whitewater rafting is the Tibiao River. It rises on the slopes of Mt. Madja (the highest point in Panay Island) and plunges with over 1,000 meters on its short run to the ocean. There is about 23 kilometers of navigable water on the river but access to upper section is difficult.
Two hours away from the smog and noise of Metro Manila, there is a raftable river where paddlers can experience world class scenery and rapids for over 40 kilometers. The river goes by the non-descript name Kaliwa, meaning “left” in Tagalog. It is part of the Agus river system, whose other branch is called Kanan, “right.” The recent commencement of regular rafting tours on this river has allowed interested rafters or kayakers to enjoy a true wilderness experience without having to travel very far from Manila.
Rafters immediately tackle Class III and IV rapids, portage a 15 foot waterfall, paddle past a dozen cascading waterfalls, glimpse numerous birds and see how monitor lizards here “shoot the rapids” as they scamper across the river, barely making a ripple.
The paddle is a solid two-day trip, with an overnight camp on a sandy beach after enduring the river’s most challenging rapids. Rafting is at a more sedate pace on the second day as interaction begins with riverside dwellers—native tribal inhabitants as well as more recent immigrants.
Class III: (moderate to exciting/ difficult) Numerous waves that are bigger and a bit irregular with currents that can be tricky. Obstacles require maneuvering, but the narrow passages are generally straightforward. Scouting from shore is recommended and usually required. Big splashes and exciting rides!
Class IV: (exciting/ very difficult) Longer rapids with powerful waves and strong currents. The passages are boulder-choked and require precise maneuvering. Scouting from shore is mandatory. Exciting and challenging for all.
Class V: (Extremely difficult) Massive waves and violent rapids, often following each other without interruption. Big drops, violent currents, and extremely congested channels that require complex maneuvering. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult.
Class VI: (the limit of navigation) Rarely run, or generally considered unrunnable; a definite hazard to life and limb. What to bring.
Get the latest news, tours and packages in your Inbox for free.