Abuan Whitewater Adventure

Credits: Papers by CC oh joy yuletide, Chrysanthemum, Crystal Wilkerson Polka dot 08, EP Life is Good;  Border by LivE WWSH Page border; Tag by Crustal Wilkerson SVC tag

We were back at Abuan River the next day and were given the option to be on a raft or a kayak.

As we navigated upstream to where lunch was waiting,

Our lunch (left) and the kitchen crew with Anton and Herbert (right)

I took note of the big rapids to assess whether to go down river alone (on a kayak) or with company (on a raft).

There were easy rapids but there were rough ones as well.  Rough enough to make us get off our banca and walk while the boatmen and guides pushed and pulled.

Few days before the run, the river was high with some strong rapids, which would make for a fun ride on a raft.  On the day of our run, the water subsided quite a bit albeit still strong enough for a fun, challenging ride on a kayak but tamer on a raft hence the choice.

In truth, I am not fond of falling into icy water on a chilly, cloudy day and falling off a kayak is a high probability especially on that one rough rapid so I opted to start the trip downriver on a raft and switched to a kayak when the rapids became tamer.

In between rapids, the water is as gentle and calming as a river can be.  Quite a scenic river, it was easy to appreciate the beauty and serenity of the river and its surroundings.

Many of the locals enjoy the river as much too.

Though it couldn’t conceal the remnants of a recent major typhoon, a result of the abuse done to its forest.

Definitely a great introduction to whitewater rafting and likewise a fun challenge for kayakers with some experience.

Useful Info:

Adventures and Expeditions Philippines, Inc. (AEPI)
Contact Person:  Anton Carag Jr.
Email: anton@whitewater.ph
Mobile: (63)917-5327480
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Exploring Abuan River

I am not one to pass up a chance to an adventure so one February evening, I found myself on a bus with 2 other friends, en route to Ilagan, Isabela.  We were to test run an eco-tour package intended to preserve the Sierra Madre forest and wildlife.

Abuan River is located at the Northern Sierra Madre National Park — the widest remaining tropical rainforest in the island of Luzon owing to its rich and diverse ecosystem spanning from coral reefs to beach forests.

For decades the river has been the route of “bugadors” (timber haulers) to transport illegally cut logs from the forest to Ilagan.  To give these timber haulers and their community an alternative livelihood, World Wildlife Fund-Philippines (WWF-Philippines) together with Coca Cola Philippines and the local government of Ilagan identified the river as the next ecotourism destination with rappelling, waterfalls trek, kayaking and even seasonal whitewater rafting as potential activities.

Skillfully navigating our boat through rocks and (sometimes) strong rapids.

Skilled in the river, the “bugadors” were our boatmen, river and trekking guides while their wives were tapped to prepare the food.

Ladies in charge of lunch.

Two hours navigating through the rapids and rocks and we arrived at the start of the trail to Sulimanan Falls.  Getting there was an easy 30 minutes trek that passes through rivers, hills and grasslands.

At the end of the trail lies a 3-tiered falls.

First falls

2nd falls

Pool from the 2nd tier falling to the 1st tier

3rd falls where we had lunch

Getting to the 2nd and 3rd tier required a bit of scaling and bouldering with the help of ropes provided by AEPI, the outfitter tapped to develop the tour.  Lunch was prepared on the 3rd tier beside the falls.

Simple but mouth-watering!

That’s what I call innovation.   🙂

After lunch, the next agenda was to rappel down to the 2nd tier.

Getting into position:  Argel and Herbert — our belayers.

Not exactly my thing, I was not happy to learn of this but with a little prodding, gamely went along with the agenda.

I know that I am gradually overcoming my fear of heights when it took me perhaps only 20 minutes to muster enough courage to just go for the 60 ft. descent with only some distress and perspiration while at it.

S and I rappelling down.

Either that or I am getting better at throwing caution to the wind.

After witnessing a few of my rappelling jitters in the past, A gave me a big hug and told me he was proud of me. Heck!  I am proud of me.   🙂