Looking for fun and adventure while in Davao City? Try River Tubing in Sibulan River in Darong town, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. River Tubing is a water sport in which you ride on an inflated tube made out of rubber tires down on a river. Having read that there is river tubing in Davao, I included this in our itinerary. Prior to our travel though, I checked with Layak Team for river tubing at Talomo River but they require a minimum of 6 people otherwise we pay for 6. With just the three of us going to Davao and on a limited budget, we opted for the river tubing in Sibulan River instead.
From Davao City proper, we rented a cab going to Darong, Sta. Cruz. You can also ride a bus but we prefer a hassle-free ride 🙂 The ride is about 45 minutes. Due to lack of signage, we somehow went past the river tubing site. Here’s a landmark for those who would like to go there. As soon as you see San Miguel Davao Brewery, it means you’re near.
San Miguel Brewing Company in Darong, Sta. Cruz
As soon as you reach San Miguel Brewery, slow down a bit and keep your eyes open to an unpaved road at the right side of the highway. There is no highway signage so I took a pic to show you how near the right side of the road was from San Miguel. As to why I gave importance on this? When we went there, the hotel we stayed in and the cab driver doesn’t know anything about River Tubing or Ayala Agricultural Development Corporation in Sibulan. It’s better if your landmark is San Miguel Brewery in Darong, Sta Cruz and you’ll never go wrong.
Pic taken in San Miguel where you turn right after the yellow lane
Once you turn right, there is another distance of about 100 meters of bumpy road until you see a copra processing area. Turn left and that’s the place where you will have to park your car and leave your things. While waiting for our guides to prepare the inflatable rubber or locally called “salbabida”, we strolled the area first.
My fellow travel buddies, Anna and Berns
After about 30 minutes, we were called to get ready. It seems that we still have to ride a motorbike then walk a few more meters going to the river. Good thing we were not asked to carry our own inflatable rubber disc.
Finally, we reached the spot. Are we scared? Yes we were but we were far more excited and thrilled! With our life vest and helmet on, we readied ourselves for the brief orientation. We were told that some waters are shallow and some are deep. In cases where our tubes flip over due to rapids, we were instructed not to panic since each of us have our own guides to save us or pick us up. Assured by this statement, we set aside our fears.
The three of us with our guides and about to go
It looks fairly easy when you’re in the calm water. It’s like floating gently and allowing yourself to be carried away by the current.
Soon the gentle shallow water has become deep with more rapids coming. It’s like white water rafting minus the paddle.
Me enjoying the rapids!
Whoever says river tubing is just floating gently in a calm water is wrong since we were definitely in for a roller coaster ride!
The guide at the back
As you can see, our guide is at the back. Our rubber disk has a a rope tied at the end so that the guides can hold unto the ropes. This is to ensure that the tuber won’t get lost in the rapids. It also helps them control where tubers go.
Splash splash splash
Soon the water becomes deeper and the current becomes stronger. The little rapids we experienced during the first half now turned into big rapids. The first one whose tube got flipped over and toppled was Berns.
The guide trying his hardest to manuever Berns over the rapids
Berns falling out of the tube
The manuever was not successful as she falls out of the tube.The guide was able to grab her immediately so she was not carried away by the current. Anna and I were laughing out loud while looking at them (of course we know she’s in safe hands so we’re not worried) and little did we know that we would be experiencing the same thing and much worser. Indeed, karma is digital 🙂
My pic before I fall out of my tube
Here you can see me still enjoying the ride even with the big waves looking happy 🙂 After this, I fall out of the tube and the water was deep. The guide momentarily lost me and I was carried away by the current. Everything was so fast! Good thing I bumped into a big rock which stopped me from being carried away. My whole body pressed unto the rock. I can feel the huge water gushing out on me. I can feel the strong current. If not for the huge rock I would be carried away. Minutes later, two guides were lifting me up. Whew! Good thing I was wearing a helmet and life vest. I remember hitting the rock with my helmet and the vest serves as a cushion so I was not hurt.
Smiling Anna prior to her tube flipping over
Now comes my friend Anna whose tube flipped over too! It was worse for her because she was carried away by the strong current and the guide was able to catch up on her only at the shallow water. During briefing, we were instructed that if such things happen, just go with the water flow and you end up in shallow water anyway. Well, provided you don’t drink that much water 🙂
Our guide climbing the cliff without any safety harness
Halfway through, we rested. Not that we really needed rest. My suspicion, our guides must have been exhausted! lol Just kidding! While resting, two of the guides showed us their skills in rock climbing without any safety ropes. We held our breaths while they climbed. It was very risky for them to do it but they claimed they have been doing it since they were kids.
One of the guides diving after climbing the steep rock
After the much-needed rest, we continued our tubing. The water was already calm. This time, we were just floating gently down the river until we reached the site. As we alighted from our tube disks, we took a dip first of the cool fresh water.
Our expenses per head is close to P400 pesos all-inclusive. It consists of having your own guide (which is very important), tube rentals and motorbike to the river.So whether you’re a solo traveler, you can take part of this water sport. I’m glad we went to this place. I tell you, it was worth the fun and adventure!