Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cagayan de Oro: The City of Golden Friendship

Explore Mindanao: Check!
Zipline: Check!
White water rafting (braving the rapids): CHECK!
Boodle Fight: CHECK! Check!

   Cagayan de Oro is undoubtedly the new city to look forward to when comes to economic growth in Mindanao.  As a capital city of the province of Misamis Oriental, located in the northern part of Mindanao, an upswing in the business side and tourism need an applaud.   In my recent visit to CDO, the progressive city is teeming with infrastructures, malls and food establishments, not to mention factories, shipping yards and the people  who stood up against the tides of  setbacks.

   After our Camiguin escapade, we took an hour ferry ride from Benoni wharf to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental and drove to Cagayan de Oro city for one hour and a half.  The journey was long and tiring, but I didn't mind, I was enjoying the sight of the rural areas and observing the locals we would pass by.  Sights that are not always seen in Manila gives relaxation don't you think?  You get to see lush fruit bearing trees, old houses, "kubo" (nipa huts) and fruits stands here and there.

   Noticeable as well are the big rural transit buses northbound to Butuan (P210, 3½ hours) and Surigao (P300, six hours), southbound for Davao (P400, seven hours) and westbound for Iligan (P100, 1½ hours). The bus terminal by the way is at Agora fruit and vegetable wholesale market, a couple of kilometers out of town.

   Now in the city, I was able to get a load of some key infrastructures.

Paseo del Rio Center

   A sprawling 12 hectare development is said to boost the economic standing of not only CdeO but the Northern Mindanao as well. It's near the downtown area which soon confines a five-star high rise hotel, the largest and most modern convention center and an avant-garde mall that covers the first three floors of the hotel and convention center.   Envisioned as  "the new city within the city" is now finishing up on it's first phase project and will be opened on the 2016th.

   Here is the model that will soon be the finished project.

 Limketkai Luxe Hotel

   Right next door to the famous prominent Limketkai Center (mall) is its sister hotel, Limketkai Luxe Hotel.  The hotel will soon have their soft opening before this year ends, in time for Christmas.

   Talking about the mall, it has gone several face-lifts to accommodate the diverse customers of Limketkai.   I found it very peculiar finding Rustan's, Robinson's and SM Hypermarket housed in one mall.  Now they are bringing in more high-end and imported brands to cater to the "can afford" citizens and tourists.

   Limketkai Luxe Hotel on the other hand is a premier hotel that is the finest when comes to service and facilities and will soon be a dwelling for both business and leisure travelers.

   It will feature 213 contemporary guestrooms including 12 executive suites and 16 club executive suites and will provide exceptional room features.

Tourist Destinations You Shouldn't Miss in Cagayan De Oro

Macahambus Cave

   The  Macahambus Cave is a historical landmark and an adventure spot at that.  It is said to aid Cagay-anons to win the war against the Americans (1900).  When going inside make sure to bring a flashlight with you.  There used to be a light from the kerosene lamp but have damaged a part of the stalactites so decided not to have one anymore.
   The walk into the cave is short and a  veranda awaits you on the other end on the cave.  The river which borders Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon meanders below the gorge.  The sight isn't that stunning for the water looked murky, for it had rained all night when we got there.  The same river will challenge us with its rapids and cold water.
  You can go back in the cave to go back to the highway or trek up on the side.

White Water Rafting in CDO

   Many come to CDO for the thrill of white water rafting.  It is what it's known for!  A total of 14 major rapids will enthrall you and leave your breath hanging and heart stomping.  

   Early morning, we were picked up by Bugsay's group on a jeepney.  We first paid a visit to their office to fill up a waiver and pay for our adventure.  Oro Association of Rafters (OAR) is the core org that monitors the six rafting companies operating in the city, with Golden Friendship Whitewater Rafting, Red Rafts, Great White Water Tours, CDO Bugsay River Rafting, 1st Rafting Adventure, and Kagay Whitewater Rafting as members.  They are color-coded so you can easily identify which group you might bump in to.

   CDO Bugsay offers 4 different packages according to difficulties and number of rapids: Advance course (P 1000), Beginners Course (P 700), Advance II Course (P1200) and Extreme Course (P 2000).  For a first-timer like all of us, we had the Beginners Course, which is a 12 KM. river stretch with 14 class 2+ rapids and scenic views along the river, which usually takes 2.5 to 3.5 hours of river run.

   That's me on the left, geared up and ready to paddle for my life.  On the right photo is a photo of one of the guide giving us introduction to the adventure.  He taught us the different ways of managing the waves, how to use the ore, what to do when someone falls over and things that should and shouldn't be done during the course.  No he didn't scare us.  But I admit, I pretended to be a toughie.

   Almost to the half-way.
   Our package included a "boodle" fight for lunch.

   Relaxing while waiting for our meal.

   A Boodle Fight is a gathering where food  is served on banana leaves spread over a table and eaten with bare hands.  On a shaded part of river, one raft was turned over to make as a table.  The boat riders themselves cooked and set it up.
   Another first for me, though a bit hesitant at first, I shamelessly attacked the spread of  four different viands, steamy rice and sliced pineapples from Bukidnon-the sweetest kind of them all.  Everyone joined in except of course the guys from Bugsay, since they brought their own meals.  Every dish was flavorful and guess who won?

  Tadaah!  Hahaha! Need I say more?

   Just so you know, no one from our group fell!  I also enjoyed the  scenery along the river.   The anecdotes and jokes told by Arman, our boatman and the flight of the sparrows, as we glided along still, peaceful water. We all had extreme fun adventure and have more guts to face another one, maybe I could come back and try the advance course.
   Let me share you this quote to get you perked up for some more adventure.
"Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.”
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Stellar Accommodation From Seda Centrio Hotel

   Our group stayed for two nights at Seda Centrio located at the heart of the downtown area, corner of C.M. Recto and Corrales Avenue.  Our stay would have been splendid if only we have more time to spend in oour room than sleeping.   Our four-day Caimiguin-Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon tour was jam-packed so we only stay at night in this savvy hotel.  My review on the hotel is seen  HERE.

   To see our itinerary for the Caimiguin-Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon tour, kindly click HERE.

   To see places on where to eat, when in CDO, kindly click HERE.


  1. The city of Golden Friendship!!@!! I heard a lot about Cagayan De Oro especially the wild water rafting. The city is very famous with that activity. I happened to stepped on that city but it took only several hours, so I was not able to explore the city more.

    1. Oh you should visit CDO again, and make sure to try white-water rafting!

  2. I've been tp CDO before and it looks like they have a lot of the major hotel player with bigger facilities.

  3. It's been awhile since my last visit in CDO and maybe If I have a chance, I'll visit their malls and I wanna try the boodle fight but please, give me plate, spoon and fork! haha! :D

    1. Sorry Jonas, but the essence of the "boodle" is eating in one spread of banana leaf and with your bare fingers. It was fun!

    2. Yes Joy, that's truly the essence of boodle fight. LOL to Jonas. :D

  4. Oh I miss CDO! I used to go there when I was still in high school since some of my titas reside there. However, things have changed na. I seldom go there nalang, except for special occasions. Reason? Time!

    1. I feel for you, Algene! There are so many places I wanna visit, even here in our country but the same reason as yours, and of course add to that the budget!

  5. Didn't know Cagayan have improve this well! I wanna visit there soon with my family! :)

  6. I miss the thrill of white water rafting. I did it in Kalinga before, I should try CDO's :)

  7. I've heard several good things about CDO as our former helper was from there. She said when you taste their sumptuous specialty you can almost forget your name.

  8. would love to do those outdoor adventure!! and the caves most specially! it would be great expeerience!

  9. Cagayan de Oro seems to have it all, natural wonders and the convenience of upscale commercial facilities.

  10. CDO is definitely one of the cities to watch out for.. and that boodle fight! so awesome!!

  11. One of the many places here in the Philippines that I want to visit before I start traveling and exploring the whole world.

  12. I want to go to Cagayan De Oro! I really think it's a great place to chill and relax! =)

  13. From hotels to tourist spots and malls, Cagayan de Oro is surely a lovely place to visit and have fun in the summer. Maybe it's time CDO should be introduced as one of the best vacation places to be! ;)

  14. Heard good things about CDO but never been to the place. Noon yun, after reading your post, Gusto ko na.

  15. I'm not brave to try that water rafting, I feel I will die asap LOL! But other activities look so fun to try!

  16. Wow, you had a great time in CDO! I want to try the whitewater rafting there! :)

  17. To win Piccadilly Rewards, you need to complete the Piccadilly Guest Satisfaction Survey obeying official rules, conditions, using the official links, mentioned below in the article...Piccadilly Guest Satisfaction Survey


I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?