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Republished from Manila Bulletin, by Amanda Jaucian Balneg
Do you want to see the Philippines? Or do you want to experience the Philippines?
The Department of Tourism (DoT) has been promoting the country’s adventure and ecotourism destinations and activities as it aims to position the country as an exciting outdoor travel destination.
You do not have to be an expert athlete. You just have to be physically fit and to have that adventurous spirit to test the waters of adventure sports. Beginners may be given training or orientation before they undertake the activities. These adventure destinations challenge the body and offer an exhilarating escape from the day-to-day life.
What’s a chocolate bar got to do with surfing? Cloud 9 was coined by John Callahan when he found the wave by chance, naming it after the locally made chocolate bar. From the time his article on Siargao came out in Surfer Magazine in its March 1993 issue, the formerly obscure Siargao Island located in the province of Surigao del Norte became popular to surfers and tourists alike.
Callahan describes Cloud 9 as “a thick, pitching peak takeoff over a reef shelf followed by a hollow section and a clean exit into the channel or a pinching section, depending on swell direction. The wave works on typhoon season groundswell from two feet up to eight feet Hawaiian at peak high tide. On a clean easterly swell and offshore southwest wind, Cloud 9 can be mechanically perfect, with a guaranteed barrel on every wave.” Hmmm. Cloud nine does sound surfi-licious!
Wakeboarding is a surface water sport developed from a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques. The Camarines Sur Watersports Complex or CWC is one of the only two cable parks in the country. It is called as such because a series of tower-connected mechanical cables pulls the rider around the water. Its 6-point cable ski system is designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating and waterskiing.
Since the completion of the cable park, beginner and professional wakeboarders and skiiers from all over the world have visited the CWC to compete or simply to have fun. The province owes its inclusion in the Top 5 destinations in the country to CWC. Camarines Sur ranks 4th next to Davao, Boracay and Cebu in attracting the biggest volume of visitors for the 1st quarter of 2009. The sport has indeed taken the province by waves.
In whitewater rafting, participants guide and paddle a raft through whitewater, or the river’s rapids. The sport’s popularity began to grow when it became part of the Olympic Games in the 1970s. In the Philippine setting, from the mid '80s to mid '90s, locals in Cagayan de Oro used inflated tire tubes, rafts made of bamboo and banana trunks. Nowadays, this sport has evolved into a major tourism draw in Cagayan de Oro.
Part of the thrill, excitement and challenges of rapids are sailing on different degrees of rough waters, paddling through areas with higher water volume and steeper descents and navigating a number of boulders and rocks. While you ride down the river, you’ll be looking at the scenery for the duration of your trip!
Canyoning is a combination of several sports, such as walking, trekking, climbing, abseiling, rafting and swimming. For starters, the jump or descent is made from 8 meters while for the more experienced, the jump could be several waterfalls higher than 30 meters.
Cebu and its limestone mountains provide a scenic and suitable place for canyoning. Get active, feel the adrenaline rush and delight in its surrounding landscape. As the places for canyoning are situated in the densely forested mountain valleys, you will see and enjoy nature in its pure and raw form.
A piece of advice—once the abseiling has begun, there is no way back. You must complete the descent! As all mountaineers know, “going up is optional, coming down is mandatory.”
Mayon Volcano is a highly active volcano. Climbing season for Mt. Mayon is restricted to the summer months of March to May because landslides are common during the rainy season. It is also advisable to contact the local Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology office before scheduling a climb for safety.
The Knife’s Edge or the level close to the summit is for intermediate to expert climbers. Camp 1 site is good for beginners planning on a day trek. Camp 1 is the base camp used by mountaineers before their final ascent. To reach the campsite at 780 meters above sea level, you’ll trek through different vegetation zones, from rich agricultural land to light Agoho Pine forest and thick giant fern forest.
Sure, there are many tourist destinations in the Philippines that are great for picture-taking and sightseeing. But don’t limit yourself to seeing the beauty behind the camera. Be active, get some action going and pump up that adrenaline rush. Participate in these adventure and nature sports.
The country’s 7,107 islands are teeming with nature’s gifts and activities to explore. By visiting these sports destinations and engaging in active outdoor recreations, you will not only see nature at its best but also experience it.