By Gino Racho
I read an earlier feature story of a river cruise on a bamboo raft by young local professionals and I admired their sense adventure and daringness.
Being a lover of outdoors and exploration I have visited the far corners of the region a long time yet, following the suggestions shared to me by the lifestyle editor of this online paper. Though I must admit there were apprehension because of the tiresome and endless peace and order issues that do not benefit the people.
In other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Bali, Indonesia and Taiwan, it is safe and worry-free to explore its countryside where brothers do not kill each other-and to think we are supposed to be Christians.
The numerous rivers of the region make a good visitors destination potentials but remain forever untapped because locals do not see and blind to fear and imagination to make use of its natural gifts. They have so much to learn from the imaginative and collective aspiration and proactive action of Loboc River residents.
There are reportedly plans and talks but they always end up in lip service visions that never took off. What is wrong with these people? The tourism and environment are no good either as they depend and wait on local government units who have zero creative pursuits and their mentality is “I won’t lose anything so I will just wait whoever initiates.”
It is the thinking of a mediocre and lacking of passion person to trailblaze.
I once saw a tiny river cutting a thick mountain forest in Agusan del Sur. There was nothing like it. It seemed it was only me and a friend who dared to explore it. A boatman took us in to the belly of the jungle and came back ecstatic like we won the lotto.
In Bislig City, I stayed in a hotel room beside wide Bislig river and one early morning, I called a boatman and sailed me to the opposite side leading to the open sea and back. It was a thrill. The waters were rowdy at times.
Also in another time a friend invited me to check Kailinawan River in the town of Jabonga. The tiny river connects into the sea from Lake Mainit. The water was crystal clear and refreshingly cold even on a hot summer day. I wonder how it is now. I hope it won’t be too commercialized and abused.
There are other known rivers in the region that hold the biggest potentials as world-class ecotourism destinations. These are: Gaas Inlet (Dinagat Island), Sabang Gibong River (Agusan del Sur), Surigao River (Surigao City), Baoy River (Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte), Tandag River (Tandag City), Abacanan River (Cantilan, Surigao del Sur), Cabadbaran River (Cabadbaran City), Agusan River (Butuan City), and Giasan River (Magallanes, Agusan del Norte).
There is always the wisdom of handling the river well and healthy.
Photo courtesy of Dodongads