Editorial: Knowing the risks

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

THE report of a local tourist having died in a white water rafting trip in Cagayan de Oro brings to fore the fact that extreme adventures come with risks, many risks.

As the report from Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro reads:

“Seven river guides recovered Aizza Mae Calipusan Balbin’s body around noontime Sunday underneath the boulder where search and retrieval efforts had been centered since Friday afternoon, June 13.


“Using poles with hooks and bare hands, the guides first removed driftwood and other debris trapped underneath the boulder, which rafters call an undercut, formed when fast moving water slams into a big rock, creating a deep pool with strong current.

“Kagay’s Roldan Kaamiño said Balbin had gotten snagged in the undercut together with other debris.”

When ecotourism was not yet coined and only the more adventurous were climbing mountains and canoeing rapids, those who were into this were aware of the risk they are taking just to get the kind of exhilaration they crave for. These mountaineers and paddlers were like athletes, they trained, they prepared, and they attended workshops to sharpen their acumen. They start from small endeavors and build up to their dream conquest.

Through the years, however, extreme adventures just became adventures as ecotourism drove tourists towards conquering their fears. Safety nets, harnesses, helmets, and just about every physical protection gears have been provided. Thus, the industry prospered. The Philippines has every possible place to set up some thrilling adventure, except anything that has to do with snow. It is thus not surprising that the industry picked up and continues to pick up.

It should, however, be remembered that these adventures require more than just physical protection. Most of all, as in all endeavors that pushes a participant to the limits, mental preparation is also required.

Let us reflect on this then, and think up of ways to remove most of the risks that adventure tourism is imbibed with.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 17, 2014.


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