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Cagayan de Oro
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrLocated along the central coast of Northern Mindanao is Cagayan de Oro City. Commonly known as the City of Golden Friendship, or just CdO, Cagayan de Oro has been the commercial hub of the region. It is also the capital city of Misamis Oriental and having over half a million people, it is one of the more populous city of the Philippines.
As a tourist destination, the city is well-known for its white water rafting adventure, vibrant and exciting nightlife, and amazing shopping districts. Cagayan de Oro is also rich in historical landmarks, great sceneries, limestone caves, and lovely beaches.
HistoryThe development of Cagayan de Oro City dates back to the Spanish colonial period, when it first became a town in 1871. By the following year, the town was called “Cagayan de Misamis”, and it was declared the permanent capital of Misamis Oriental. Cagayan de Misamis was also the seat of the Spanish government for the provinces of both Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Bukidnon, and Lanao del Norte. And in 1989, the town joined the newly established government of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo.
During the early 1900s, Cagayan was occupied by American troops. Numerous battles were fought within its territory by the foreign troops and the local resistance fighters. The Americans eventually won the war but gave independence to the county a few decades later. On June 15, 1950, the municipality of Cagayan de Misamis was granted the status of a chartered city. The name Cagayan de Misamis was changed into Cagayan de Oro, which roughly translates to “River of Gold”.
AttractionsThe City of Golden Friendship offers plenty of fun activities to do and exciting sights to see. Most of the attractions around the city can be visited by joining the Tsada Kagay-an city tour. Among the places included in the itinerary are historical landmarks, several local parks, the City Museum, and shopping centers.
White Water Rafting AdventureCagayan de Oro is known for many names, including the title of being the white water rafting capital of the Philippines. When visiting the city, the number one item on your to-do list should always be the white water rafting adventure, which are offered by several rafting tours around the city. For only ₱700 ($15) to ₱2,000 ($44) per person (depending on the rafting course), tourists can enjoy an adrenaline-pumping experience along the mighty rapids of Cagayan River . There are also other rafting courses offered for beginners, which makes this amazing natural tourist attraction suitable for everyone.
Malasag Eco-Tourism Village and GardensOwned and managed by the local government, the Malasag Eco-Tourism Village and Gardens features a great escape from the busy metro and a rejuvenating experience of being closer to Mother Nature. There are several activities you can delve in when visiting the location, including picnics, trekking through the forest, touring around the zoo, and learning about the ethnic groups. Mindanao Cottages are available for those who want to spend the night, the entire village also has a great panoramic view of the entire city and the bay.
Jatico Extreme Adrenaline AdventureA nature theme park located on the hills of Barangay Bayanga. The Jatico Adventure Park is a great place to enjoy the countryside’s fresh air, beautiful sceneries, and extreme outdoor sports. The park has plenty of amenities for picnics and team building, and is also home to adrenaline-pumping rides such as zip-lines and Big Swing.
Macahambus Adventure Park, Cave and GorgeLocated a few kilometers uptown is the historical Macahambus Cave. The cave served as a strategic location and hideout to Kagay-anons fighting American soldiers in the 1900s. The adventure park has a 120-meter wild Zip-Line, a skybridge situated 46 meter above the ground, several extreme sports activities for tourists. Visitors can also experience rappelling down the Macahambus Gorge.
San Agustin ChurchSimply known as the “Cathedral” by locals, the San Agustin Church is the seat of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and the city’s first Catholic Church. Originally built in 1845 by Augustinian Friars, most parts of the church was destroyed in 1945 due to American bombardment. The church was rebuilt since then except the wooden cross in front of the cathedral, which is the only remaining part of the original structure up to this day.
Plaza DivisoriaThe heart of Cagayan de Oro City is the Plaza Divisoria. The plaza is a long strip of historical monuments of both local and national heroes, surrounded by commercial establishments. Divisoria is one of the busiest places in the city as it is considered a go-to place for almost everything, from banks and restaurants to shopping and nightlife. At one end of the plaza is an amphitheater, while at the opposite end is where the prestigious Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan is located.
TransportationThe most common way of getting around Cagayan de Oro is by riding a jeepney. Jeepney rides are very cheap and they travel to several routes across most parts of the city. Taxis are also available around Cagayan, most of them can be found outside shopping malls and key areas. Tricycle taxis or “Motorelas” travel also on several routes around the downtown area, they serve as miniature jeepneys that are perfect for short distance trips.
Tourists who want to visit other cities and places outside Cagayan de Oro can take buses and shuttle vans. For those who want to travel west of Mindanao, buses are available at the Agora Bus Terminal. While east bound buses are available at the Bulua Bus Terminal.
Dining and NightlifeCagayan de Oro offers a wide selection of international cuisines and local favorite. Since the city is also situated along the shores of North Mindanao, fresh seafood is abundantly available. The most frequented restaurants in Cagayan is definitely Sentro 1850, Bigby’s, and Roadhouse Steakhouse.
Tourist should also try the Cagayan de Oro specialty, which is the “Sinuglaw”. The famous local dish is a combination of two popular Filipino recipes, the Sinugba (grilled pork meat) and the Kinilaw (raw fish marinated in vinegar, ginger, onion, chili, and citrus).
The city’s nightlife is focused around Plaza Divisoria. A number of disco bars and watering holes are located along Capistrano Street. The newly opened Lifestyle District along Corrales Extension is quickly becoming one of the top social hangouts of Kagay-anons. The place is a strip of several restaurants, commercial establishments, and an outdoor bar featuring live music.
AccommodationBeing the commercial hub of the region, Cagayan de Oro City is home to large hotel chains and locally owned resorts. Several accommodation options for all kinds of visitors are available, whether it may be for business or pleasure. The Ayala-owned Seda Hotel, and the Limketkai Luxe Hotel are the top choices for those traveling with a taste for extravagance and style. Some of the most frequented establishments by celebrities and TV personalities are the Pryce Plaza Hotel and N Hotel. For those traveling on a budget, they can check in at several hotels and inns near Divisoria.
ShoppingWhen it comes to shopping, Cagayan de Oro is dominated by three major shopping centers. These are Ayala Centrio, Limketkai Center, and SM City Cagayan de Oro. These huge establishments feature all kinds of designer clothing, international brands, and local souvenir items. Currently, the locally-owned Limketkai Center is undergoing renovation to further compete with both Ayala Centrio and SM City (which are both developed by big names in the mall industry). Other shopping centers in the city that are worth mentioning are Gaisano Mall, Ororama, and Robinsons.
If you can’t find something at the mall, you’ll surely find it in Cogon Market. Cagayan de Oro’s local market is considerably the busiest place in the city. Most items you will find here are very affordable, including all kinds of souvenir items, RTW (ready to wear) clothing, general merchandise, and even fruits. At the wet market, you can find all kinds of meat, fishes, and vegetables that are probably sold at the cheapest prices.
Getting ThereCagayan de Oro City is easily accessible by air travel. Tourists who are coming from Manila or Cebu can get a direct flight to CDO. Major airlines such as Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines offer flights to Cagayan de Oro daily. Flights are catered at the Laguindingan International Airport located an hour away from the metro area, the newly opened international airport was constructed in the town of Laguindingan in order to serve both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City residents effectively. From the Laguindingan International Airport, tourists will have to ride an airport shuttle bus to the city proper. The rate for airport shuttle buses are only ₱200 ($4.40). Taxis can also take you to any point in the city from the airport. The rate goes from ₱300 ($6.60) to ₱400 ($8.80), depending on the driver.
Tourists can also get to Cagayan de Oro by land and sea travel. Philtranco buses from Manila have routes to the city through RORO (Roll On, Roll Off). The entire travel time takes about 42 hours. Major shipping companies such as SuperFerry, Negros Navigation, and Sulpicio Lines have ferries going to Cagayan de Oro from Manila. If you’re coming from Cebu, TransAsia and 2GO ferries are available every day.
SafetyAlthough most parts of the city is safe for tourists and foreigners, the Cogon market, squatter areas, and some deserted places should always be avoided at night. There are several police officers patrolling around the dense areas of Cagayan de Oro, especially in Divisoria, so it is relatively safe when staying in that location. There are also reports of robbery and pickpockets (again, in Cogon market) even in broad daylight, so it is generally advised that you keep your valuables in a safe place and avoid drawing attention to yourself by displaying your jewelry and gadgets in public places.
- Cagayan de Oro is just a few hours away from other major summer destinations such as Camiguin Island, Iligan City, and Bukidnon. Make sure to plan your vacation well so you can include these other great places in your itinerary.
- When joining the White Water Rafting Adventure, make sure to follow the safety guidelines and instructions. Although the ride is generally safe, accidents due to negligence are still present.
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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Dec 07, 2014