Sunday, April 22, 2007

ROAD TO CLOUD 9: Cagayan de Oro City

The city. The road rage. The people. White Water Rafting. The Koreans. The jeepney ride. Marlboro. And everything in between.

This is my third day in this city and I feel like I’m inside a plastic bubble like that dude in the movie “Bubble Boy”. "Basta", it's hard to explain. I’ve been around the city on my own because my buddies preferred to stay in the hotel and play PS2 they brought along. This is what I have seen…

An update on my map first.

The City.Cagayan de Oro as what they cleverly promoted; is called “The City of Golden Friendship”. You’ll find this slogan all over the place and all over the net. It’s a relatively small city but it’s definitely larger and busier than Vientiane; Laos’ capital city. Cagayan de Oro is bustling! Lots of people, lots of shops and lots of traffic. Yes, road traffic! This apparently, is a premier city in Mindanao Island next only to Davao.

The Road Rage. I wanted to hire a car and drive myself around....but its not that easy. Mallberry Suites (the hotel we're stayin at 3,000 pesos a night - US$62/2,000 Baht/RM200 Tel. No. +63 88 854 7999) is conveniently located in a complex with Limketkai Mall, so its quite easy to go around on foot . Anyways, I wanted to drive BUT they do it here on the right side of the road! Left-Hand driving is still the rule in the Philippines -- a left over of American influence. And here’s the kickernobody wears seatbelts and some jeepney drives without any lights on at night!!! And add the big trucks tugging huge logs without any tail lights at all! What are they thinking? I’ve seen a LOT of improvised wooden crosses supported by rocks on the roadside. I asked a local what it is and she said that it means somebody died on the exact spot! Whaaaaaa????!!! Vehicular accidents and all? When are they gonna learn? Uncool.

The People. Is their friendship really golden? I should say “kinda”. The "Politician" offered us an escorted ride to Siargao when a local yuppie learned what we are up to; it turned out that he’s the Politician’s nephew or something. Why do we have to be escorted? We gracefully declined.

And why are there so many Koreans here? We met a lot of young Koreans studying in Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier University) and their families are here too! I also met 2 Thai women who married Filipinos and they have a little shop called Little Bangkok down Velez St. It's a good feeling to meet fellow Thais abroad. Sweet. *me all smiles*

People here likes to stare. Well, just like anywhere in the region anyway so, no big deal about it. I kinda like to be stared at anyway and I'm loving it. Take that! So if you don't like people staring, that's your problem! LOL. People here speaks a language different from the Filipino that we know. They speak “Bisaya” as I was told by a very friendly beggar. Yes, a beggar and he speaks English! What d’you know? Well, I wanted to practice my Filipino with him but he spoke to me in English to my amazement! That’s awesome! I gave him money and a hamburger.

White Water Rafting. This is the main tourist “come on” of Cagayan de Oro City. To Morgan’s insistence, we HAVE TO try it out. Ok, fine! Get off me!

Early in the morning we booked a trip to this rafting adventure whatever. A local guide met us downtown, herded the six of us into a really huge jeepney with rubber boats piled neatly on top -- then off we go!

The jeepney jockey must’ve sensed that it’s a first time for some of us; he tried to impress us with his driving skills which include a lot of honking to any car blocking his way! The trip was hilarious –and hair raising! Farah, with her huge Christian Dior sunglasses and all lost all her finesse trying to braze herself. Our hands were all blistered holding on tight to any metal attached to the vehicle! It was a ride of a lifetime – and it will never happen again. Period. There. Take that! No more jeepney for me!

We paid 900 Pesos for each (US$ 19/600 Baht/RM 60) to throw ourselves into rocky, ravaging water and try paddling ourselves to safety while pretending to enjoy it. That's the main point of it really. The guide gave us the prerequisite orientation, precautions, tips and some scary tales to add to the excitement. He was so convincing we decided NOT to do it at all. We all ended up sunbathing on the riverbank. LOL.

Cigarettes that kills. Now here…this is amazing. See this Marlboro? You know how much it cost here? – fucken 70 cents U.S.!!! (23 Baht/RM 2.30). Now that’s amazing with all the huge government warning and all. And did you know that you can also buy cigarettes here by the stick? That’s cool. Amazing, really amazing. We are all having the smoke of our lives except Tommy, who prefers to smoke Dunhill. *whatever*

And Michael (not his real name), the Fil-American model who came with us from Manila, as it turned out; is a famous face! Cagayan crowd calls out his name! And I hate him stealing most of the attention. He should go back to Manila soon!

The Night Bazaar in Divisoria attracts thousands of people every Friday and Saturday nights. Open air market, live bands, lots of people to meet! The market is mostly 2nd hand clothes and shoes, pirated CDs (I suppose from Malaysia), and lotsa food, food, food! It was a good chance to try local food, grilled and all, but we opted to try their local McDonalds instead!Woohoo!


I’m falling in love again with the Philippines. Eight years ago, I have to leave this country and I regret having left at all. But now I’m here again. And I’ll make most of my stay here on my way to paradise – Siargao Island.

Tomorrow is volcano day!

If you want more info and visit Cagayan de Oro City visit this:


Hiroki said...

If I can, I will fly to where you are and join. If you wait for me bud. :-)

Sofia said...

It's great I did not come with you guys! I'm partying here in KL. I'll cach you all in Langkawi. Mwah! <3

Ea said...

wait til you get to Manila, it's like Koreanville all over.. lol!


Lots of Koreans here in Boracay as well. It's a Korean invasion. Lol.

Riki The Dark said...

"The guide gave us the prerequisite orientation, precautions, tips and some scary tales to add to the excitement. He was so convincing we decided NOT to do it at all. We all ended up sunbathing on the riverbank. LOL."

***Giggle*** I wonder if the guide kept his job after that. White water rafting sounds fun, wish I could do something adventurous this summer but been busy lately (sux to have a day job).

Have a fun and safe trip, River!

CDO Guide said...

Glad you enjoyed your stay in Cagayan de Oro (CDO). Check my CDO tourist website at

Lea said...

i miss CDO! i grew up there. i only got to visit it every christmas break and yes, traffic all over!

you have to visit Bukidnon! highly recommended...from CDO, you can have a joy ride to Bukidnon in less than an hour or so. happy trip!

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Lea... thanks for the comment! You're cool. Yeah, CDO is quite something. I can say we enjoyed it there especially when we sponsored an orphanage over there. So the city would be close to our hearts.

Bukidnon? Maybe in the future. I got Spanish and Colombian friends working there (in a pineapple canning industry).

Anonymous said...

I hope you can drop by nearby Bukidnon next time! The capital city, Malaybalay City, is just an hour and a half away. If you like golf and good steaks, go to Del Monte (about 45 minutes away from CDO)

We hope you can come soon :)

Bukidnon Online

Geisha said...


sorry for the initial reaction.

i never thought your trivial observation of CDO would mean laughter to me. perhaps its just normal to all jeepney drivers to drive all the way to hell with their "hangin" attitude.

i miss CDO. their night cafe is awesome! i'm glad you didn't try the water rafting. the first time i tried it, i had bruise all over. and the stones sucks!

blumage said...

I've tried the river rafting and it only cost me P500! Also i stayed at the same hotel!! LOL. It wasn't really scarry except the fact that i fell in the river!!

cagayan de oro schools said...

Xavier University is one of the best schools in Mindanao, they have a very good teaching structure that values religion and respect for mankind in its core. I got my degree from there and they did a good job in preparing me to face the world.

rafting cagayan de oro said...

Well rafting is really one of the major attraction here in cagayan. thanks a lot for the good comment about your experience in rafting.

cagayan de oro map said...

I went to Cagayan de Oro last time and tried the water rafting. It was truly one of a kind experience. The people there especially the crews are very friendly.We will definitely try rafting again anytime soon.

Kriza Marie Ardon said...

Wow! I love your article, thanks for posting about Cagayan de oro City and some of the places. People who haven't experience yet with water rafting should try it. It is so fun and even scares me but it was a great experience though. Make sure they'll bring with there friends with them, so that it would be more fun.

Cagayan de oro Rafting

akiko said...

I miss Cagayan too. Well, talking about rafting. The best experience i have is in Cagayan. Try to visit and find how great the river they have.

Cagayan de Oro Rafting

Related Posts with Thumbnails