09 Jan What to Do in Cagayan de Oro (Part 2) If You’re a Local or Foreign Tourist Because this City has Everything for Everyone
Cagayan de Oro has always been called the “Gateway” to Northern Mindanao, and any gateway city means that there are always a ton of things to see and do ranging from tourist spots to adventure spots to cuisines. There’s everything for everyone from the quiet tourist stroller and explorer to the loud adventure thrill seekers. So, if you’re in the “City of Golden Opportunities” (this is the new moniker going around for CDO today, aside from using “Friendship”) don’t just muck around in your hotel room (though we won’t blame you since the hotel accommodations in CDO are really “to die for”), and instead, go out there and explore and enjoy.
Staycation and Hotel Hopping
Statistics show that around a third of those who stay in CDO hotels are from nearby provinces and almost half of these are termed as staycationers. Staycation is a play between the words “stay-at-home” and vacation. It is a term for spending vacations or long weekends in the local area of residence or nearby instead of going abroad. And definitely, Cagayan de Oro has no shortage of great hotel accommodations. For a different type of staycation, why not check into a different hotel every time you’re in the city. Here are a few suggestions worth your money and time:
- Limketkai Luxe Hotel (5-star hotel) – CDO’s first and only 5-star hotel, and locally owned at that by a local family business consortium, the same owners of the famous Limketkai Center and Mall. It can really boast of 5-star accommodations, amenities, service, function rooms, a really first-class restaurant, and the only real infinity pool in the city. It is located at the Limketkai Center in Lapasan.
- Seda Centrio Hotel (4-star hotel) – CDO’s first and only 4-star hotel, it is part of the Ayala Land Seda conglomerate of hotels found all over the Philippines. Its accommodations, restaurant, amenities, and function rooms are truly ideal for staycationers or for those on business trips. They probably have the cutest infinity and kiddie pool in the city. They are located right beside the Ayala Centrio Mall on Corrales Avenue, typical of all Ayala Seda hotels that are always attached to an Ayala Mall.
- Pacifico Boutique Hotel – A truly unique hotel in a class of its own, though their accommodations, service, amenities, restaurant and bar can easily make 3 or 4 stars. They are the only hotel in the city that uses truly “king” sized beds according to American standards, rain shower heads, bed sheets made from bamboo silk imported from Hong Kong, and all rooms are slightly bigger than those found in 3-star hotels. It is located at the corner of A. Velez and Fernandez Streets.
- The VIP Hotel – The oldest and first 2-star hotel in Cagayan de Oro, its accommodations, function rooms, and food is recognized in the city as one of the best. During the Christmas holidays they display a traditional miniature “Christmas Town” in the lobby. It is located at the corner of A. Velez and J.R. Borja Streets.
- N Hotel – Located along Kauswagan Highway, this first class hotel has one of the best accommodations and amenities including 2 family rooms good for 11 to 15 persons. They are also well-known for their swimming pool venue.
Exploring the local restaurants for great food trips
The city is filled with great local restaurants that offer everything from Filipino dishes, foreign cuisine, grilled thrills, pizzas, and other palatable delights.
One only needs to walk around the Divisoria area to find really good local restaurant such as those found at the Grand Central Arcade (Try Ah Fong Restaurant and Chez Marie Bar Café and Restaurant).
Walking distance from Divisoria is Corrales Avenue where you can find Boy Zugba for grill thrills, BFB (Big Fat Bread) for great and large-sized pizzas, and Lokal Grill for seafood.
A little more walking will bring you to Ayala Centrio Mall where you can search through all the floors to find really great restaurants like Panagatan and Bigby’s.
Just a stone’s throw away down Corrales Extension is the Consortium Building (Try Biker’s Grill and Fusion Resto Café).
Further forward is the Lifestyle District, a large arcade that houses numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and dessert establishments (Mango Mania is a good choice here).
The CDO Nightlife
Just like CDO’s restaurants are just too numerous to list down unless you’re reading a directory, so too is the city’s nightlife too numerous to mention.
Just a few to suggest: Lifestyle District has great music lounges (Microphone Hero and Empire), the E-Bar rooftop bar at Pacifico Boutique Hotel, Pulse Bar and Lounge in Divisoria, and the Wine Cellar at J.R. Borja Extension.
You can also explore the watering holes at the Grand Central Arcade, and walk down Corrales Avenue to check out the bars and KTV lounges there.
For those who want adventure thrills and rides, Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park Resort in Bukidnon, and Mapawa Nature Park in upper Cugman are two that CDO’s tourism can boast about.
They feature thrilling types of ziplines, drop-ride jumps that will certainly give you a hair-raising experience. They have a wide array of unique adventure rides to choose from, as well as accommodations and restaurants for staycations, overnight stays, and weekend getaways.
For Nature Lovers
Mantianak Botanical Garden and Zoological Park is a new eco-destination for nature lovers where you can find different flora, fauna, and even protected Bengal Tigers.
It is located only 55 minutes away from the city in the town of Sugbongcogon in Misamis Oriental. There are also cottages available for overnight stays.
For Those Who Love the Seawater
Blu Sands Beach Resort in Tubigan, Initao, Misamis Oriental is the newest beach resort that CDO’s tourism can boast of that features great hotel and cottage accommodations, a great white beach, and swimming pools for adults and kids.
Nearer to the city, Apple Tree Resort in Opol has two large swimming pools and is a favorite spot for night swimming.
For those into scuba diving, Agutayan Island Reef in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental is being compared to Camiguin’s White Island, but only better, as well as Duka Bay Resort.
The latter also features overnight accommodations, a restaurant, and water-borne rides for more family fun.
Relax and get a massage
After all the adventures and walking around the city and beyond, you might want to relax and have a massage at one of CDO’s first class spa salons. Some of those we recommend include the Sanctuary Beautycare and Wellness at the Grand Central Arcade in Divisoria, Touch and Heal at the corner of Quirino Drive and Limketkai Drive, Body Touch at the Robinson’s Center, Limketkai Mall, and Thai Boran along Masterson Avenue at Pueblo de Oro.
For History Buffs
For those into history, take a tour of the city’s museums, starting with the City Museum of Cagayan de Oro, the city’s unique museum that used to be the old Cagayan town’s water tower beside the San Agustin Cathedral in front of Gaston Park.
Xavier University’s Museo de Oro is actually the city’s oldest museum and houses some really old artifacts since the Neolithic era of Misamis. Capitol University’s new Museum of Three Cultures showcases a collection of rare arts and crafts, weapons, musical instruments, furniture, jewelry, archeological digs from Butuan, and other rare antiques from the ancient and early Christian lowland tribes, Muslim tribes, and Manobo and Higaunon tribes.
The suggestions listed above are only that, suggestions, and if you do more exploring and Googling (as well as inquiring from other Cagayanons) you will find a wealth of things to do and experience in Cagayan de Oro, whether you’re a local or foreign tourist. This is because Cagayan de Oro is still that city that will never cease to amaze.