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 kicker – nobody 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: