20 Sep Top 7 Reasons to Visit Cagayan de Oro
If you’re a local tourist and you love visiting the outer rims of the Philippines, then there’s nothing other places have that Cagayan de Oro can more or less offer. As the saying goes, “don’t be a stranger in your own country.” But if you’re going around the country then there’s no reason to skip CDO. If you’re a foreign tourist then we find not a single reason you need to skip out on CDO. But if you’re really insistent on why you should come visit or just see Cagayan de Oro, then we offer 10 realistic reasons why.
Food, Food, Glorious Food
Since the start of the first decade of 2000, Cagayan de Oro has slowly been growing into a hub for the culinary arts not only for Northern Mindanao but also for Mindanao as well.
Today there are more than 20 specialty schools, colleges, and universities offering culinary arts of every aspect and category.
Aside from local culinary festivals and competitions all year round, CDO now celebrates the biggest annual food festival and competitions outside of Cebu and Manila, called KUMBIRA Food Festival, which always happens every August during the city’s month-long celebration of its city fiesta.
But then, one only needs to go around the city and see the clustering restaurants and food outlets that serve every type of popular foreign, fusion, and Filipino cuisine. After all, when one travels, one of the first things you need to do is to taste the food of the area.
There are more than enough food spots in the city to satisfy every palate and taste of every tourist. The night life of the city also offers not only the best in drinks but also in food as well.
We use the word affordable, not cheap. Food, hotel, accommodations, and shopping rates in Cagayan de Oro are considerably lower compared to Cebu and Manila.
For instance, if you decide to eat at a fine dining restaurant in Manila, on average you pay around P4,000 to P5,000 for 4 persons. In CDO, on average, you get to pay around P1,000 to P2,000 for 4 persons for fine dining.
It’s also the same when you compare room rates and accommodations. Even shopping malls in CDO are considerably more affordable.
When in Cagayan de Oro you need to experience what has made CDO famous and has virtually put the city on the tourism map. Literally everyone from the edge of Luzon to the outer rims of Tawi-Tawi who experienced the whitewater rafting on the Cagayan River has given very positive comments and reviews about it.
From the city proper it is only around a 30 to 45 minute drive to the launching point at Mambuaya. There are package tours available for every conceivable grouping. Participants in the past have commented on the highly safety procedures of the rafting guides who give a full briefing before starting out.
It is notable to pay particular attention especially in the use of the life vest and helmet. Courses may last up to 2 hours. Even rafting experts now consider Cagayan de Oro as the whitewater rafting capital of the Philippines.
Buying Famous CDO “Pasalubong” Products
For the food connoisseur and probably to take back with you when you depart the city, Cagayan de Oro is famous for a number of “pasalubong” food products.
There is a wide variety ranging from cashew nuts, peanuts, pastels, pineapples, ham products, sylvannas, pineapple crumble pies; you name it, CDO has it. All you need to do is to visit any of the pasalubong specialty cafes or stores around the city or go through a major supermarket where they have a separate grocery section for pasalubong foods.
Historical Markers and Museums
For history tourist spots, there are historical site markers around the city such as the General Douglas McArthur Memorial Marker at the edge of the Cagayan de Oro port area.
It commemorates March 13, 1942 when Gen. McArthur with his family came to the port after escaping from Corregidor Island. Another historical marker just after SM City Mall in upper Pueblo commemorates all the Filipino soldiers who died at the Battle of Agusan Hill and the Battle of Makahambus. The historical marker lists down the names of the soldiers and the battalions they served in.
Just behind the San Agustin Cathedral in the city’s Gaston Park area is the recent Sendong Memorial. It is dedicated to all the 1,500 who died and 1,900 who are still missing after Typhoon Sendong sent flashfloods that cascaded down from the mountains onto the Cagayan River.
The city has 3 major museums: The Museo de Oro administered by Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, the City Museum at the Old Water Tower beside the old San Agustin Cathedral (itself a historical building), and the Museum of Three Cultures at the Capitol University.
Beach Resorts, Nature Parks, and Adventure Parks
Technically, while there are three nature and adventure parks within the city limits, all of the really good beach resorts and other nature and adventure parks are located outside of CDO, particularly in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.
However, to get to these places, you still need to go through CDO, whether by air, sea, or even land. The beach resorts are known for their clear waters, safe and clean facilities, and good food.
Nature and adventure parks are becoming popular because of the real closeness to nature as well as the really great adventure rides.
Yes, we know what’s on your mind pertaining to safety, so let’s do the math. Since 1970 Cagayan de Oro has only experienced 3 IED explosions, in 1994, 2012, and 2013. Over the same period, Manila and Luzon has experienced a total of 14 IED-related explosions. Since 1970 even Davao City has experienced more IED bombings and grenade explosions with a total of 8. In the spirit of fairness, no negative travel advisories have ever gone out when Manila is affected. But when something explodes anywhere in Mindanao, travel advisories immediately are sent out. Mind you, Mindanao is a very large land area and giving blanket travel advisories that affect Cagayan de Oro is not fair at all. And in terms of crime rate, CDO ranks only number 6 in the total crime rate index of top ten cities in the Philippines. Above CDO, Quezon City and Manila rank number 1 and 3 respectively. Number 2 is occupied by (surprise!) Davao City. So, where would you go for a night out in relative safety? Manila or Cagayan de Oro?