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8 Fun Things to Do in Cagayan de Oro

by Marionne Mancol

Whether it’s rural, scenic nature or urbanized, first-class progress, Cagayan de Oro has the best of both worlds.

With the moniker “City of Golden Friendship,” you can expect to meet warm and friendly locals while on a quest to discover CDO’s many hidden gems when it comes to the arts, culinary, shopping, and adventure. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for a little bit of everything awesome—in fact, it’s so awesome we compiled it into a list! Dive into these fun, memorable activities in Misamis Oriental’s beautiful capital.

1. Immerse in Tradition at Malasag Eco-Tourism Village

INSTAGRAM: jayrvermug

This cultural village showcases the traditions of Mindanao’s indigenous tribes in a botanical garden setup. From tribal houses to sculptures that feature tribal crafts and practices, it’s a testament to the rich culture of the Ifugaos, Maranaos, Talaandigs, Higaonons, and Subanons. The pristine atmosphere is complemented by the views of Malasag Hills and Macabalan Bay. But like the city itself, the village is a seamless blend of something old and something new—they have amenities like the multi-purpose hall, swimming pool, playground, souvenir shop, orchidarium, native restaurant, overnight accommodation, and cottages. The place fosters a conducive environment for guests to learn about Northern Mindanao’s flora, fauna, ecotourism, and arts (they even perform a tribal show), and provides income to tribal groups.

Malasag Eco-Tourism Village and Gardens
Malasag Hills, Cagayan de Oro
(088) 855 6181

2. Brave the Waters of Cagayan River Rapids

INSTAGRAM: keemenerva

Cagayan River is the country’s longest and biggest river, so it’s not surprising that it meets everyone’s definition of excitement. White water rafting is definitely for extreme sports enthusiasts, but chill people exploring their wild side for the day can also try the beginner courses. If you want to bask in nature’s beauty away from dizzying whirlpools and angry waves, you can ride a kayak (a narrow watercraft which functions using a double-bladed paddle) or a round tube through the calmer side of the river. Either way, most hotels are in contact with touring companies, so be sure to check these out!

3. Find the Best Bargains at Divisoria Night Market

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At sundown on Fridays and Saturdays, Plaza Divisoria turns from the recreational Golden Friendship Park to a one-stop shop for bargain finds. Sprawling stalls selling ukay-ukay finds, accessories, and souvenirs attract tourists and locals alike, with food kiosks offering cheap meals, snacks, and barbecued goods. Plus, you have live music to fill the air with good vibes all throughout the evening.

4. Put Your Game Face on at Macahambus Adventure Park

INSTAGRAM: jangliverpepito

Adventure awaits a few minutes from the airport in this park that also holds a cave and a gorge. The cave, with the highway and Cagayan river on either end, was a strategic gateway in the wars of centuries past. The equally old, stalking trees in the park make for a fascinating exploration, especially when viewed from the Sky Bridge 150 feet above. If your adrenaline rush and feisty spirit beg for more, you can also try rappelling on the way down or slide for your life along the 120-meter zipline. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely one for the books.

Macahambus Adventure Park
Barangay Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro
(088) 310 8226

5. Stroll through History in Museo de Oro

INSTAGRAM: meangelwings

History is more than just about the dead and gone in this museum located in Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan). As the Philippines’ first folkloric museum, Museo de Oro has folklore depictions that showcase the people’s vibrant culture and brilliant imagination. The traditions of Lumad communities, such as intricate jewelry, weapons, musical instruments, ornaments, and textiles, are highlighted in the Ethnology of Mindanao room. It also features artworks, remains, and artifacts from the late Iron Age to the Declaration of Independence.

Museo de Oro
Xavier University, Corrales Ave., Cagayan de Oro
(08822) 723166

6. Go on an Epic Food Trip

INSTAGRAM: gorgermz

CDO is sure to satisfy anyone’s taste buds with its variety of delicious goods. Among the famous delicacies are roasted cashew nuts, pastel (custard-filled buns), and binaki (grated corn combined with sugar, powdered milk, water, and baking powder). Jamon de Cagayan (naturally smoked and salt-cured ham) and sinuglaw, a mix of sinugba (grilled pork) and kinilaw (raw cubed fish), are CDO’s signature dishes you won’t want to miss. For your lechon cravings, head to Poldo’s Lechon Restaurant and try their crispy lechon or lechon paksiw (pork stew cooked in vinegar and garlic). The milk tea craze has also been thriving in the area, and you can find its center in Chingkeetea, a rustic-designed place where you can sit back and relax with friends while drinking authentic Taiwanese tea.

Poldo’s Lechon Restaurant
Vamenta Blvd, Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro
(088) 858 7349

Chingkeetea
Pabayo Street, Cagayan de Oro

7. Try Paragliding at Hugo Skye Lounge

INSTAGRAM: nicegal17

Feel like defying gravity? Paragliding is your next best bet. Strapped on a harness, fabric wings will enable you to fly and literally see the view of the city and Macajalar bay from the sky. Paragliding in CDO takes off at Hugo Skye Lounge and will set you back by ₱3,000, but you can check this off your bucket list without worries because a professional paraglider will drive the parasail with you. If you crash from the adrenaline after, have a congratulatory drink (or seven) at the hilltop restobar overlooking the city.

Hugo Skye Lounge
Brgy. Indahag, Cagayan de Oro 0926 968 2988

8. Wander to Neighboring Wonders

INSTAGRAM: anarkinanikola

A lot of municipalities and provinces in Northern Mindanao, such as Camiguin and Iligan City, are accessible from CDO. Half an hour away is Bukidnon’s Del Monte Pineapple Farm where Camp Phillips’ American-style houses, a giant pineapple, and an endless display of pineapples make for a picture-perfect background. You can extend your road trip to Bukidnon’s Dahilayan Adventure Park to experience Asia’s longest dual zipline. Thrill-seekers would surely feel butterflies upon seeing their plethora of activities, involving the likes of ATVs, rope courses, and drop zones. #YOLO

Del Monte Pineapple Farm
Camp Phillips, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
(088) 855 4312

Dahilayan Adventure Park
Brgy. Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
0917 622 3204

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About Marionne
Marionne Dominique Uy Mancol is a filmmaker and freelance writer from Samar. She graduated cum laude from Ateneo de Manila where she studied AB Communication on full scholarship and won Best Thesis for their campaign on women’s empowerment against sexual harassment. Her heart smiles for Jesus, her family and friends, chicken wings, dancing, traveling, and coming home.

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