Cagayan de Oro City - Mapawa Nature Park

This is officially my first adventure after I finished college. I was invited by an officemate to join a group who will try the river trekking in Mapawa Nature Park in Cagayan de Oro City. Though a true Kagay-anon, I never heard of the place before. I agreed to go on the said trip out of curiosity and to bond with my officemate. Mapawa Nature Park is located at barangay Cugman in CDO. It is located a few kilometers after the famous Malasag Eco Village. It can be reached by a private vehicle or by riding a motorcycle for hire (habal habal) from the highway.

I arrived at the meeting place knowing only one person at a group of 9 individuals. Since the rest of the group came from Bukidnon, they already hired a van. We ride the van until the entrance of the nature park. From there, we ride a tractor (part of the package) that will bring us to the starting point of the river trek. 

That is where the adventure started. Riding the tractor was both fun and difficult. The road is rough and we are not comfortably seated. It was about a 30-minute tractor ride until we reached the starting point where we began to walk. 
the tractor ride, the walk, the view and the lunch
Now, the walk was not easy. You have to wear comfortable clothes, especially the footwear. It is suggested to wear a strapped outdoor sandals as you will be wet and there are also jumps. The trek itself included passing through five waterfalls. I believed that this was really hard when I saw the sign in the entrance that the place was once a venue for a reality show in GMA-7 "Extra Challenge."
challenge accepted! 
The five waterfalls were amazing. It was really challenging going on the waterfalls. The thing is, you cannot say no to the challenge since we were told by the guides that there was no way back and we just have to follow the river, or we will  traverse the cliff which is more dangerous. 

The three waterfalls were equally difficult but the last two were the most unforgettable. The fourth one is said to be a 25-foot waterfall. To go pass this, you have to jump! Yes, you have to jump in a 25-foot waterfall, and as they say, there is no turning back. Since there were 9 of us in the group. We were really stuck in this falls. Some of the girls took time to finally decide when to jump. And seeing the fear of each one when it is their turn, I asked myself, why did I pay Php 950 just to scare myself and possibly end my life? But then, finally when I jumped and reached the deep waters below, I so wanted to go back and jump again and again. The rush and excitement I felt was unexplainable and irreplaceable.
I jumped after warning the guides below that:
"I don't know how to swim."
And I thought that was the best part. Until we reach the fifth and final obstacle of all. A 65-foot waterfall. To get pass this and end the trek, we have to rappel (which I later found out is called canyoneering) through this falls. It took me a while to gather the courage. I cannot swim and I am not able to try rappeling yet. And being uneasy riding a plane, I knew I have a slight fear of heights. I am with people whom I do not know that much and I cannot gather courage from them as I am sure they are also afraid. After saying my prayers and to end the agony of waiting, I had my turn and I instantly told the guide again that I do not know how to swim.  
the best of all: canyoneering!
My new friends encouraged and assured me that it will be safe and okay. I took the rope and quickly learned the process. The way down is a very magical feeling. I have been one with nature, hearing the sound of the water fall and most especially, feeling it fall to my face and body. I am most fulfilled when I reach the bottom. That was the most awesome experience with nature I have so far. And given the chance, I will do it all over again. 

I have recruited my friends to try the said adventure. Because I want to share to them the feeling of fear, excitement and fulfillment that I have felt during and at the end of the challenge. The cost of the trek is all worth it. I have faced my fears, conquered the inevitable and most of all, met new friends with the same passion for adventure and nature as me.
new found friends, sharing the same passion for adventure
How to go:
  • From the city proper ride a jeepney that will pass the crossing to Malasag (probably a Gusa-Cugman or Bugo liner). Ask the driver to drop you off at the crossing.
  • There are several habal habal at the waiting shed. Negotiate on the payment going to Mapawa. There is a blackboard there that lists the fare. Arrange also that you will be picked up.
  • The river trek adventure requires reservation and a minimum of 5 persons per group. Click  here for inquiries. To be safe, be at the site not later than 9am. The package includes lunch and bottled water.
  • Aside from the river trek adventure, Mapawa also offers Zipline and horseback riding.

meet the world, 

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