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Cagayan Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

Cagayan de Oro brings out the best of both worlds. It’s an urban city that doesn’t lack in restaurants, universities, and museums, and travelers walk comfortably along its streets. At the same time, it manages to exudes a warm, friendly vibe, such as you’d find in more tight-knight communities. The “City of Golden Friendship,” indeed. Making friends here is all too easy, since something exciting always seems to be just around the corner. Paragliding, white water rafting, bungee-jumping, you name it--extreme sports are a major allure of the city, which is playfully called the Adventure Capital of the Philippines.

Where to go in Cagayan

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Angler's Mecca

Brgy. San Vicente Santa Ana, Cagayan, Cagayan Valley, 3514, Philippines

Baggao Hotspring

Brgy. Asinga-Via Baggao, Cagayan, Cagayan Valley, 3506, Philippines

Bagu Falls

Brgy. Bagu Pamplona, Cagayan, Cagayan Valley, 3522, Philippines

How to Get Here

Getting Here
By Plane

Cagayan de Oro City is accessible via plane through the Laguindingan International Airport at Misamis Oriental. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific conveniently provide daily flights from several local cities, such as Manila (1.5 hour), Cebu (45 minutes), Iloilo (1 hour), and Davao (1 hour) to Laguindingan Airport.

To reach Cagayan de Oro, you can take a shuttle directly from the airport, usually at around P200.
By Bus

If you’re coming from a major city in Mindanao, you can easily catch a bus going to Cagayan de Oro. The following cities are covered, among others: Bukidnon, Davao, Coronadal, Gingoog, Butuan, General Santos, Iligan, Ozamiz, Zamboanga, Tacloban, Legazpi City, and Surigao. Some bus companies that you can look into are Rural Transit, Pabama Tours, Bachelor Express, Super 5 Transport, and Philtranco Bus Lines.
By Boat

2Go Travel has a regular schedule for ferry trips to Cagayan de Oro City from cities such as Manila and Cebu, with the trip from Manila taking around 30 hours.

Trans Asia Shipping also offers regular trips from Cebu and Tagbilaran, Bohol, while Lite Ferries has Jagna, Bohol as its departure point for ferry trips.

Popular Food

Tuguegarao City’s version of chicharon is made from carabao skin and popularly called “chicharabao”. A light snack especially good for those who don’t eat pork, it comes in different flavours such as garlic, hot & spicy and onion & vinegar. Chicharabao is also one of the most popular pasalubongs from Cagayan.

(c) @northphilisitorsbureau / instagram.com

The province’s iconic pancit dish, pancit batil patong is a palatable dish made of pancit miki Tuguegarao, carabao meat and vegetables topped with egg and crunchy lechon carajay and paired with batil soup. Batil means “scrambled egg” and patong means “placed on top”. This scrumptious noodle dish also goes by the name “Tuguegarao Pancit”.

(c) @janizdeguzman / instagram.com

Cagayan’s version of longganisa is made, not from pork, but from carabeef. This longganisa is more flavourful and just like the Vigan longganisa, it has a more garlicky and salty taste and best cooked slightly crunchy. Locals also call this viand as “Tuguegarao longganisa”.

(c) @duaybalgos / instagram.com

Another popular noodle dish in the province of Cagayan is the thick and rich soup with sotanghon, miki noodles, pork, chicken and clams and is called “sinanta”. It is usually eaten as a snack and paired with pinakufu, a sweet rice cake.

(c) @lokal_kp / instagram.com

Best Time to Go

BEST TIME TO GO
Cagayan de Oro is mostly a typhoon-free area, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from thunderstorms and rain showers. The best time to go, then, would be when it’s unlikely to rain: March and June present the best prospects because of the general sunny weather. However, the flipside of this is that you should bring umbrellas and sunblock.

To catch festivals and street parades, you might want to drop by during the last week of August for the Kagaya-an Festival. It’s the biggest event of the city--an annual fiesta where everybody goes all out, complete with street dancing, trade fairs, and a beauty competition.

What to Do

Whitewater rafting
The Cagayan de Oro River is a prime spot for whitewater rafting, with glowing recommendations from the Department of Tourism itself. Whitewater rafting rests on this challenge: you sit on an inflatable raft with several other people, armed with only your paddles (and a tour guide) for navigation, and you try to ride the currents of the river all the way to your destination. Watch out for rapids, where the flow is faster than usual and there’s a greater chance of losing control or even bumping into rocks. What’s convenient about whitewater rafting here is that you can fine-tune the difficulty level--first-timers can stick with the beginner option, or you can steel yourself and opt for extreme.
Learn about history and culture
Traveling to a city without getting to know its history is like dating someone while only sticking with small talk: you’re familiar with the facade, but you’re only skimming the surface. Discover the richness of Cagayan de Oro’s past, which continues to flow into the present, by lingering inside any of the city’s several museums. The sturdy City Museum used to be a water tower in its past life back in 1922, and it retells the story of Cagayan de Oro through dated photos and antiques. La Castilla has more of a personal touch, since it used to be a summer residence and now houses the collection of the late founders of the Liceo de Cagayan University. For a sweeping take on Mindanao culture, the university-based Museo de Oro is home to paintings, ancient artifacts, and religious relics, while the Museum of Three Cultures focuses on the Muslims, Christians, and Lumads--three major groups in Mindanao.
Paragliding
Watching birds fly--especially when set against the sky--can be very calming, probably because the birds themselves look peaceful and at ease. The closest equivalent that we humans have would be paragliding. True to its reputation as the country’s adventure capital, Cagayan de Oro offers paragliding at Sierra del Oro, an expansive adventure park in Indahag Hills that includes a coffee shop and a restaurant. An experienced pilot is assigned to guide you throughout the flight. While paragliding might seem intimidating, nervousness peaks only at the first few moments, just when your feet have left the ground--it soon becomes slow and even soothing, with the city of Cagayan de Oro sprawled out below like a map and the wind guiding you.
Go to a waterpark
Water babies aren’t confined to beaches. Take inspiration from the fun-filled rides of an amusement park, and voila, the best of both worlds: waterparks with dozens of inventive ways for you to splash against the water. There are quite a few waterparks in the Philippines, and the Seven Seas Waterpark at Cagayan de Oro is a pioneer in Northern Mindanao. It’s said to have the longest river ride in the country, winding around the entire park at half a kilometer long. All rides are accessible with a single ticket, so make the most out of them, if you can. With names like Plank Drop, Pira-Chute, and Pacific Racer, these guarantee no lack of action, and you might even scream out loud as you go through an intense rollercoaster ride, plunge into a pool from an impressive height, or race with friends over an unpredictable slide.
Shop at Night Market
One of the most low-key ways to experience the soul of a place--beyond the usual tourist attractions--is to follow where the locals are. In Cagayan de Oro’s case, they have a lively night market in Plaza Divisoria on Friday and Saturday evenings. Go here for a wide range of down-to-earth dinner options, including Filipino classics such as lechon as well as street food at extremely cheap prices (e.g. pork intestines, blood cubes, and other gritty delights on a stick). A live band occasionally serenades the gathered diners and shoppers, and the night market is also a great one-stop place for souvenirs to bring home, with native products sold from various stalls. What it promises is a quiet, laidback evening--and sometimes that’s what you need, especially after a tiring day of traveling.

Estimated Costs

Estimated Cost per Person
Domestic Flight to Cagayan De Oro (One-Way)
P 2,834-5,000

Ferry to Cagayan De Oro
P 2,100-3,400

Hotel
P 600-4,000

Regular Inexpensive Meal
P 117

Three-Course Meal, Mid-Range
P 300

Tourist Attraction Entrance Fees
P 100-400

Taxi
P400-450 (depending on destination)

Jeepneys
P10-15 (depending on destination)

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