May 28, 2013

The Great Waters of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan

Just a few clicks and a few chitchats and we're off to one of the best water sports adventure in the country.Thanks to Cebu Pacific for the P28 flight promo.

We arrived at Cagayan de Oro City on a Friday night. Our first stop was at Miami Inn. The place was not superb but it was nice enough. For P1,200/3 pax a night, you'll have the standard room, with a hot and cold shower, cable TV, free Wi-Fi and breakfast. (We stayed awake to endure our last night of work for the week, stealing a few hours of sleep in between.)

At 6:00 am, with lack of sleep and no breakfast, we drove down to what's gonna be a very exciting adventure - the famous white river rafting of CdO.

Here are some of the photos taken by our guides from Rafting Adventure Philippines.

One of our guides gives us important precautions and instructions on how to use the paddle before going into battle :), while the other one is busy taking our photos.
We chose the Beginners Course (P700/pax) which has 21 strong and scary rapids. It was really scary at first, especially after hearing those precautions on what to do if we fall off the rubber boat and what not to do so we won't hit the rocks, not to mention that I was the one in front and I don't know how to swim. But after hitting the first rapid, my fear was overpowered with excitement. Adrenaline rush!

High-five! (middle photo - raising our paddles up together)
If all of us succeeded in hitting each rapid with no one falling, then we had to do the traditional high-five.

We actually finished the rafting with complete Hi-5s. You might think that we were that good. ha-ha. The truth was that even after numerous "Paddle forward!" shouts from our guide, we didn't listen to him, we just held our paddles and at the same time getting a good grip on the ropes around the boat, screaming out loud, and just letting our boat decide if it should flip over or not.

There were also a bit long still waters in between, and our guides really did their best to entertain us with corny jokes and some fyi's about the place (there were still visible areas which were destroyed by Bagyong Sendong). We also busied ourselves with swimming and taking photos.

We finished the whole thing in almost 4 hours. Good thing was the sun wasn't that hot yet. (I suggest you choose the 6:00 am schedule. They also have 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM schedules but you don't wanna get fried under the sun)

We've made it!
We were so starved and tired but still overwhelmed with the whole experience. The efforts of our guide and photographer, who had to swim far in order to capture the best photos, were really much appreciated. (For P250, you can get a disc copy of all the photos).

All in all, it's all worth our time and money. We are even looking forward to going back there and this time to experience the Advanced Course. It's really perfect for those who long for a perfect summer excitement. I highly recommend you try it too!

Well, that was just the first of our ubos-sweldo moments. After the river rafting, we devoured our brunch at Barkadahan Grill in Centrio-Ayala Mall (the photos are yet to be uploaded). At night, we had another huge carbs meal at one of CdO's famous landmarks, the Divisoria. This is their version of Davao's San Pedro street, where there are ukay-ukays and street foods all over, P50 massage services and a booming sound system from live bands.

On Sunday morning, we rode a bus to Iligan City. We stayed at Corporate Inn, which has a cool ambiance, affordable rooms but has a very expensive-but-not-delicious food.

After lunch, we rode a taxi (P1,000 fare) to visit the famous Tinago Falls. The falls is really hidden, you even have to climb down the 444-step concrete ladder before reaching the place (and of course, another 444 steps to climb back up). We paid P10 for the entrance fee. Although the place is quite majestic on this photo, it wasn't as breathtaking as it seems. It used to be beautiful, though, before the Bagyong Sendong incident.

There were lots of people there so we only stayed for a few minutes and decided to leave and visit Ma. Cristina Falls. The entrance fee to NPC Nature's Park, where Ma. Cristina Falls is, is P35/head.

We headed back to our inn in the afternoon and at night, we went swimming at Mimar's Spring Pool in Timoga. It highlights both large and kiddie pools and of course, a spring. The spring water's very relaxing and so cool that it had definitely washed off our heat and tire of the entire day. Before heading home, we ate barbecue and quite a number of puso (rice wrapped in coconut leaves).

Monday came and we had to endure another tasteless breakfast at Corporate Inn, went to Iligan's famous pasalubonog center Chedeng and returned to Miami Inn in Cagayan de Oro. We had our late lunch at Kenny Rogers in Limketkai, did a few window shopping and bought the predictable pasalubong of their famous pastel.

We also tried their famous Missy Bon Bon Ice Cream, which, although quite expensive, tasted...well...heaven! They had  one named the Viagra ice cream, which is by far the best one I've ever tasted.

Later that night, we rewarded ourselves with a relaxing while body massage before enjoying a long good night sleep.

Tuesday, we checked out at Miami Inn at 2:00 PM and went to SM City Cagayan, had a super late lunch at Pizza Hut and drove off to the airport. We reached Davao City at around 7:00 and, slept for a few minutes and went to the office to work.

Our 5-day trip was full-packed. I really had so much super-fun! It was indeed Tsada!