Cagayan de Oro is best known for Whitewater Rafting and kayaking adventures. This first class and capital city in the province of Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao has been dubbed the “River Rafting Capital of the Philippines.” However, this adventure activity is best experienced if you’re staying a few days in the city. I tried this years ago during pre-blogging days when waterproof digital cameras were not yet that popular. For first-time visitors, this would be the major highlight of your visit to Cagayan de Oro.
But aside from whitewater rafting, what else is there to do if you only have a limited time to go around? Here are some things to do in Cagayan de Oro around the city that you can easily visit in a day.
Visit the Mapawa Nature Adventure Park
Located just 30 minutes from the city proper, Mapawa Nature Park is an adventure park that offers a range of activities. We visited briefly for a tree-planting activity, but I would love to go back to try the different activities you can do there including canyoning, river treks, horseback rides, and mountain biking trails.
One of the most visited attractions here is a trail hike that takes you to a 350-year-old Dao heritage tree. For those doing the river trek and canyoning, Mapawa has several waterfalls including one that’s two storeys high and acts as a natural slide, a six-storey-high waterfall that you have to rappel down, and a 25-foot-high cliff jump. This river trek costs P1,200 per person, with a minimum of five people per group. Lunch is included.
You can also try the forest zip line for P325 or go horseback riding for P200 an hour. The park also contains a bed and breakfast cabin where you can stay for P650 per head, minimum of five people in a group.
Mapawa Nature Adventure Park is located in Malasag, Cugman, 9000 Cagayan de Oro City. Tel. no: 0926-1773441. Website: http://www.mapawa.com/
Eat in Kagay-anon Restaurant
Kagay-anon Restaurant is said to be one of the best Filipino restaurants in the city, with several awards under its belt. The name of the restaurant means someone who is born or from Cagayan de Oro or Misamis Oriental. The restaurant has native interiors, is spacious and good for big groups. They have a pretty wide menu of typical Filipino favorites like sinigang, barbecue and sisig.
Our hosts ordered several Kagay-anon specialties including pinakbet served inside a whole pumpkin, Kagay-anon soup with huge clams, Kilawin, ostrich salpicao and crocodile sisig. They also serve ostrich cooked ala pobre, steak, tapa and tenderloin and crocodile salpicao and sisig. While the dishes are a bit pricey (P450 for ostrich dishes and P375 for crocs), those who are interested in trying exotic cuisine may still want to visit this homegrown restaurant.
Kagay-anon Restaurant is located in Limketkai Center, Rosario Cres, Cagayan de Oro, 9000 Misamis Oriental.
Visit the Museo de Oro
There are several museums around Cagayan de Oro, but one of the most well-curated is the Museo de Oro located inside Xavier University. The museum is composed of two main exhibit rooms focusing on The Ethnohistory of Northern Midnanao and The Ethnology of Mindanao.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 8am – 12nn, 1pm-5pm. Closed on Mondays. Open on holidays upon advance booking of group tour minimum of 10 pax. Admission: Regular rates – P70. XU Alumni & XU Graduate Students – P60. Students and Senior Citizens – P30.
Museo de Oro, Xavier Center for Culture and Arts. Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan. Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Tel No. 8583116 (2402). Facebook: XU – Museo de Oro
Ride a Motorela
The motorela is the main form of public transportation in Cagayan de Oro. The unique homegrown vehicle, which is also used in Camiguin and other areas of Mindanao, is the brainchild of Rafael D. Floirendo, Sr., a Filipino inventor who designed the vehicle in 1964 to give more space for passengers.
This local version of the tricycle has a jeepney-like cabin with two benches facing each other built around a single motorcycle giving space for 8-10 people. The name is said to come from the combination of “motorized” and “caretella”.
Buy unique souvenirs and local products
Coming from Camiguin, we passed by the town of Salay near the port on our way to Cagayan de Oro. Here, you can find Salay Handmade Products, a homegrown brand that is a key Fair Trader in the Philippines and an active world class player in handmade paper products and pressed flower designing. The company offers tours for people to see how the traditional paper is made and experience flower pressing firsthand.
One of their product lines that make good souvenirs are trendy and well-designed modern wallets branded Gutsy Fiber, which are made from strong, wear and tear resistant biodegradable handmade paper made from non-tree raw materials such as grass and fibers.
WHERE TO STAY IN CAGAYAN DE ORO:
Where to stay in CDO really depends on your budget and preference. There are various hotels, inns and pension houses around the city.
Strategically located just 200 meters from the Limketkai Mall and 45-minutes away from the Laguindingan International Airport., Limketkai Luxe Hotel is an ideal choice for leisure and business travelers. The hotel, said to be one of the biggest and highest hotel in Cagayan de Oro, features an infinity pool, restaurant and wellness center with sauna.