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Whitewater Rafting Packages

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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.

Whitewater Rafting in the Philippines

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.

Best Times to Go

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.

Whitewater Rafting Locations

Cagayan de Oro

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.

Best Times to Go (CDO)

Rafting season here is al year round, with June to December serving as the peak season.

Chico River, Kalinga Province

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.

Best times to Go (Chico River)

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).

Davao

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.

Best Times to Go (Davao)

Rafting season here is all year round.

Antique

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.

Quezon Province

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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the water levels?
    The following are the classes of rapids based on International Scale of difficulty:Class I:(very easy) Generally, moderate moving water. Waves and riffles are small or nonexistent, passages are clear with few or no obstacles, and little maneuvering is required. Ideal for photo opportunities. Lazy floating.Class II: (easy to moderate) Small-to-medium-sized regular waves with some obstacles. Some manuevering is required but passages are clear. Spashy and fun!

    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.

  2. Is rafting really safe?Rafting is a relatively safe sport. You have a better chance of injury walking down the street in the city. We have excellent guides, well trained and certified in swift water rescue, first aid and basic life support.
  3. What if I cannot swim? Can I still go rafting?You do not need to know how to swim to go rafting with us. You’ll be wearing a top-of-the-line life jacket when you are on the water. Everyone on our trips wears a buoyancy vest. This will keep you afloat in the event that you find yourself in the river. We take many non-swimmers on trips, and they have a great time. It is more important that you are not afraid of the water. If you should happen to fall in the river, you will float like a cork (a little wet and exhilarated but safe). 90% of accidents happen on shore.
  4. Do I need to be physically fit? Is it strenuous?You don’t need to be physically fit to go rafting. Paddling a raft is a team effort that uses more technique than muscles. To do so, you should be reasonably healthy, and must be able to fit into our life vests. Paddling can be tiring, but our guides will instruct you on efficient paddling technique.
  5. What should I wear?Wear something you don’t mind getting wet. In warm weather it’s usually better to wear swimwear or nylon shorts and t-shirts. Your footwear should be river sandals or old tennis shoes. Hats, sunglasses (with straps), and sunscreen are other items to consider bringing.
  6. What should I bring?
    • sunscreen
    • river shorts
    • river shoes/sandals
    • extra t-shirt/ under garments
    • other under garments
    • light weight sweater and / or jacket
    • sunglasses and/or spare glasses
    • paddling/biking gloves
    • ball cap/sun visor
    • flashlight
    • personal toiletries
    • water proof camera
    • bug repellent
  7. What if it is raining?Since you will be getting wet while you are on the river, we run our trip rain or shine.
  8. How old do I need to be?
    There are different minimum age requirements depending on the river of your choice. Please ask us for further notice
  9. Can I bring my camera or video camera?We don’t recommend bringing video cameras, or even expensive still cameras, on trips. Many people bring disposable waterproof cameras, which work just fine. The quality of the pictures is pretty good, and if you lose it, it’s not the end of the world. They are well suited to rafting.
  10. Should I tip my guide?Tipping is not expected, but is certainly appreciated. If you feel your guide has done a good job, keeping you entertained, and sharing the wonderful river environment with you, then feel free to show your appreciation.
  11. Is rafting dangerous?Rafting is thrilling, exciting, wet, wild and unbelievably fun. However, as in all adventure sports, there is an inherent risk involved. That risk contributes to the excitement, and is one of the reasons people enjoy it so much. Our guides are trained to minimize risks, and, statistically, you’re safer on a raft than in your car. One state government found in an investigation that the injury rate for whitewater rafting is similar to that for bowling! But still, there is a risk, and you must accept that risk when you go on the river. By the way, the most common injury is sunburn, and most other injuries occur on land, especially getting into and out of the boats.
  12. What should I wear on the river?This depends on the time of year, water temperature, and weather. As a rule of thumb we recommend you dress for the water temperature, rather than the air temperature, since you’ll be getting wet. Hotter days, we recommend wearing shorts or an ordinary swim suit. Cooler days, with cold water, we rent wet suits, or a wet suit/paddle jacket combination. You might also bring some synthetic fleece, polypro, capilene, or wool garments. Don’t wear cotton. It will just make you colder. An old pair of tennis shoes, running shoes, or even converse hi-tops are the best on the river. Wet suit booties are good if it is cold. Sandals don’t offer as much protection, and tend to come off easily in a swim. Sunglasses, especially prescription glasses, should have a croakie or other retainer that cinches tight. Consider a hat cord to tie your hat to your life jacket as well. In warmer weather, and late season warmer water, shorts and a T-shirt are good. Use sunscreen, but don’t put it on your forehead, or the backs of your legs. It may run into your eyes, or cause you to be slipping all over the boat. For more details have a look at our what to bring page.
  13. I am a senior citizen. Would you recommend for me?For fit, active seniors over 65 we can still recommend rafting.
  14. What happens on a typical trip? How are the boats set up?You’ll meet the trip leader at your designated rendezvous place and time. He or she will collect your release forms, distribute wet suits if you rent them from us, then get everyone on the bus. You’ll go to the put-in, from where the trip will start, and the trip leader will give you a safety talk. This information is about how to be safe on the water. Then you’ll head to your boat. The boats typically seat six to eight people and a guide, though we also offer alternatives such as Inflatable Kayaks. The guide will give you further instruction on how to paddle, and how to follow his or her commands. Then you’ll head on down the river, and have the time of your life!
  15. What are my chances of falling out of the boat? What should I do if I do?Believe it or not, many people love falling out of the boat. It’s exciting. But it can be disorienting and a little overwhelming at first. Many people have taken multiple trips and never fallen in. Some people swim on their first trip. It’s a part of rafting. Before you go on any trip, you’ll be given extensive instructions on what to do if you fall in, and how to stay safe. Follow you’re guide’s instructions, and your “swim” could be the most exciting part of your trip!
  16. It looks like rain. Will the trip still go?All of our trips go, rain or shine. Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond our control, such as very high or very low water, etc, we must cancel or postpone a trip.

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