Cagayan de Oro City
A long time ago, the mighty river that ran through an ancient settlement in the Land of Promise known as the island of Mindanao yielded precious gold nuggets. When Spanish Recollect friars arrived in 1622 the inhabitants referred to their settlement as Cagayan. Most of the male inhabitants were heavily tattooed like the pintados of the Visayan Islands while many of the women wore intricate jewelries made of gold. According to language researchers, the word “karayan,” “kalayan,” or “kagayan” evolved from an ancient Malayo-Polynesian language that meant “river.” In the mid-1800s, the ancient settlement that grew into a town was named “Cagayan de Misamis.” On June 15, 1950, the town was chartered by law as “Cagayan de Oro City” which is a combination of the ancient Malayo-Polynesian and Spanish languages that translates to “City of the River of Gold.”
Today, Cagayan de Oro City is the capital of the Province of Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao. It lies 810 kilometers south of Manila bordered on the north by Macajalar Bay in the Bohol Sea; on the south by the mountains and plateaus of Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon; on the west by the Municipality of Opol; and, on the east by the Municipality of Tagoloan.
Mining towns typically fade into oblivion as their mineral deposits get depleted through mining activities. Interestingly, despite centuries of placer mining activities that depleted its gold deposits, Cagayan de Oro City continues to flourish even more. It has become a bustling trade and commercial center and the home of many agri-businesses, food processing and service firms. Because of its good transportation and communications infrastructure, it is considered as the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao” and the major transshipment point to Cebu in the Visayas, Metro Manila and neighboring Asian countries. The well-planned growth of the city made it one of the country’s most livable and peaceful places such that it has become one of the favorite entertainment and shopping destinations in Region X.
While Cagayan de Oro City was named for the gold deposits found centuries ago in its bosom, the secret of its progress lies in its natural attributes such as the presence of a deep water harbor, its accessibility to regional and foreign markets and its relatively safe location outside the Pacific typhoon belt. For many local and foreign investors, these presented golden opportunities to grow their businesses. Complementing these natural attributes, is a far more precious resource that is vital to the economic growth of Cagayan de Oro City. This is the city’s bottomless supply of young, skilled and highly literate human resource. The hospitable, warm and friendly people of Cagayan de Oro City which gave it the distinction of being known as the “City of Golden Friendship” is actually its real treasure more precious than gold.
What to See and Do in Cagayan de Oro
While Cagayan de Oro is the commercial hub of the region, it has not been overtaken by the urban sprawl that is often the consequence of economic progress. It has retained much of Nature’s gifts that make it one of the choice destinations for visitors who yearn for adventure in the great outdoors.
White Water River Rafting: The Cagayan River is perhaps the finest white water rafting destination in the country because even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself rode the exciting rapids of this river in 2002. Fourteen rapids ranging from class 3 to 4 awaits the adventurer in a three-hour run from Mambuaya to Kabula. Paddling through the rapids also presents an excellent opportunity for the adventuresome sight-seer to admire the beauty of Nature along the river banks and the rural charm of the countryside.
Macahambus Cave and Gorge: Trek to this placid scenic site that was once a witness to the victory of Filipino freedom fighters against the American colonial army during the Philippine-American War of 1900. The picturesque cavern that is covered with lush forest growth leads to a protrusion overlooking the winding Cagayan River. A short distance away is the steep thickly wooded Macahambus Gorge where many of the foreign invaders fell to their deaths.
Monigue Cave: Go spelunking in this cave and marvel at the spectacularly awesome white and brown stalactite and stalagmite formations that fill the cavern. Located at Barangay Mambuaya, the water that flows at the seemingly narrow cave opening is fed by an underground stream.
Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro
One does not leave Cagayan de Oro on an empty stomach because finding a place to eat in the city is never a problem. Its pineapples from nearby Del Monte plantation and sweet ham are well-known far and wide. The local version of tasty lechon that is served without the liver sauce, the chicken “inasal” and “sinugba,” or grilled sea food that is offered in almost every restaurant come highly recommended.
The Night Café at the Divisoria: Every Fridays and Saturdays this place is set up at the Divisoria area to provide the city’s tired and harried workers a venue to unwind after a week of hard work. Let your hair down and enjoy sea food and barbeque while sipping on a frosty mug of beer and listening to good music in the company of visitors and locals alike.
OIC: Located along Corrales Street, the name of this joint is an acronym that stands for “Only in Cagayan.” Indeed, it is only in this place in Cagayan de Oro City where you can bring your family or the whole gang for a good, cheap meal like grilled sea food, beef and pork appetizingly paired with fresh lumpia, green mangos or seaweed.
Loreto’s: If you are in the area of Tomas Saco Street and are craving for the famous “sinugba,” or grilled delicacies of the city, grab one of the chairs and dine al fresco on grilled sea food and crispy calamares under the soothing spell of acoustic singers.
Where to Stay in Cagayan de Oro
De Luxe Hotel: If you are looking for a place to stay in Cagayan de Oro, try this underrated hotel, which has great service, spacious rooms and fabulously low rates that start at P800.00. Amenities include air conditioning, private bath, ref, telephone and television.
Captain Vicente Roa Street
Cagayan de Oro
Tel. Nos.: (08822) 724-548; 724-563; 726-527
(088) 857-2145; 857-2144
Philtown Hotel: Reasonably priced with well-prepared food and eager to please staff is how this hotel is described. And, indeed, reasonably priced it is with rates starting at P995.00, guests will be entitled to air conditioning, private bath, television, kitchen, ref and telephone.
Cagayan de Oro
Tel. No.: 8822-723-089
VIP Hotel: If you are looking for a more pricey accommodation with a good price and good house keeping, then why not try checking into this hotel? With rates starting at P1,800.00, guests will enjoy in-room air conditioning, private shower and bath, mini-bar, ref, television, telephone, coffee maker and alarm clock.
Cagayan de Oro
Tel. Nos.: (088)856-2505; (08822)726-080
How to Get to Cagayan de Oro
Manila to Cagayan de Oro and Back: The fastest way to get to Cagayan de Oro from Manila is by plane. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines have daily flights to Cagayan de Oro. The cost of a round trip plane ticket is about P8,000.00 and travel time is approximately one hour and twenty minutes. If you choose to travel by sea you can board a ferry in Manila bound for Cagayan de Oro at a travel time of approximately 30 hours. A round trip tourist ticket will cost you about is about P3,400.00.
Cebu to Cagayan de Oro and Back: If you are in a hurry, hop on an Asian Spirit flight bound for Cagayan de Oro. A round trip plane fare will cost you about P5,000.00 and travel time is approximately 45 minutes. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to travel aboard the Super Ferry which regularly leaves Cebu bound for Cagayan de Oro. A round trip boat fare is about P1,600.00 and travel time is approximately 16 hours.
Dumaguete to Cagayan de Oro and Back: Board the Oceanjet fast craft that leaves Dumaguete at 2:20 PM bound for Cebu via Tagbilaran. A round trip boat fare would cost you P1,600.00 and travel time is approximately 4 hours. Upon reaching Cebu, you can either fly or sail to Cagayan de Oro depending on your budget and time.