Exploring Cagayan de Oro
True to its name given by the Spanish colonizers upon discovering gold in Cagayan River, the “River of Gold” is prosperous and bursting with life in many ways. Cagayan de Oro, the capital city of Misamis Oriental province, has become the commercial, business and transportation hub of northern Mindanao. Its rich agricultural resources allow it to export products like copra, rice and corn. Aside from having fertile lands that nurture local and national industries, it also serves as the corporate home of multinational companies like Del Monte, Pepsi, Nestlé, and Philip Morris in the country.
Cagayan de Oro City is a gateway to other places in northern Mindanao like the Camiguin Island, Iligan City and Bukidnon. Its international airport connects passengers to other destinations down south, and it also has a port that makes the neighboring islands and international trade routes accessible.
As one of the fastest growing tourism hotspots in the Philippines, Cagayan de Oro will take you to stunning landscapes that will soothe your adventure-loving soul: from the exhilarating river rapids to spelunking excursions in caves and paragliding bliss off the highest peak and a lot more. The local culinary scene in CDO is also something foodies will go gaga about!
You will never run out of resorts, nature and adventure parks, churches, museums, historical sites, recreational spots and accommodation facilities to discover. CDO is also a popular go-to place for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). That makes owning an premium condo in Cagayan de Oro a good investment decision. Here you will also meet warm and hospitable locals who will make your stay in the “City of Golden Friendship” memorable.
10 Best Things to Do in CDO
1. Conquer The Rapids of CDO River
The Adventure Capital of the Philippines
CDO is not a place for the faint-hearted.
It’s no secret that this city is a slice of heaven for thrill-seekers and nature lovers because of its famed heart-pumping whitewater rafting adventure on top of other extreme outdoor activities in the area. That alone is enough reason for adrenaline junkies to tick this destination off their bucket list, but this first-class city in the southern Philippines has more tricks on its sleeve.
If there’s one activity that you shouldn’t dare to miss in the Philippines’ so-called adventure capital, it’s whitewater rafting. Get ready for a wild ride as you brave the thrilling rapids of Cagayan de Oro River, which was formerly called Kalambaguasasahan River. It is known to be the natural boundary between Iligan and Bukidnon as well as Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro. A fun and heart-stopping experience awaits both beginners and seasoned rafters who must be prepared to take on the raging waters and currents of the river with their friends, family or fellow travelers.
For the newbies, they can try the 3-hour river run that features 14 rapids while the more advanced riders can go for the 4-hour rafting experience with 24 rapids. In an extreme water sport like this, it is very important to stay focused and follow the instructions of your guide for your safety.
In between the challenging rapid rides, you will enjoy the captivating backdrop of CDO’s lush flora and fauna and picture-perfect landscapes so make the most out of the trip by swimming, breathing in the view and taking some snapshots.
Rafting season is all year round so if you want to go during the dry season (January to June), expect the rapids to be more technical, but if you prefer a more challenging excursion, you may visit during the rainy season (July to December).
2. Take The Leap And Fly
Free your mind from worries and feel the magic of flying as you enjoy the scenic view of the city while paragliding from the highest peak of Cagayan de Oro. This aerial sport can be nerve-wracking at first, especially for those who are scared of heights but it can also be one of the most unforgettable experiences you will have in CDO.
Don’t miss this once-in-a lifetime chance to dance with the breeze and have a bird’s eye view of the picturesque cityscapes and the sweeping beauty of nature.
If you’re a first-timer, you need not worry because an expert pilot will fly with you and maneuver the glider. Just sit back, listen to the instructions, relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery up in the sky!
3. Explore The Nature Parks
Mapawa Nature Park
If you’re craving for a blend of nature and adventure, this park nestled in a 2,500-hectare property 30 minutes away from the city center will fit the bill.
Feel the adrenaline rush as you experience the thrill of canyoneering and river trekking in Mapawa Nature Park. Slide through the beautiful rock formations, swim in cold spring water, rappel down a 65-foot waterfall and jump from a 25-foot cliff – all while appreciating the lush forest and its exquisite flora and fauna that showcase various species of birds and old trees. Here you can also try other fun-filled activities like horseback riding, ziplining and biking.
Macahambus Adventure Park
If you can’t get enough of thrilling feats, you can also go to Macahambus Adventure Park for another knee-wobbling challenge. Conquer your fear of heights by crossing the 120-foot-high Sky Bridge, a 135-meter-long hanging bridge where panoramic views of the forest and century-old trees can be seen. Extreme outdoor sports enthusiasts can also try rappelling from a 150-foot gorge or ride the 120-meter zipline.
Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village
Another place worth-visiting is the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village, a 7.2-hectare eco-cultural haven and botanical garden tucked within the slopes of Cugman Watershed. The lovely location mirrors the rich customs and traditions of Mindanao’s tribal communities through their crafts and artifacts. It also serves as the habitat of rare species of plants and animals and offers a spectacular view of Macajalar Bay.
4. Appreciate Arts, Culture And History
Museum of Three Cultures
Take a break from your adventure-packed itinerary and spend the morning admiring the art galleries dedicated to the three dominant cultures of northern Mindanao (the indigenous peoples, the Maranao Muslims, and the Bisaya-speaking Christians) in Capitol University’s Museum of Three Cultures.
Be fascinated by its wide collection of artifacts like a sultan’s ceremonial sword (danganan) and elevated royal bed (panggao), as well as the musical instruments and kitchen wares of the Maranaos, jars from Butuan, and old photographs from the Spanish era. The museum also features beautiful arts and crafts of the indigenous groups such as the Talaandig tribe’s soil paintings and bamboo baskets of the Manobo.
5. Taste The Unique Flavors Of CDO
Reward yourself with Cagayan de Oro’s mouth-watering cuisines after braving a series of thrillers in the city. One of the popular native delicacies of CDO is binaki, a steamed corn cake that is similar to tamale. Wrapped in corn husks, this local Kagayanon favorite is made of grated young corn, milk, butter and sugar.
Sinuglaw and Kinilaw
Go to Panagatan Restaurant and grab a bite of their well-loved cuisine known as sinuglaw, a fusion of sinugba (grilled pork belly)and kinilaw (fish ceviche). You can also indulge your taste buds with their unique version of kinilaw, where raw fish is soaked in coconut vinegar and a mixture of suha (Mindanao lime) and tabon-tabon (tropical fruit).
Remember Me/Soup No.5
Got a bad hangover?
Try this exotic street food known as Remember Me or Soup No. 5 for an instant hangover cure if you had too much to drink the other night. This dish is also said to be an aphrodisiac, making it a must-try delicacy among tourists and locals. It is a broth composed of tendons and the internal and reproductive organs of horses or cows.
Dare to try?
Treats for the Sweet Tooth
Taste the city’s delectable desserts like the fresh pineapples in food stalls and restaurants, tartufo from Candy’s Cafe, chookies from Mercedes Bakery, cookiegato from Bowerbird Coffee, earl grey egg rolls from Bevato and lactose-intolerant ice cream from Nenecitas Sorbetes.
Don’t forget to bring home some pasalubong for your family and friends such as chicharon, cashew nuts, jamon de Cagayan, pastel, turones de mani and muron.
6. Go on a Spelunking Trip
Kweba de Oro
Gather your guts once again and challenge yourself for a caving adventure in Kweba de Oro, which translates to “Cave of Gold.” Spelunking on this site is definitely not a walk-in-the-park but is a memorable experience for those who love exploring the beauty of the underground.
One has to withstand a 110-foot rappel to enter the cave, followed by a challenging trek inside. There are even areas where the surface of the water almost touches the cave’s ceiling! To cap off the trip, you have to dive and search for the sunlight leading to the small pond for the exit.
History buffs may also explore the Macahambus Cave, the site of the momentous “Battle of Macahambus Hill” in 1900. This was where the Filipinos seized their first victory against the American forces during the Philippine-American War. The cavern also showcases a panoramic view of the Cagayan River.
7. Have A Sweet Escape To Camiguin Island
Island Born of Fire
Satisfy your wanderlust ang go on a side trip to the “Island Born of Fire” known as Camiguin, a gem carved by the remnants of volcanic activities. Just take the ferry from Balingoan Port en route to Benoni Port in Camiguin and indulge yourself to a breathtaking tropical paradise.
Rejuvenate your energy and take a refreshing dip in the pristine, aquamarine waters of Mantigue Island or White Island. Snorkelling enthusiasts can swim with giant clams in the Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery.
If you’re into scuba diving, spend the day exploring the magical marine life of Jicduf Shoal. More advanced divers may opt to discover the underwater wonders of Burias Shoal.
Those who miss the thrill of hiking can climb Mount Hibok-Hibok and view the majestic panorama of Camiguin from the summit.
Not in the mood to hike?
Chase waterfalls instead. Trek to Katibawasan and Tuasan Falls and be one with nature. Or you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of Hibok-Hibok Ardent Hot Spring and Sto. Nino Cold Spring. While you’re on the island, don’t forget to eat delicious lanzones fruits and try their local delicacy kiping!
8. Visit The Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
This historical church dedicated to Saint Augustine was built by Fray Agustin de San Pedro, an Augustinian Recollect, in 1624. After being attacked and burned down, it underwent several renovations. Finally, the cathedral and the convent were rebuilt in 1946 with the help of Archbishop James Hayes, SJ.
Located near the City Museum in CDO, Saint Augustine Cathedral is distinguished for its gothic-inspired architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows donated by the New York Sacred Heart chapel. It is also decorated with marvelous paintings and a pipe organ.
Offer a silent prayer when you stop by this sacred place of worship during your walking tour around the city.
9. Live Like A Hobbit
If you’re a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (LOTR), you need not go to New Zealand to actually see the hobbit-inspired houses.
Mt. Kitanglad Agro-Eco Farm
Escape the city for a while and check out Mt. Kitanglad Agro-Eco Farm in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon to visit the dreamy “Hobbit Village,” the Philippines’ version of “The Shire.” It features 4 or 5-foot-high miniature houses with circular doors that will surely give you that authentic LOTR vibe!
The 22-hectare agri-eco farm also offers educational tours around the property where you can explore the forests, go bird-watching, learn about the production of citronella oil and drink the locally grown Kitanglad Brew coffee.
Whether you just want a day tour of sight-seeing and taking pictures of the Instagrammable location or you wish to stay overnight, this farm is one of the must-see places in northern Mindanao. Don’t worry about the cold weather at night because there’s a fireplace in the area to keep you warm and cozy.
Aside from the famous hobbit houses, there are other options for accommodation such as dormitories, tree houses and camping sites that nature lovers will surely enjoy.
10. Celebrate The Higalaay Festival
Filipinos love town and city fiestas. They add color and life to our vibrant culture and traditions. You shouldn’t miss Cagayan de Oro City’s Higalaay Festival, formerly called Kagay-an Festival, is an annual festivity held every August 28 to celebrate the feast day of St. Augustine, the city’s patron saint. The word “Higalaay” was derived from the Bisaya/Cebuano term “higala” that means friend, staying true to the city’s nickname, “City of Golden Friendship.” This fun-filled feast of friendship showcases activities such as the street parade and floats, fluvial procession, culinary show, trade fair, dragon boat fiesta race, pyro festival, religious procession, fashion summit, carnival street dance competition, and of course, the much-anticipated Miss Cagayan de Oro beauty pageant.
If you see yourself living this fun, colorful and adventure-filled life with a blend of city and suburban vibe or you’re thinking of starting a long-term investment, you can consider buying an premium condo in Cagayan de Oro. Being the gateway of northern Mindanao, CDO’s business, commercial and tourism growth will make your investment worthwhile because of its top-notch location and friendly community.
CDO is also the logistics hub of northern Mindanao where trade links are accessible. It also provides easy access to an enormous concentration of markets in northern Mindanao, making it a viable investment potential.
Perks of owning an premium condo in CDO
The Loop Towers by Camella Manors is a twin-tower premium property nestled at the heart of Limketkai Center, which is known as the central business district of CDO. Its strategic location makes the lifestyle centers, adventure hotspots and other tourist destinations within reach. The Loop is also accessible to grocery stores, banks, churches, universities, hospitals, malls, pastry shops and electronic shops.
The Loop is just an hour and 45-minute flight away from Manila, making it a prime location for both local and foreign tourists. This convenience, accessibility and resort-type experience comes with a peace of mind since this private development features 24/7 security with the roving personnel and CCTVs keeping you safe and secured.
The Loop Towers’ contemporary design flaunts a modern and sophisticated aura from its facade to its world-class amenities. It is the first high-rise residential project of Vista Land outside Metro Manila.
Your mornings will be more special as you lose yourself in the magnificent view of Kitanglad Mountain Range and Macajalar Bay from the twin towers. Get your best value for money with The Loop Towers’ lovely amenities such as the club house, play park, fitness gym, swimming pool and function hall.
The first building, the North Tower, is part of the 31-hectare township in the city center. The 26-storey condo project inside a 5,878 sq.m. area has a total of 522 units featuring studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units. Turn over to its investors is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Camella Manors will soon open the second building named The Azent Tower at Limketkai Center.