My stay in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) was brief, but it was enough for me to fall in love with the city. It’s one of the liveliest places I’ve been to in Mindanao. It’s busy, modern, and growing. Since we spent most of our time in Camiguin, we had only two days to spend in CDO, so we ventured into the best thing to do in the city: river rafting!
Cagayan de Oro, the capital of the Province of Misamis Oriental, serves as the regional center and business hub of Northern Mindanao, making it one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines and the melting pot of Mindanao because of its accessibility and continuous business growth.
Here is a travel guide for a quick visit to CDO, the river rafting capital of the Philippines!
Where to stay?
If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend New Dawn Pensionne House. We got a superior room good for three with extra bed for only P1700 or US$35 per night. This is a good place if you just need a place to rest. Our air-conditioned room has one single and one double bed, hot and cold shower, television, and free Wi-Fi access.
The location is at the city center near Centrio Malls, Robinsons, and Plaza Fair. It’s also close to fast food chains, restaurants, school, the hospital, and the city hall. If you need help on getting around the city or transportation, their front desk personnel are ready to help.
They also have an in-house restaurant, fitness center, and free parking. With its clean interiors, affordability, and perfect location, I have no doubt why it’s Tripadvisor’s number 1 B&B/inn in CDO. For discounted rates, please click on this link.
What to do?
The main reason why people visit CDO is to experience its world class whitewater adventure, which we almost missed. We arrived in CDO at around lunch time and immediately asked for assistance from the hotel’s front desk personnel in helping us arrange our tour. Unfortunately, the first company that we called said that their tour already started and they couldn’t accommodate us.
I felt frustrated since it was our last day in CDO and we no longer had time to do it the next day. Luckily, Great White Water Tours accommodated us. They told us, however, that they could no longer pick us up, so we took a taxi going to their office. We had to be there in 30 minutes.
Without eating lunch and coming straight from a long travel from Camiguin, we made it on time. We grabbed their Basic Course for only P1200 or US$24 that starts from Mambuaya to Cabula which takes 2-3 hours. It included roundtrip transfer from the hotel to the rafting area, 2 river rafting guides, gears and equipment. For inquiries you can call them at +63-917-706-0677
I honestly felt worried at first, because I didn’t have any idea on how extreme an adventure river rafting was. Yet, the company assured us that the entire tour was safe. What I loved more about the company was the service given by their guides. They are knowledgeable and really funny. There was no dull moment during the activity which made the trip more fun.
Why did we choose to do river rafting in Cagayan De Oro? I couldn’t think of any other place in the Philippines that has the same perfect reasons to do river rafting.
I thought that the entire stretch of the river would pump me up and make adrenaline rush through my veins, but I was wrong. Most of the time, the river was calm, which gave me the feeling that I was like traveling back in time wherein civilization didn’t touch the place.
Imagine, after moments of rafting, you will come to the point where everything is so quiet, peaceful and calm. It’s like I’m one with nature, surrounded by tall rocks and trees. There were times that we would just float and let the water move us. What a good way to unwind!
I want to go back to CDO and do river rafting before anything else. The river looks quiet, but the minute your raft sets into motion, you will be transported to an adventure you never imagine you will experience in the Philippines.
Where to eat?
I never tried any famous restaurant in CDO. We ate at a grilling restaurant near our hotel along Don Apolinar Velez Street. What food you shouldn’t miss in CDO? Sinuglaw. It’s a dish composed of grilled pork belly and fish ceviche. The name “sinuglaw” was derived from two famous cooking methods in Visayas and Mindanao: sugba, meaning to grill, and kinilaw, which means to cook by soaking in vinegar or citric acid. Just thinking about sinuglaw makes me miss CDO more.
You can also take a look at Tripadvisor’s Number 1 restaurant in CDO Circa 1850.
I can’t wait to visit Cagayan De Oro again, and feel the adrenaline rush of rafting on Cagayan River. I’m sure that there will be more adventures and exciting things to discover in the city and its neighboring provinces. Have you been to CDO? How was your experience?