White water rafting in Cagayan de Oro
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

10 Awesome Things to Do in Cagayan de Oro

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Cagayan de Oro is an adventure capital. If you love outdoor activities and nature tripping, you’ll love staying here. CDO is also a gateway to nearby provinces such as Bukidnon, Iligan, and Camiguin. Here we’ve compiled the top things to do in CDO!

P.S. Visiting Cagayan de Oro? Don’t forget to read our Travel Guide to Cagayan de Oro City!

1. White water rafting

White water rafting in Cagayan de Oro

A local told me that you haven’t really been to CDO if you haven’t tried white water rafting and I agree.

This is a fun activity that includes navigating through Cagayan River, paddling and passing thru wild rapids. Guides will accompany you in each raft to make sure you enjoy the experience safely. This activity is ideal for both beginner and experienced rafters.

I tried the beginner route for the white water rafting and I had a blast. I would love to do it again!

The jump-off point to the rafting activity is easily accessible from the airport or city proper. It takes at least 2-3 hours for each course to finish, so you should allot a half-day for this activity. Morning and afternoon schedules are available.

2. Explore the city attractions

Locals selling souvenirs in CDO
Locals selling souvenirs in the city.

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.

Museum of Three Cultures in Cagayan de Oro
Museum of Three Cultures.
Display in Museum of Three Cultures
Display in Museum of Three Cultures.

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. Try marang and other local fruits

Marang fruit

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. Eat sikwate and puto maya

Sikwate (tablea hot chocolate) and puto maya (sticky rice) is often eaten as breakfast or merienda. You can find it in Cogon Public Market, the largest local market in CDO. Cogon Public Market is a one-stop shop for locals. Aside from native delicacies, you can also find halal and non-halal meals here.

For other local eats, read our guide on Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro.

Making table in public market in CDO
Making tablea tsokolate.
Sikwate and puto maya
Sikwate and puto maya.

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.

Mapawa Mature Park - horseback riding
Horseback riding. (Photo credit to Mapawa Nature Park)
Mapawa Mature Park - rappelling in waterfall
Rappelling in waterfall. (Photo credit to Mapawa Mature Park)

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

Zipline in Dahilayan Adventure Park
Zipline in Dahilayan Adventure Park.

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 lake.

I tried the dual zipline and it was an exhilarating experience. The glide started out scary at first but just soon after I got to appreciate the view of the forest from above. One of my acquaintances tried the Dropzone and we screamed when she was dropped, but she said that it was super fun as well.

Other activities here include the Skytower Base Jump, Canopy Glider, Python Roller Zipglide, and Ropes Course.

7. Go on a day trip

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.

Hali in Camiguin
Hali in White Island, Camiguin.

You can see a lot in one day in Camiguin. My personal recommendations are the Katibawasan Falls, White Island, Sunken Cemetery, Mantigue Island, and the Giant Clam Sanctuary. If you plan to swim and snorkel, I recommend bringing your own gear to save rental fees.

There are also nice resorts in the area if you wish to stay longer.

Del Monte Farm in Bukidnon
Del Monte Farm in Bukidnon.

Bukidnon has the famous Del Monte Pineapple Plantation Farm. The Dahilayan Adventure Park mentioned above can also be found here.

Tinago Falls in Lanao del Norte - one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines | Best waterfalls in the Philippines
Tinago Falls in Iligan.

Iligan is a good day trip option. You can visit three waterfalls in a day, including the famous Tinago Falls. Iligan has a lot of nature and cultural attractions to offer, so you might also consider staying here for longer.

8. Paragliding

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

(Photo credit to Vjandep Pastel)

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!

What to read next:

Planning a trip to Cagayan de Oro? Here are our guides!

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