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Date > 2013 > March
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Lucid Thoughts

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities Mar 19, 2013

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities

Location Google Map: Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Abundance without Abatement
As I continue my stay here in Cagayan de Oro (CDO), the abundance continues without abatement - it's almost bordering on surreal. When my 30-day stay at the posh Uptown Condotel was up, I didn't know where to go. Do I give up my grand ambition to develop a comprehensive online travel guide for the city and simply move on to Butuan? Before I could answer that, I received an invite to try out all the rides at Dahilayan Adventure Park and stay overnight at their Swiss-chalet-style Pinegrove Mountain Resort. Of course, I tried all the white-knuckle adrenaline rides - the blaze on the 840m zipline where I reached 90kph (according to the poster), and the hair-raising Dropzone where I swung like a pendulum from 120 feet up. But upon returning to CDO, the lingering question I now faced was, where do I go now? As a no-permanent-address person, this question hovers on top of my head like a shadow I can't run away from. But again, in an uncanny way, I received a text, "I hope it's not too late. Just got in touch with my sister and we'd be happy to welcome you as our guest at Hotel Conchita." Whoa! Is fate toying with me? Always, in the last dying seconds when all seems lost, the unseen hand that has been looking after my well-being comes to the rescue. Always!

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities
strutting along the market for some great durian deals

Onion Analogy
As if that's not good enough, while nicely tucked into my new home, I received another invite to partake of CDO's staple tourist offering - the wild white water river rafting through Great White Rapids. Whoa! Additionally, I'd been introduced by new acquaintances to their friends, and friends of friends. I'm taken to different parts of town where I discover great eating places and cool chillout digs in the city. CDO was becoming an onion, revealing something new about itself with every peeling layer.

Beyond Borders
While I'm in CDO, grace and abundance continue to come my way from places outside its borders. Clients from other parts of the country have opted to renew their subscriptions, and an overseas industrial diamond-cutting company commissioned me to redesign and develop their corporate website. From my global sites, to my local sites and now the full-on industrial website, I'm drowning in work. In local parlance, "jingle lang ang pahinga" (pee-ing is the only rest I get).

Very recently, I was invited by a client to attend the induction of new officers to CDO's hotel and restaurant organization, COHARA (Cagayan De Oro Hotel & Restaurant Association). Here's the background. As I travel the country, not connected to any powerful organization that can provide me an introduction to the establishment decision makers, I have no choice but to "pound the pavement" through email, phone calls and actual "knocking on doors". And as can be expected, since nothing distinguishes me from that of the common salesman, I get brushed-off like a common salesman - to which I am, a common salesman. I understand that part - business owners are inundated by everyone trying to sell them something. It's the job of the security guard, the receptionist and the secretaries to shield their bosses from folks like me. So back to the COHARA induction, I now find myself in a room full of people whose names I've seen a zillion times as I try to talk to their employees in arranging an appointment for me. And a zillion times, the doors slam shut in my face ("give us your number and we'll call you" - of course, the call never comes). Now, I see them all in one room, this time with faces to the names. I met with nearly all of them. I found them to be very natural within their elements, not unlike your next-door neighbor. I was amused that I somehow found myself in their presence - in my parlance, being at ground zero where the apostles gather. The last thing I wanted to do was talk business. I was just glad to be there and appreciate the added dimension mantled onto their names.

Region X Tourism Director
The highlight for me in that event was meeting the Region X Tourism Director. He delivered a keynote speech about the challenges facing tourism that resonated with me. In fact, he echoed the very same theme I touched on when I delivered a talk to a graduating batch of tourism graduates at the Don Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte. Fortunately, I got an audience with him shortly after his talk. I told him about my grand vision for the online travel directory I'm developing for CDO and the fact that it won't cost the city a centavo. He understood the parallelism we were both unto and scheduled a meeting shortly after the Holy Week together with other Department of Tourism stakeholders. I'm crossing my fingers that when I make my presentation, it will fall into open ears which can open doors for me to realize this ambitious project that's already underway.

Jilted by Davao
If things don't go my way, I tend to feel defeated as I move on to the next destination. This is how I feel about Davao. I can't seem to get over that painful episode. Despite my due diligence (an understatement for banging on a city wall that couldn't be breached), nothing came out of it notwithstanding the looming possibilities and the promising horizon that lay ahead. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but even though I left with a heavy heart, I didn't really lose anything. Why? Because there is always a next destination for me to start all over again - that's what I do. But Davao lost in the process. Why? Very few people can do what I do on the web. Of those who can, very few again would have the machinery in place the way I have mine (vertically integrated websites launching an online marketing campaign through filtered information architecture and search engine optimization). And again of those, very few would provide that service without charging an arm and a leg. I offered my service to Davao for a song. Davao could have availed of my service in exchange for thin air, but it chose to turn its back. Every destination has its own rhythm and pace. It's not in my place to rock the boat no matter how noble my intentions are.

Partnership with Cagayan de Oro
I'm grateful that is not the case with CDO. CDO gave me a chance to be useful. It allowed me to make a difference. And I want to show my gratitude by pulling all the stops and bringing together an amalgamation of every lesson gleaned from all my travels in developing this online travel portal. Cagayan de Oro will be the perfect example of an online travel guide - comprehensive information (but clutter-free), search engine optimized, customized Google Mapping, credible online ratings, Facebook integration, email tracking system, high-rez picture gallery, etc.

Ending Thoughts

Something Shaping Up
Even though the abundance can be overwhelming given that I was in the red before all this, I see it simply as a staging point for the next progression. What exactly are they? I don't know. It's just a feeling. Already, I see diverse elements aligning themselves or converging for something sizeable to happen. As for me, I see my role here as a catalyst to facilitate whatever needs to happen. Maybe a conductor in a symphony is more like it. I myself am curious what all this movement is shaping up to be. I'm not willing to take ownership of the bounty that comes out of this. I mean, after realizing whatever this is, I would probably walk away from it and start something new from scratch again.

Karmic Process
Of course, it can be argued that the turn of events were nothing more than coincidence. Perhaps. But the uncanny timing and the frequency to which they happen resemble more of a repeating pattern than a random cast of the die. It can be argued again that credit really goes to the individual players who made it all happen. Of course! I cannot deny that. But as I transcend the obvious play-by-play, I begin to see how all these individual players are variables that begin to fit nicely into an elegant equation that fulfills what I would call a Karmic Process. I believe we are all a part of this process whether we realize this or not. Through our actions, we become party to life's ever-evolving balance sheet that perpetually checks and balances itself, in compliance with this karmic process. It's not pre-destination. It's not even about playing a zero-sum game. It's about life finding a way to manifest our desires through a myriad of participating variables in accordance with the natural order of things.

Letting Go
Given this abundance, I noticed one subtle thing - the more I let go and cease control, the more doors open up and the more things become productive. I'm a control freak. I want control on every single pixel on my websites and I try to wield control in just about everything I do - it's in my nature. I noticed that the more control I exercise, the more resistance I get. At the end of the day, I'm left with a performance that I would consider less than stellar. On many episodes during my stay here in CDO, I catch myself wanting to exercise control like I always do. I hold back deliberately, almost being benign and just watching things unfold as I continue to remain open to possibilities. My analogy? It's like dealing with water. No matter how much you control it, it will always find its own level and settle where it finds equilibrium. It's simply best to be in compliance to this natural process. If your heart is in the right place, things and events will find its own way of unraveling to manifest your desires, as it continues to do so for me in CDO.

High Gear on Borrowed Time
Before I arrived in CDO, I was drowning in red ink. Even though I'm now in the black, money was never my motivation - perhaps a measure of validation, but never the end goal. I still find bliss in my meager resources and I continue to turn my back on whatever guarantees life can offer. I'd rather take my chances on the open road with no safety net. To me, that's life. At some point, I will become restless again and bid Cagayan de Oro adieu. But while the going is shifting into high gear, I'll make the most out of this borrowed time to realize my vision for this city of golden opportunities.

Thank you Cagayan de Oro, and thank you to the individual players who made it all happen for me (I don't think they want to be named). I am profoundly grateful.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

Latest addition - later that night, I was invited to attend the Wedding Zone dinner event. I won the grand prize - free round trip ticket to any local destination! Cagayan de Oro is now beyond belief for me. This is already surreal...and I love it!!!

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Reader Comments:

Claire MadarangClaire Philippines
(Mar 21, 2013) Insightful entry - as always, Gigit. Metta to your big CDO project!

Marissa Monsanto FalvoMarissa Philippines
(Mar 21, 2013) Your article about CDO made me smile --- I wonder what your next destination will be. Thank you for promoting Karera Lakas Pilipinas in your wonderful site!

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About Cagayan de Oro

City of CDO About Cagayan de Oro:

Cagayan de Oro, fondly referred to as "City Of Golden Friendship" is the northern gateway to the rest of Mindanao. Because of its stable peace and order situation, commerce is bustling fueled by local and foreign investments.

Cagayan de Oro in a nutshell

  1. Economy - business hub of Northern Mindanao region with its economy largely based on industry, commerce, trade, services and tourism
  2. Climate - no typhoons all year round, tropical climate with an average temperature whole year round of 280C (820F)
  3. Tourist attractions - white water rafting and river trekking, Monigue Cave, Malasag Eco-tourism Village, Macahambus Adventure Park, F.s. Catanico Falls, McArthur Park, Xavier Museum
  4. Land area - 488 square kilometers
  5. Geography - located in northern Mindanao, along a narrow coastal plain with its south flanked by the plateaus and mountains of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.
  6. Religion - 87% of the population are Roman Catholic
  7. Education - it is home to 3 private universities, Capitol University, Liceo de Cagayan University and Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan and considered the educational capital of the region
  8. Language - the main language is Cebuano with English used primarily for business and in the academe. Tagalog is also spoken.
  9. Shopping - Night Cafe And Market, Limketkai Mall Center, SM City, Robinsons, Gaisano City Mall, Market City, Centrio Ayala Mall and (soon to open) Paseo Mall
  10. Population - 621,000 in 2010
  11. Transportation - one can easily roam around the city by any means of land transportation
  12. Medical Facilities - there are eight major well-equipped private and government-run hospitals

Google Map of Cagayan de Oro

Google Map Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

How to get to Cagayan de Oro

how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Air

Cagayan de Oro is major destination in the Philippines and all major airline companies have flights to Cagayan de Oro. CDO arrival is at Lumbia Airport. To get to the city, you can ride a cab (~P300) or take a Carmen-bound jeep (30 mins, P17)

  1. PAL Express - has flights to CDO coming from Manila and Davao
  2. Cebu Pacific - has flights to CDO coming from Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and Zamboanga
  3. Philippine Airlines - has flights to CDO coming from Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao
  4. TIP: unlike GenSan or Busuanga where you are forced to take a cab or van from the airport, in CDO, you can just walk out of the airport and cross the street and flag down a jeep that will take you straight to downtown CDO, to Cogon Market or Carmen. 45 mins (because they stay long on nearly every major stop, waiting for more passengers), less than P20.
how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Land
  • Philtranco - Manila (Pasay) to Cagayan de Oro, 42 hours, non-aircon, departs Manila 10:30am daily
  • Bus - from Malaybalay, P375, aircon 6.5 hours (some road repair)
how to get to Cagayan de Oro How to Get to Cagayan de Oro by Sea
  • Super Ferry 2Go Travel - Manila to CDO, 33 hours

      Accommodation and Rates (as of Mar 2013)

    • Mega Value Class - Php 1500
    • Tourist Class - Php 1350
    • Stateroom for 2 - Php 2400
    • Manila to CDO schedule

  • Negros Navigation - Manila to CDO, 33 hours, Manila (02)554.8777, CDO (088) 856.9114

      Accommodation (as of Mar 2013)

    • Suite Room Accommodation
    • Admiral Cabin Accommodation
    • Business Class Accommodation
    • Tourist Class Accommodation
    • Tatami Economy Class Accommodation
    • Budget Class Accommodation

      Schedule of St. Micheal the Archangel (as of Mar 2013)

    • depart Manila Mondays at 3:00 p.m. - arrive Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday 4:30 a.m.
    • depart Manila Thursdays at 11:59 p.m. - arrive Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday 9:00 a.m.

  • Sulpicio Lines - Manila to CDO, 33 hours

Cagayan de Oro Blogs


  • Cagayan de Oro: Passing Through Aug 13/20, 2023
  • 2013

  • Goodbye Cagayan de Oro Jan 31 - May 5, 2013
  • Summer Peace Festival 2013 at Cagayan de Oro Apr 26-28, 2013
  • Abundance and Letting Go Apr 5, 2013
  • Cagayan de Oro's Street Masseuse March 24, 2013
  • Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities Mar 19, 2013
  • River Rafting along Cagayan de Oro River Mar 7, 2013
  • Abundance in Cagayan de Oro Feb 10, 2013
  • 2009

  • Exploring Cagayan de Oro Mar 7-9, 2009

  • Brief History
    1. 1622 - the Spaniards set foot on Cagayan de Oro initiating the start of Spanish colonization in the area. This started a war with the Moros who didn't appreciate the locals siding with the Spanish priests
    2. 1739 - moro raids menaced the population of "Little Cagayan" prompting the construction of a fort, Fuerza Real de San Jose
    3. 1870 - Cagayan de Oro, now the capital of Misamis Province, experiences its golden age of arts and literature
    4. 1898 - the 333 years of Spanish rule came to an end giving the Cagayanons a brief taste of independence
    5. 1900 - the Americans arrived and occupied the city thru military might
    6. 1942 - with WWII in full swing, the occupying Americans surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army
    7. 1945 - the Americans regain control of Cagayan and the region. WWII ended soon thereafter, with the surrender of the Japanese
    8. 2011 - Typhoon Sendong sends torrential flood waters from the mountains into the city wreaking havoc and killing hundreds as the Cagayan de Oro river overflowed. The people demonstrated resilience and tenacity with their rebuilding efforts

    Cagayan de Oro Attractions

    travel tip to Cagayan de Oro Not to be Missed in CDO:

    1. Divisoria - visit CDO on a Friday or Saturday and eat varied BBQ offerings at the famous Night Cafe in Divisoria. It's also great for shopping and getting an outdoor massage (full body massage P100)
    2. River Rafting - see selection below
    3. Dahilayan Adventure Park Dahilayan Adventure Park - 840m zipline, Dropzone (pendulum swing from 120 feet), pedal-ride on a forest canopy, team-building rope course and mountain lodge (read Blog)
    hotels Cagayan de Oro Hotels/Hostels/Pension/Inns/Lodging:
    • Uptown Condotel Uptown Condotel - Cagayan de Oro's first and only luxury condotel, fully furnished, near SM
    • Hotel Conchita Hotel Conchita - central location in Cagayan de Oro, near Ayala Mall, Limketkai Mall and Divisoria
    • De Luxe Hotel De Luxe Hotel - centrally located and short walk from Centrio Ayala Mall, Limketkai Mall and Divisoria
    cagayan de oro outdoor_activities Cagayan de Oro Outdoor Activities:
    • Dahilayan Adventure Park Dahilayan Adventure Park - experience Asia's longest dual zipline and warp-speed to 90kph
    • Sumalsag Cave - technical caving requiring a submerged dive to exit the cave. Sumilao, Bukidnon
    • Sprint Multisport Shop - Corrales corner Ramon Chavez St., 9000 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
    • Jatico Adventures - zipline, big swing, bungee tramp, zorb, boot camp, Sitio Mahayahay, Bayanga
    • Macahambus Adventure Park - rafting, zipline, rappeling, skybridge, caves, Barangay Bayanga
    cagayan de oro spa Cagayan de Oro Spa:
    • Iaso Spa Iaso Spa - Uptown CDO's refuge for body scrubs, soothing massage, sauna and jacuzzi treat
    • 3K Thai - Capistrano St., 714.918
    • Body Touch - Rosario Strip 856.1519 and Robinsons Mall, Limketkai, 856.3127
    • Fai Thai - Velez St., 714.528
    • La Cabana - CM Recto Ave., 856.4168
    • Nuat Thai - Papa Juanitos Square, Florentino St., 857.5877
    • Palm Day - San Agustin St., 857.2862
    • Red Fern - Velez-Chaves St., 852.1855
    • Sentara - Limketkai Drive, 856.8870
    White Water Rafting in CDO Cagayan de Oro White Water River Rafting Tours:
    • Cagayan de Oro river rafting Great White Rafting Tours - discover pure adrenaline with our professional guides (read Blog)
    • Bugsay Whitewater Rafting - San Agustin - Velez
    • Eco Extreme Rafting Adventure
    • Golden Friendship White Water Rafting
    • Rafting Adventure Philippines - #86 Jongko Bldg. Arch. Hayes Street, CDO
    • Kagay Whitewater Rafting - #21 Pres. Aguinaldo St., Cagayan de Oro City
    • Pinoy Whitewater Tubing - by De Oro Mountain Explorers (DOME)
    beaches in CDO Beaches and Beach Resorts in Cagayan de Oro:
    • Chali Beach Resort - Cugman CDO, GPS Waypoint: N 08 28.334 E 124 42.097, from Xavier University, take RD jeep and ask to be dropped-off at Chali Beach, P13, 30 mins. P100 consumable. Not for beach-swimming, pool (P100 extra), relaxing sea breeze, good food in resto, (the old domain, does not work anymore)
    • Roan Beach Resort - Taboc, Opol, Misamis Oriental, P100 open cottage, P300 big cottage, no entrance fee
    • Apple Tree Resort & Hotel - Brgy. Taboc, Cagayan de Oro (formerly : Lauremar Beach Resort)
    • Yasay Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • Marvilla Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • San Pedro Beach Resort - Opol, Misamis Oriental, consumable entrance fee, 45 mins from CDO proper, P40, beach hut P200
    • Duka Bay Resort - Medina, Misamis Oriental, shaded by ancestral trees, 7 villas
    • Lyka's Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Misamis Oriental
    • Acuna Beach - Baloy, Cagayan de Oro
    • Bonbon Beach - Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro
    • White Beach - white sand
    • Baagas Beach - Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro
    heritage sites, landmarks, attractions Attractions:
    • St. Agustine Cathedral and Garden - destroyed several times by fire and bombing, fully rebuilt
    • Cagayan de Oro City Museum - located at the converted Water Tower
    • Gaston Park - gathering place by locals for social interaction
    • Divisoria - popular during Friday and Saturday nights for its Night Cafe alfresco bbq
    • Golden Friendship Park - located along the Divisoria stretch
    • Macahambus Cave, Hill and Gorge - great outdoor trekking and caving, free
    • River Taxi Cruise - starts at Liceo Cagayan University going downstream to the Cagayan de Oro river mouth
    Cagayan de Oro Malls Malls:
    • Ayala Centrio - newest mall to open in CDO; 4 cinemas, C.M Recto Avenue and Corrales Street
    • Gaisano Mall - 6 branches, main mall located in CM Recto Ave., affordable shopping
    • Limketkai Center - 4 cinemas (1 is under renovation), 66,000 square meters of store space
    • SM Cagayan de Oro - 4 cinemas, shopping, restaurants, grocery, etc., located Uptown
    map of CDO Location of Participating Establishments

    link Essential Links:

    CDO >> Davao City by bus

    CDO has 2 bus stations - West Terminal Bulua and East Terminal Agora. For Davao, you have to take a jeep going to Agora.

    1. CDO West Terminal (Bulua) - if you came from Iligan, you would be getting off at trhe Bulua West Terminal. Take a jeep to East Terminal (Agora Terminal), 20 mins, PHP 20
    2. CDO East Terminal (Agora) - take bus going to Davao City, 8 hours, PHP 875. This terminal is open 24 hours and there is always a bus going to Davao - no need to pre-purchase tickets
    3. Davao Bus Terminal - you'll arrive at the Davao Bus Terminal, close to SM City. From there you can take a cab ride to your hotel. There are many jeeps that will also take you to the Poblacion town center, 15 mins, PHP 12

    CDO >> Iligan by bus

    CDO has 2 bus stations - West Terminal Bulua and East Terminal Agora. For Iligan, you have to take a jeep going to Bulua West Terminal.

    1. CDO East Bus Terminal (Agora) - 24 hours, if you came from Davao, you'll be disembarking at the Agora East Terminal. Take a jeep going to West Bus Terminal (Bulua), 30 mins, PHP 20.
    2. CDO West Terminal (Bulua) - 24 hours, take a bus going to Iligan. Many buses going west (Pagadian, Zamboanga, Plaridel, etc.) will pass by Iligan - just ask the bus conductor. 2 hours (1.5 hours night trip), PHP 200 (SC P160). You will get off at the Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal in Iligan
    3. Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal - from the terminal, take a jeep to City Proper and it will pass by the Iligan Port, 30 mins, 15 PHP (if you intend to take a boat out of Iligan)

    CDO >> Lazi, Siquijor by boat

    Cagayan de Oro to Lazi, Siquijor route by Kho Shipping was just opened up in early September 2023. Before, going to Lazi from Davao meant going to Iligan after CDO, adding 3 hours on the trip. Now, Iligan can be completely bypassed.

    1. CDO Port - take Kho Shipping to Lazi, W-F-Sun, 6 hours, CDO departure 5 pm, arrival in Lazi Port 11 pm, economy Pxxxx, tourist Pxxxxxx.

    2. Cagayan de Oro to Lazi

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