As if the previous night’s escapade in Maasim wasn’t enough, our group decided to try the water tubing adventure at Maitum’s Pangi River. I’ve seen it on television but never did I dream of doing it myself. From Lumasal, the road to New La Union, Maitum was a one-hour drive. I was awestruck with the greenery. Parang wala ako sa Pilipinas. Poblacion New La Union is like any typical sitio. Old houses are common but a touch of modernity is sprinkled around it. The smiles of the residents were welcoming. We were new faces but they all seemed to expect us. Something must be happening thereabouts. When we reached the dam site of Pangi River, the blaring karaoke music brought me back to earth. So much for nature tripping. Anyway, Pangi River deserved to win as one of the cleanest in the Philippines. Talagang malinis ang paligid pati na ang tubig. Before doing the rapids, we were all given our safety gear. I had to rummage through the life vests because nothing would fit me. The head gear was more like a construction helmet but just the same, I gladly wore it. The first run was exciting.
Each of us had an individual guide. The water was sweet but boy was it rough especially at the sudden drops. In our second run, I asked my guide to become less of a guide. I felt I can maneuver my way through the 1.6km river. I was wrong. In one of the dangerous drops, my rubber tube turned over. Thank God for my construction helmet, my life was spared even if I crashed head-on to a big rock underwater. The rampaging undercurrent was too strong even for somebody like me. I was practically like a rag doll in a washing machine. While my guide tried to get a hold of me, I tried to resurfaced to no avail. Mabuti na lang at mababaw. What an experience! I ended up with a few bruises and a lot of aching muscles. Will I do it again? Well, not in this lifetime. Will I encourage people to try it? By all means, yes! But make sure you’re well protected with body and head gears and the guide. And yes, this is not for kids and the faint-hearted. Pangi River may be wild but it sure is Maitum’s pride! Two more destinations in Maitum that I need to check out are the Bat Sanctuary and the Pinol Caves. And by the way, thanks to ALEXANDER DOCTOR for sharing these beautiful pictures. Alex is a Maitum-born but is now based in Gensan.