First-Timer Friendly White Water Rafting In Magdalena Laguna

We all crave for something dangerous every now and then but for those of us who have sedentary lifestyles, going on an extreme physical adventure can be too much to handle. As someone who had not gone white water rafting before, I had a some fears days prior to the trip to Magdalena, Laguna (What if I fall? What if the boat turns over? etc. etc.)

The trip was arranged by Barefoot Travels, a local agency known for organizing extreme adventures around the country. My friend Patti and her friends picked me up around 3:15 in the morning to meet up with the other people joining the trip. At around 4 a.m., all 22 of us were on our way to Laguna for what I thought was going to be one quiet drive. I mean, it was freakin' 4 a.m. so everyone would be sleeping in the van, right?! Wrong. Even without sleep, the group was all bubbly and talkative except for the few who luckily fell asleep.

First stop was Santa Maria Magdalena Parish Church. Built in 1851, the church looks magnificent and rustic. It was closed when we got there so we just spent a few minutes admiring it from outside.

After taking photos and having breakfast at a nearby Jollibee, it was time for a quick briefing and then we got all suited up in life vests and head gear.

A short jeepney ride then a walk down to the river and we were on our rafts. The manong told us to strap our feet to the raft so we don't fall off. Yay, I felt more secure already! The water was calm and we prayed for rain.

It was pouring shortly after we started paddling. The group was all cheers and I suppose the other groups were happy about it too. Rain meant better and more challenging rapids. 

Even despite the rain, we were paddling mostly on placid water, with rough portions only every few meters. Still, those short bursts of rapids and rocky waters were enough to give us bumpy, butt-raising moments throughout the rafting course.

To make the experience more exciting, the guides took us to two cliff diving points: one was a rock and the other was a wall. The bravest of us jumped.. ok, fine, almost everyone jumped..except myself and a couple of others. Call me chicken, I don't care :P

Tubing (riding an inflatable tube) was also part of the itinerary and we all took turns tubing on rapids and down the dam at the end of our rafting tour.

I think it took approximately 3 hours to get from the starting point to the dam and we were famished. A quick lunch break and we drove off to Taytay falls to go swimming.

It was a chilly walk down to the falls. Thankfully, the path was already cemented and not just soil or rocks. Also, the descent was gradual and not steep at all. The falls had a pool around it and a lot of people were enjoying a dip. It would have been enticing if not for the cold weather and the crowd.

Our last stop before heading back to Manila was Liliw, Laguna. Liliw is known for their shoes and slippers and one can find a whole strip of shoe stores when visiting the town. Of course, there are food finds too, like kesong puti (white cheese) and longganisa (sausage) vendors on the street, as well as the famous Arabela cafe.

All in all, I'm glad I did my first white water rafting adventure with Barefoot Travels. Their itinerary was relaxed enough for the not-too-active but also had something for the more adventurous. White water rafting in Magdalena Laguna is perfect for first-timers and the whole activity can still give you a bit of a workout even though the water is mostly calm. It's been five days and my thighs are still a bit sore. Athletic people and those who often go on extreme adventures might find it a bit too easy though. Better to go in the rainy season to have higher water levels and wilder rapids.

By the way, I'm happy to report that I did not fall into the water and our boat never turned over :)

What was your first white water rafting adventure like?

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