Loboc is not the only river town in Bohol. The island province, home to the chocolate hills and the tiny primates, tarsiers, have four major rivers intersecting through the island. Up northwest is the Inabanga River, the largest on the island and Ipil River up north. Utilized for eco-tourism is Loboc River coming from the center of the island down to the southeastern coast and recently, the Abatan River flowing to the southwestern coast. Our adventure guide, Buzzy Budlong, found excellent paddling opportunities on the latter and set-up shop along with the town’s RiverLife tours to offer something different and new.
“We can’t find our boat!” paddling master, Buzzy Budlong, tells me after several attempts of trying to spot our convoy outrigger boat through the maze-like passageways of Banacon Island, north of Bohol. Buzzy was at the back of our double kayak as I was the one in charge to shoot. We wait for the others south of the largest man-made mangrove island in Asia. He switched places with my assigned-writer friend, Oggie, back to his favorite yellow stand-up paddle (SUP) board, Mango Float. His sight looked far to the mainland. “Let’s head to that lighthouse!” he pointed. “Is he kidding?!” I thought. That’s almost 10km away by sea and we’re passing through two sea channels and an island. But he paddled on. He’s crazy like that which also partly makes him great.
“Rapids ahead! Give me your paddles and lean forward on your side of the raft! Hold on to the rope tight!” our guide yelled. Before I could blurt “What?! Why?!” from my head, the three of us followed his instruction in an instant, With our bellies resting on the raft, the next thing I noticed our guide was paddling madly at the rear, our raft was turning on one side and we’re facing the wild river water upfront! The raft rocking heavily on turbulent waters. Before I could scream, splash of water engulfed us! It was crazy but it was fun! And that was just part of our our 2-hour Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting experience.
As if our unexpected night trek from Dila Falls in CEDAR Impasug-ong would quell our adventurous spirit that day, we are again lurched into the unknown adventure. Well not completely unknown but the degree of activity would challenge not only to our group in this trek but also the people who are attempting to organize the Atugan river Trek in Impasug-ong as an eco-tourism destination. Members of the Travel Mindanao team were willing guinea pigs in this exploration of trekking more than 8km of the Atugan river stretch.
Nevermind our wet clothes coming from our exploration and a quick dip at the Blue Water Cave by the banks of Pulangi River. We excitedly hiked back to Kiokong Eco tourism station and prepared ourselves for another plunge of adventure. This time, it is rappelling Pulangi Bridge. That’s 155 feet high descend into the washing machine like waters of Pulangi. I’ve done some rappelling before but this is a first for me from a bridge.
A sprawling 1120 hectare of land situated on the lower part of the mighty Magat River in Cagayan Valley has been converted into an eco-park, descriptively named Lower Magat Eco Tourism Park of LMET. The eco-park is under the municipality of Diadi, north of Nueva Vizcaya, already bounded by Isabela and Ifugao provinces. This was our playground after covering the Ammungan Festival’s Street Dancing for that day. A much deserved brief respite at the heart of a forest.
Following our exciting hike and visit at Bugtong Bato Waterfalls, it was time to for a much deserved lunch. Our habal-habal drove us back past Baranggay Tuno, back on the dirt road we passed by earlier to a large spacious hut hanging by the cliff road. We had our hearty meal of adobo and grilled fish on that breezy hut while hearing the ambient sound of the nearby river. Our wet adventure isn’t over as we check out the rapids of Tibiao River for some whitewater kayaking.