Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is one of the best tourist spots in Mindanao. It has lots to offer in terms of adventure activities, nature tripping, and cultural explorations. Moreoever, it’s also a gateway to nearby provinces such as Bukidnon, Iligan, and Camiguin. Here we’ve compiled the top things to do in CDO!
1. White water rafting
Most people would say that you haven’t really been to CDO if you haven’t tried white water rafting! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any prior experience with this activity. It’s ideal for beginners and professionals alike.
During white water rafting, you’ll have to navigate your way through the river, passing thru wild rapids. A guide in each raft will make sure that you enjoy the experience safely.
The river is only several minutes away from the airport. (As of 2019) A beginner course costs P700 per person, and an advance course costs P1000-2000 per person. It takes at least 3-4 hours for each course to finish, so you should allot a half-day for this activity. There are morning and afternoon schedules available.
[ Also Read: Top Outdoor Adventures in the Philippines ]
2. Go on a city tour
If you have a day to spare, you can visit some of the cultural sites and other tourist attractions in the city. These are:
- Gaston Park
- St Augustine Cathedral
- Vicente de Lara Park
- Plaza Divisoria (Golden Friendship Park)
- City Museum
- Museum of Three Cultures
- Museo de Oro in Ateneo de Cagayan’s Xavier Center for Culture and Arts
Of note, I highly recommend seeing the Museum for Three Cultures especially for history buffs. It has antiques and displays from the 3 dominant cultures in Northern Mindanao: Visayan Christians, Maranao Muslims, and Lumads.
Some of these attractions are walking distance from each other. For the rest, you can take a motorela (which is similar to the tuktuk in Thailand) or jeepney/tricycles.
3. Taste the local fruits
CDO enjoys a continuous arrival of fresh fruits from nearby farms. The prices here are cheaper compared to Manila. You can buy lansones, mangosteen, durian, and marang.
In my last trip to CDO, I finally get to taste marang! It was unexpectedly delicious and the smell isn’t as strong as a durian. Take note though that a lot of hotels and establishments don’t allow durian or marang inside their premises because the fruit smell tends to linger.
4. Try out local cuisine in Cogon Public Market
Cogon Public Market is the largest local market in CDO. It’s a one-stop shop for locals. Here you can also find halal and non-halal delicacies, as well as sikwate (tablea hot chocolate) and puto maya (sticky rice).
5. Explore a nature park
CDO is home to various nature parks where you can relax & commune with nature or do outdoor activities.
Here are the nature parks you can visit:
- Mapawa Nature Park
- Macahambus Adventure Park
- Malasag Eco-Tourism Village
- Catanico Falls
- Migtugsok Falls
- Monigue Cave
Of these, perhaps the most popular is the Mapawa Nature Park. This is a 2500-hectare forest reserve in the mountains of Malasag, just 30 minutes away from the city. Here you can enjoy gorgeous views, experience wildlife encounters, and do activities in the wild.
Some interesting activities you can do include trail biking to a 350-year-old Dao heritage tree, trekking, ziplining and rappeling down a 65-foot waterfall, and more.
6. Brave through Asia’s longest dual zipline
About 2 hours away from CDO likes Dahilayan Adventure Park. This park offers various types of challenging activities for friends and family.
Try out the Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline, a 840-meter zipline where you’ll pass through the breath-taking forested area of the park for almost a minute. If that’s easy enough for you, step up the game with the Dropzone where you’ll experience a 120-feet freefall ride into a man-made lak
Other activities here include the Skytower Base Jump, Canopy Glider, Python Roller Zipglide, and Ropes Course.
7. Go on a side trip to Camiguin, Bukidnon, or Iligan
As said above, CDO is considered a gateway to other provinces in Northern Mindanao. Some of these are only hours away and the most popular side tours to visit include Camiguin, Bukidnon, and Iligan.
For Camiguin, you can allot a day to see the best attractions in this province: White Island, Sunken Cemetery, Sto. Niño Cold Springs, Ardent Hot Springs, Katibawasan Falls, Taguines Lagoon, Catarman Church Ruins, and the walkway to the old volcano. You can also find resorts in the area if you wish to stay longer.
For Bukidnon, the most famous attraction here is the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation Farm. The Dahilayan Adventure Park mentioned above can also be found here.
Lastly, for Iligan, you might want to schedule a few days of stay here since it also has a lot of nature & cultural attractions to offer including waterfalls hopping.
If you’ve dreamt of flying, now is the time to make that come true!
CDO is one of the handful locations in Mindanao where you can paraglide. You can experience paragliding in Hugo Sky Lounge in Sierra del Oro Resort, located in Barangay Indahag.
The activity entails tandem paragliding with an instructor who assists and controls the drive. You’ll get to enjoy a bird eye’s view of Cagayan de Oro and Macalajar Bay. Rate is P3000 per person.
Take note that paragliding is a weather-dependent activity, so make sure to coordinate with your tour operator in advance.
9. Buy pasalubong
There are several favorite pasalubongs you can buy in CDO. Some of these include pastel, sinuglaw, jamon de cagayan, and roasted cashew nuts. You can buy these items in pasalubong centers or malls such as Limketkai Center.
You may also want to bring home fresh fruits from the local market. Just make sure to use a durable plastic or reusable bag instead of box so you won’t have to check the items in the airport.
10. Celebrate the Higalaay Festival
The Higalaay Festival is one of the most awaited events in CDO. It’s held every August 28 in celebration of St. Augustine, the patron saint of the city.
Some of the festival’s highlights include a 3-day culinary show, street dancing competition, parade of floats and icons, and fireworks display.
Staying in Cagayan de Oro?
Click here to read about my review of Seda Centrio Hotel.
Here are some recommended accommodations you can book:
For budget options:
You can also book discounted rooms of hotels in CDO here.
Has this guide on the top activities in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) been helpful to you? Do you have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!