NOTE: This is a 2012 article, currently being updated for 2017. Budget indicated therein is already outdated.
Juan’s Budget: Php 2,000 (For Davao City residents, Php 1,500)
Juan’s Duration: 1 Day
Davao City is fast becoming a “go to” place when it comes to extreme sports and adventure activities. Besides the fact that it is one of the main city centers of the promised island of Mindanao, Davao City has a lot of places which have potential for development into “adventure areas” for ziplines, wakeboards, and the like.
One such adventure the city offers is white water rafting. Although the Cagayan de Oro City version has longer length, the Davao City version is a good enough activity for newbies and regular people to appreciate and enjoy. The whole activity is run by the Davao Wild Water Adventure.
The whole activity lasts the whole day, from the 8 AM assembly time to the approximately 4:30 PM return. For Php 2,000 (as of this date), you are already provided with the ride to and from the river, a packed lunch, souvenir pics/videos, and a shirt. Dabawenyos are privileged to have the discounted rate of Php 1,500. Special rates are also given to large groups. Reservation is required, with an accompanying downpayment of Php 500, through bank payment or on one of the booths of Wild Water Adventure (link at the bottom).
My sister and brother-in-law, along with their friends, tried this white water rafting, to get a taste of what our hometown has to offer.
At the assembly area at the Davao Crocodile Park, we were given waivers and a quick orientation concerning the rapids at the Davao River. It’s best to just bring yourself with some bare essentials, and leave the rest on a secured storage at the assembly area. You won’t need snacks since you won’t have time to chow down anyway, and mobile gadgets are quite useless due to extremely weak and zero signal areas (plus they would obviously get wet).
What you’d need though is some dry clothes for after the rafting, towel, sun block, and some water/energy drink if you feel that you really need to bring one. Also, it is best to wear clothes that you’re comfortable with when wet, with matching shorts and secure footwear.
And off we went to the start off point, which was quite far from the downtown area. At the start off point, we were given quick reminders, and were grouped together with assigned guides. Rafts capsizing or people falling from them are a normal part of the adventure, and is no cause for panic. When you fall to the river (accidentally or intentionally, which I recommend), just relax in the water, to avoid hitting the boulders. A solo kayaker who will document the adventure via photo and video also doubles as a rescue person to whoever falls into the rapids. Besides, you are equipped with a safety helmet and life vest, so there’s no problem at all.
And the adventure starts! The river started with a lull at first, but couldn’t let our guard down because we were told that the shift to high-adrenaline rafting would be sudden. It is better if it did not rain in the highlands, so that the Davao River would not be engorged with water. This is because the rapids would be smaller in deeper water since the boulders at the riverbed would not protrude. Therefore, the shallower the river, the larger and faster the rapids.
We had a stopover after approximately one hour of rafting, for lunch break and some group photo shoots. After the quick break, our adventure resumed, this time we encountered faster and more exciting rapids.
Again, always keep in mind that the activity is perfectly safe and that falling off during the rapids is normal and part of the fun and excitement. The worst you could get are aching muscles by the next day, after all the paddling, but that is only if you don’t regularly exercise. A good part of the lengthy river travel was quite dull and silent, but this were perfect moments to simply immerse ourselves into the wonders of nature, as we gazed into the cliffs and trees by the riverside.
We again had a brief stopover inside a tight crevice under a cliff, which would translate to more group photo shoots. Also, after crossing each rapid, each group would always raise their paddles together in jubilation, and shout “Kanpai” in unison. It’s Japanese for “Cheers!”, basically self-explanatory as to why we were doing this.
At the end of the four hour adventure, we were given time to change clothes and have some rest, after which were transported back to the assembly area. We also took this opportunity to check out Davao Crocodile Park, which I will discuss in detail in another article.
All in all, this adventure is a real treat and it will make you crave for more, white water rafting to be exact. There are a lot of similar outfits all across the Philippines, since we have a lot of tropical rivers.
Here’s a short video of us encountering a boulder along the rapids:
You can check out the website of Davao Wild Water Adventure here, for reservation and additional information. Or you can also visit peer at their FB page here. Or you can just call them at (082)-221-7823.
Our photos were taken by Davao Wild Water Adventure, which I got from my souvenir CD.