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Cagayan de Oro: The City of Golden Friendship

Cagayan de Oro (abbreviated C.D.O.) is one of the most important cities in Mindanao. It is the capital of the province of Misamis Oriental, Philippines, and the regional center for Northern Mindanao (Region X). The city has many names. It is called the Gateway to Northern Mindanao, the City of White Water Rafting and River Trekking. But most of all, it is through its warm and hospitable people that the city got its name as "The City of Golden Friendship."

by Jhaypee Guia on August 04, 2012
Cagayan de Oro: The  City of Golden Friendship

The Heritage Monument of Misamis Oriental Capitol building in Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro (abbreviated C.D.O.) is one of the most important cities in Mindanao. It is the capital of the province of Misamis Oriental, Philippines, and the regional center for Northern Mindanao (Region X). According to the 2000 census, it has an estimated population of 461,877 people in 200,000 households.

The city has many names.  It is called the Gateway to Northern Mindanao, the City of White Water Rafting and River Trekking. But most of all, it is through its warm and hospitable people that the city got its name as "The City of Golden Friendship."

Cagayan de Oro is base to multinational companies such as Del Monte Philippines (formerly Philippine Packing Corporation). It has been operating in Cagayan de Oro since the 1930s. Pineapples in nearby Bukidnon Province are transported to their processing plant in Barangay Bugo and shipped to the entire Philippines, Asia and the Pacific.

The Cagayan de Oro City is the center of education in Northern Mindanao. The city is the site of large state-run educational institutions and universities.



It is located at 8°29′N 124°39′E, in Mindanao. It is bordered by the province of Bukidnon to the east and south and by the municipality of Manticao, Misamis Oriental to the west. On the north lies Macajalar Bay in the Bohol Sea. The Cagayan River divides the city in the middle. The river is crossed by four bridges in the city. The city is surrounded by municipalities. The city is located in the province of Misamis Oriental and Region X. The city is outside the typhoon belt, but it is affected by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. The city is bordered by Opol, Tagoloan, and Bukidnon.



Whitewater rafting has been one of the tourism activities being promoted in the Cagayan de Oro River. The city government and the Department of Tourism have declared it as the banner tourism activity in Cagayan de Oro. This rafting craze just attracts tourists and extremists; paving Cagayan de Oro its way as a chief component to add up to the growing tourism in the Philippines.

Tourist Attractions

Gaston Park - named after the first Mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Segundo Gaston; located near the Saint Augustine Cathedral and Archbishop’s Palace, this park was the center of town when Pueblo de Cagayan was first erected in 1624. This plaza served as the training ground for the local revolutionaries who were preparing for the Phil-American War in 1900.

Museo de Oro and Xavier University - Located on Corrales Avenue; exhibits a repertoire of Bukidnon and Maranao cultures that have survived the ravages of time.

Golden Friendship Park - Stretches along the city’s commercial district featuring the monuments of national heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and Ramon Magsaysay. Underneath the Bonifacio monument are the bones of patriots who perished in the Battle of Agusan against the Americans on May 14, 1900. The City Bandstand serves as a venue for community affairs.

Catanico Falls - located about 10 kilometers away from the city, the falls drop into a swimming pool where bathers could dive from where the water descends; concealed by huge boulders and covered with ferns and moss.

Seminary Hill - Located in the southeastern portion of the city is the San Jose Seminary, the training center for aspiring priests; also the site of the Carmelite Nunnery housing the Miraculous Infant Jesus.

Pelaez Sports Center - along A. Velez St., offers sports facilities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool; site of the first Palarong Pambansa outside Metro Manila in 1975.

Malasag Nature Trail “Panoramic Scenery” - 10 minutes drive from Cagayan de Oro to Malasag Reforestration Area. One has to negotiate the existing asphalt road of about 3 kilometers from the highway up to the 300 year Balete Tree landmark near the Mahoganao Reservoir. Along this route, one can already have a panoramic view of the Betania Retreat House; the sitio of Malasag and the City of Cagayan de Oro. This trip can be accomplished in one day.

Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village - situated in Sitio Malasag, Cugman; a rolling terrain in the slopes of reforestation area 20 minutes from the city center. A cultural village in a botanical garden setting, it showcases the tribal practices & crafts of the Mindanao tribes. The village also serves as the learning center for ecotourism, ethnic arts, flora and fauna endemic to Northern Mindanao while at the same time generating revenue and livelihood for the tribal groups. The village has a souvenir shop of ethnic products; ; tribal houses of the Talaandigs, Higao-non, Subanon, Maranaos and Ifugaos. It also features rows of cozy guest cottages; campground, swimming pool , picnic shed, orchidarium, mini garden, restaurant, butterfly garden, multi purpose hall. It offers the view of Macabalan Bay and hills of Malasag. 

Bulua Stoneware - located at Barangay Bulua; handcrafted home and office decors, household wares and giftables are available for local sale and export.

Palalan Waterfalls - situated some 7.0 kilometers from Sitio Palalan, a barangay of Tablon. It is surrounded by boulders and stones dubbed by the city as Oro stone similar in characteristics with the Mangima Stone. It has 3 steps of falls at approximately 50 meters apart with the upper portion, the source, as the biggest of the three.

Migtugsok Falls - Migtugsok, a sitio of Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City is a place that could be reached via Barangay Indahag. It is accessible by car via Indahag to Kamakawan where one has to walk for 45 minutes along a winding, descending sloping trek of an estimated distance of 400 feet, passing along the converging shallow river of Bigaan and Migtugsok. The river convergence is more or less 20 meters in width. Another 30-minute trek is made before reaching the falls using the river. The falls is composed of five beautiful cascading waters, where the beauty of nature could still be experienced, unexploited by the carelessness of human search for progress and development.

Monigue Cave - located in Barangay Mambuaya, the cave entrance has flowing water from an underground stream. The cave has a small opening that looks too narrow to be passable: it has a six inches airspace between ceiling and water that one has to submerge one by one at a time, equipped with a helmet and a waterproof cap lamp. The cave contains beautiful sparkling formations which are called the calcium carbonate, or calcites. These stalactites and stalagmites, white and brown, are signs of oxidized materials that take 50-60 years to form an inch. The cave is definitely spellbinding. There are formations of flowstones, gurpool-resembling rice terraces, transparent crystals and picturesque speleothems, such as cathedral drapes and icons. Everything is simply beautiful and awesome.

Macahambus Hill Cave and Gorge - was the site of the famous Battle of Macahambus Hill which took place on June 4, 1900, the first Filipino victory against the Americans. The cave itself is a picturesque spot. Today, its short cavern leads to a veranda that overlooks the meandering Cagayan River below. 200 meters away is the Macahambus Gorge. This was actually the steep precipice where the enemy forces fell to their deaths. Today, a flight of over a hundred steps leads one down to the floor of the gorge where there is an underground river that comes out from one cave to another cave . The cave is covered with lush tropical forest growth.

Huluga Cave - On the south end of the city, about eight kilometers south, is Huluga Cave. Composed of two main caverns, it is situated on the eastern side of Cagayan River, along the brow of a vertical limestone cliff. The Skeletal fragments from these caves were found to belong to a child and a woman who inhabited Cagayan 1,600 years B.C. This was based on the acid racemization done by Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California.


List of Beaches

  • ACUÑA BEACH - Located at Baloy, Cag. de Oro City
  • BALOY BEACH - Located at Baloy, Cag. de Oro City
  • BONBON BEACH  - Located at Bonbon, Cag. de Oro City
  • WHITE BEACH - Located at Bayabas, Cag. de Oro City
  • RAAGAS BEACH - Located at Bonbon, Cag. de Oro City
  • CHALI BEACH - Located at Cugman, Cag. de Oro City
  • COCO BAY - Located at Baloy, Cag. de Oro City

What to Do

  • Whitewater Rafting 14 rapids along the Cagayan de Oro River. The rainy months of September and October are good for intermediate and professional levels (rapids range from class 3 to 4). The rest of the year, especially during the dry season, is good for novice or amateur rafters. Check the White Water Rafting portal.
  • Whitewater Kayaking it's more fun and intense. You'll love it from put-in to take-out.
  • Macahambus Adventure Park rappel and zip-line across trees a hundred feet above ground.
  • Mapawa Nature Park ideal for horseback riding, biking, zipline and nature trekking.
  • Cock-Fighting look for the arena along the National Highway in Gusa. The steep-walled concrete arena thunders with hundreds of shouting fans placing bets, as carefully bred and trained roosters in beautiful fighting form do what they're born to do. WARNING: seeing these magnificent and spirited creatures transformed into a limp piece of chicken by the flash of a steel blade may make you become a vegetarian. If not, the losing birds are for sale by the kilo and are rumored to have a distinctive flavor.
  • Movies the screens are huge, people walk in and out at all times, bring your own full meal to eat in the seat.
  • Videoke coin-operated video karaoke machines found in virtually every roadside bar in and around the city. Don't even come to the Philippines unless you know the words to at least one song you're willing to get up and sing like it's your one big shot at fame. The playlist is extensive (from Beatles to Nirvana with plenty of Bon Jovi and Gloria Gaynor in between) so no excuses.
  • Shop, as the shopping capital of the Northern Mindanao region. Just visit the city to shop and enjoy the mall facilities; with numerous of department stores, supermarkets, retail stores and modern public markets.

List of Accommodations

  • Hotel Koresco - Pueblo de Oro Golf Estates Airport Road, Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro
  • Pryce Plaza Hotel - Carmen Hill, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Chali Beach Resort - Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Coconut Bay Beach Resort - Baloy, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Country Village Hotel - Villarin Street , Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City
  • De Luxe Hotel - Capt. Vicente Roa St. , Cagayan de Oro
  • Demiren Hotel And Restaurants - Tiano-Kalambaguhan Sts., Cagayan de Oro City
  • Harbor Lights Hotel - Old Road, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Hotel Ramon - T. Neri – Burgos Street , Cagayan de Oro City
  • Hostel Mass-specc - Tiano-Pacana Sts., Cagayan de Oro City
  • Marco Hotel - Alwana Business Park , Cugman, Cagayan de Oro
  • Middleton Apartelle - Lirio Extension, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Philtown Hotel - A. Velez – Makahambus St. , Cagayan de Oro
  • Ridge View Chalets - Xavier Estates, Airport Road , Upper Balulang , Cagayan de Oro City
  • Southwinds Hotel - Capt. Vicente Roa Ext., Cagayan de Oro City
  • Vip Hotel - Velez cor. Pacana Sts., Cagayan de Oro City
  • Cagayan Parkview Hotel - T. Neri St. , Cagayan de Oro City
  • Bonair Inn - Osmena St. , Cagayan de Oro City
  • Ddd Habitat Pension House - Front of KSY Vamenta Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Cagayan River View Inn - Vamenta Boulevard , Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Goodnews Travellers Inn - Capt. Vicente Roa St. , Cagayan de Oro City
  • Red Palm Inn - Capistrano-Cruz Taal, Cagayan de Oro City
  • Vines Pension House - Fems Vines Building Cor. Yacapin Aguinaldo Sts. Cagayan de Oro City

Getting In

Cagayan de Oro is accessible by land, air and water transportation. In most cases you can expect a safe journey.

By plane

Lumbia Airport, often called Cagayan de Oro Airport, the airport serves flights from Cebu, Manila and Davao. Airline carriers such as Philippine Airlines, and Zest Airways and budget and regional carriers such as Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines.

By boat

Cagayan de Oro Port is a modern International seaport situated near the estuary of the Cagayan de Oro River, it has an anchorage depth of 18 meters and is around 400 meters from the shoreline. It serves regular boat trips to and from Manila, Cebu, Tagbilaran, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Iligan and Jagna, Bohol. The port has two authorized cargo-handling operators and is one of the busiest seaports in the Philippines.

  • Super Ferry
  • Cebu Ferries
  • Trans Asia
  • Negros Navigation
  • Sulpicio Lines
  • Gothong Lines

By bus

Cagayan de Oro is quite sufficient when it comes to land transportation. You can easily roam around the city by any means of land transport. There are three integrated bus and jeepney terminals, which offer regular land trips:

  • Agora Integrated Bus Terminal offers regular land trips to and from Gingoog, Bukidnon, Kabacan, North Cotabato, Butuan, Surigao (in the Caraga region), Davao, Tacurong and Balingoan (ferry going to Camiguin). Recently, the terminal is on a huge renovation.
  • Eastbound-Gusa Jeepney Terminal offers regular land trips to and from the eastern towns of Misamis Oriental, Camp Philips, Libona and Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon.
  • Westbound-Bulua Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal offers regular land trips to and from the western towns of the Misamis Oriental including Laguindingan and El Salvador, Iligan, Marawi, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Dipolog, Pagadian, Zamboanga and some parts of Western Mindanao.

From Davao, one bus every 30-60min, 7-10h duration depending on weather/traffic/road construction, multiples stop including lunch+diner break. The bus station is inside city market, few (mid/expensive) hotels nearby, jeepney to Pesoria for a town center.

Getting around

Bus, jeepneys, taxis, multi-cab and the motorela (similar to Thailand's tuk-tuk) are the main mode of land transportation within the city. White and yellow colored air-conditioned taxis with meters installed, and car rentals are also available. As a visitor DO NOT agree to a flat-rate taxi fare unless you want to pay triple the meter rate, insist on the meter only ("meter-plus 50" for an airport or late-night pick up). Motorellas are slow but you don't have to wait long for them to fill with passengers. They travel set routes, but will give you custom service for a negotiated price. Jeepneys are perfectly safe during the day and cost only a tenth of a taxi ride. If it doesn't take you where you meant to go, then you can take one to a large hub, where you can continue with another one. Try to find a full one, since an empty one will wait for more passengers.

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