Since a few friends and I have been thinking of going to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) sometime soon, I want to write about what I already did there when I went last September 2013. Cagayan de Oro is located at Mindanao region of the Philippines, and very recently have they relocated their airport. Now, their airport is an hour or two away from the City and tourists and locals alike have to ride a van that would take them to the city. The van ride is not that expensive and it’s quite comfortable. Choose which van company to board depending on where you want to go down, since they have their own “terminals” in the city.
Our hotel was the recently opened Seda beside the Ayala Mall in front of Gaisano, right smack in the heart of the city. I found that this accommodation was very convenient since it’s beside a malls—perfect for grocery shopping (hurrah for none overpriced drinking water) and quick eats if you’re hungry. The rooms in Seda is very spacious and also offers free breakfast buffets, the staff were all very accommodating, helpful and friendly. The amount per night is very reasonable considering how comfy and convenient it is.
Our hotel room in Seda, and the swimming pool (Bottom right)
Upon arrival one of the first things that we did was have lunch, and since our rooms were not yet ready we settled our luggage with the concierge and crossed over to the Mall. Our first meal in CDO was in Sunburst. Sunburst is a popular chicken joint much like Max’s in the provinces. I was first introduced to Sunburst in my earlier trip this year (February 2013) in Cebu. However, I wasn’t able to try it when I was in Cebu, and the place fell short of expectations.
The Ayala Mall
After buying drinking water from the Rustan’s supermarket we went off with the Kagay Team to do water rafting. Water Rafting is one of the main attractions of CDO. It was encouraged and publicized by the Arroyo government a few years back. The Kagay team is very good at what they do. Although it’s not my first time Water Rafting (I first water rafted in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia) I found that the briefing of the Kagay crew to be very elaborate, informative, and useful. ) We had another group of water rafters who were first timers and I (would like) to think that the debriefing eased their worries.
There are different levels of water rafting with the Kagay team, we were in the intermediate level with 22 rapids, but I still found it to be quite boring. Too much still water and not enough rapids! For rapid enthusiast I highly suggest you try the expert level. According to our guide you’ll be looking for still waters rather than rapids in the expert level. Since the guides know the river like the back of their palms, they’ll tell you when to row, when to grip your footing in the boat, and when to hang on (for dear life). And since they don’t expect you to row and take photos at the same time they have a photographer to capture all your graceful moments in the water.
The Kaya’s office (Top Photo) and our service to the river (Bottom photo)
The next day my family and I hired a van to go visit the Divine Mercy Shrine, and the nearby provinces which houses water falls (no not like the ones that we see here in Manila). We also took a side trip to Iligan to visit the previous residence of former President GMA, the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral house, a heritage house since 2002.
The Divine Mercy Shrine, where it is considered to be holy land and females are required to wear a skirt (middle right photo) which one can rent at the place
The Macapagal Ancestral House which also houses the Senior Citizen’s office
The 3 different falls that we visited
On our last day we were supposed to go to Dahilayan Adventure Park where they house great Baguio-like weather and adventurous activities such as zip lining, rock climbing etc. However because we still had a flight to catch we ended up sleeping in and bumming around our very relaxing room in Seda. It was a great way to spend the weekend, especially since when I returned to Manila I was eroded with a ton of workload that made me want to cry.