Still weary and sluggish from our “amazing race itinerary” exploring Davao on our first day in the city, our group left Ponce Suites early in the morning for our second day’s escapades. We headed to Layak Outdoors Shop in Calinan, Davao for our river tubing adventure locally known as Paanod. Except for the fact that it would involve navigating a river with the use of a certain tube, I had no idea what was in store for us that day. Little did I know that it would become my cheapest and longest exhilarating adventure to date!
River tubing is an outdoor sport in which people ride inner tubes or inflated disks down a river (salbabida for us). It was only after a bit of googling here and there that I realized that this sport could also be a relaxing activity just like kayaking depending on the conditions of the river. The nearly 3 hour thrilling ride along Talomo River gave me a taste of just how invigorating this activity could be – just like shooting the rapids along the river of Pagsanjan Falls, only this time there was no boatman to help me navigate through the river!
From Layak Outdoors Shop, we had a 20-30 minute jeepney ride to Malagos and then a 10-minute walk to the river. At first I was hesitant to put my faith in the current of the river and just drift freely down the surging rapids with just a small tube to accompany me. Good thing life-vests were provided although the river wasn’t deep and Team Layak was there to assist us all the way to the end of the ride.
The initial mounting of the tube was the most nerve-wracking because once launched, the tube will drift freely down the river until you reach the chosen landing spot. Finding your balance is the first thing you need to master and learning how to steer away from boulders of rocks will save you from bumps and bruises. Just like any other outdoors activity, there are some risks such as falling from the tube or getting bruised by some rocks, but that’s why there is a life vest and an experienced guide to watch over you. Ok, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound – in fact after bumping my back on some rocks in the first few minutes of our floating, it was a rather pleasant cruise along the calm part of the river but also an exciting one through the 13 rapids of the river’s course.
My favorite part in this activity was the train ride where all our tubes were connected to each other as we made our way down the rapids. It was extremely fun I wished there were more rapids along the way. The good thing about this sport was that it isn’t all about thrilling rapids. Most of the time, it was a relaxing ride along the calm part of the river which gives you time to brace yourself for dealing with the strong rapids. I also like the part when we divided ourselves into two groups and formed a connected circle of tubes. It felt like riding the Rio Grande at Enchanted Kingdom where you twist around on some occasions as you drift on the water.
This trip was a lot of fun and well worth going out of your way for. It isn’t only for the adventurous but also for kids and elderly adults alike. River tubing on a gentle river is a fun and relaxing way to spend the day.
Bits and Info
1. It is advisable to wear leggings to avoid minor scratches and bruises along the way. A long-sleeve shirt is useful to protect you from the sun. Aqua shoes help but are not strictly necessary. A bottle of water is also recommended, as you will be under the sun for almost 3 hours – you can tuck this into your life-vest pocket.
2. Registration fee - P150.00 per head minimum of 6 persons. The registration will cover the rent of the tube, head gear, life vest, transportation (from Layak Outdoors to Malagos), guides’ fee and CD compilation of your PAANOD trip.
Fausta St., Calinan, Davao City
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Layak – 0910-4230723
Sulong – (Smart) 09999953874
Kaloy – (Sun) 09322891523
Special thanks to Rhoha Sangkula for organizing this trip and to Layak Team.