“A governor drowned in the rapids,” the old woman explained, “So that’s where it got its name.”
I nodded in understanding as I sipped my ube shake that did nothing to quench my thirst. I didn’t bother Googling the meaning behind its name and thought that the river is called, Governor’s Rapids. A local clarified that it only pertains to a section of the river in which a Japanese governor-general met his demise in World War II. The river is in fact, a piece of Rio Grande de Cagayan (Cagayan River), the longest river in the Philippines. For easy reference, let’s stick with Governor’s Rapids in this article.
Governor’s Rapids can be found in the municipality of Maddela, Quirino in a village called, Divisoria Sur. Here, you can go on a boat tour or river-tubing adventure. Passing through the rapids is best enjoyed by the river tubing. We spotted some tourists free floating on top of the tubes. We passed on this activity because we were carrying our gadgets. Nevertheless, the boat ride proved to be just as enjoyable.
After the trip, I realized that we overpaid for the river tour. We paid a total of Php 450, when it should have been only Php 270 for 3 pax, including the entrance fee. Note that we only had a boat ride and didn’t include river tubing in our activity. I cannot for the life of me figure out why we had to pay more. So before you commit to anything, make sure that all terms are clear.
The river is wide, the water a color of moss, and it is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs with jagged edges. We were in awe; who would have thought that there is such beauty hiding in this landlocked province.
Aside from river tubing and boat tour, the river is deep enough for some serious cliff jumping. You can do this specifically from this limestone formation they call, The Stage, which according to our boatman, is where TV personality, Drew Arellano, took the plunge during his Quirino visit.
The boat was steered by a father-and-son tandem. My friends called the young boy “kuya” whenever they ask him to take our photos. I found it extremely weird that they would call a kid the title that we use for a big brother.
The boat docked on the rocky shore; we alighted to take some photos.
The activity will take you on a 2-kilometer boat ride, which includes a tour inside Tenyente Cave. We decided against the cave exploration because we just visited the Aglipay Caves prior to going to the Governor’s Rapids.
Having traveled in the most touristy places in the Philippines, it was a bit disconcerting to be somewhere where I didn’t have to wait in long queue or fight anyone for a good spot for a photo op. The weather was kind, rolls of clouds covered the sky, allowing for a dry day yet safe from the fierce heat of the sun. All in all, the experience was rather pleasurable, peaceful even.
The Governor’s Rapids is arguably the most popular destination in Quirino and one you shouldn’t miss.
Entrance fee: Php 10
Boat ride: Php 80/pax
River tubing: Php 80/pax