Cagayan de Oro, despite its beauty and bounty is still one of the underrated tourist destinations in the country. We don’t see much of it on TV. It was not highlighted in the recent summer station ID of ABS-CBN. But we have what we call “word of mouth” which is one powerful promotion tool that makes the tourism industry of this city thriving.
Last Holy Thursday, four Canadians namely Gabby Degagne, Andy Grinham, Barry O’Doherty, Karlie-Ann Murray and one from New Zealand Melissa Lawless all in their early 20s visited their friend Kyle Jennermann here in Cagayan de Oro (CDO). Kyle is a Canadian who has been living in the city for quite sometime. He loves everything about Cagayan de Oro that he invited his friends to explore what the City of Golden Friendship has to offer.
From Cogon to Divisoria… The Places to Be
The journey started at Macabalan Port where these five foreigners disembarked from a ship that came from Cebu. After taking a short break at Kyle’s place, they immediately went to their first stop… Cogon Market! Guess what? They went there without any Filipino friends around so it was completely a team of foreigners. There, they had “sikwati” and ate three variety of fruits Durian, Lanzones, and fresh Buko. Durian’s taste for them, to quote “It’s fine.” It was the smell that they can’t handle. Barry tried to open and eat durian by himself. Among the three fruits, they all love Lanzones. From Cogon, they hopped into “trisikads” where they toured around Divisoria and St. Augustine Cathedral.
Big Favorite Lechon Manok and Atchara
The city tour burned their calories so they went to Chowking and tried their halo-halo. They enjoyed it so much. And the first heavy meal that they had which became their favorite meal in the city is Lechon Manok with Atchara. To quote again, “Big Favourite.” They also like fresh grilled tuna. Andy said, “I never had tried such amazing Tuna.” They experienced “budol” fight which is a Filipino military tradition, a way of eating foods scattered on a banana leaf with bare hands.
Awesome Rafting Experience
“I can safely say that they really really enjoyed it!” These are the words of Kyle when I asked him how was their rafting experience. Four of them work in an outdoor adventure industry and they all raised their paddles up for one big “high five.” Thanks to Kagay for ensuring a safe and memorable white water rafting adventure in Cagayan de Oro. They also had a blast of their caving experience. Gabby said it was one of the most amazing experiences she has had.
Last day… Opol
They really really really loved the entire day hanging around Opol on a boat seeing islands “disappear” with the tides. As a Kagay-anon, I haven’t even experienced this yet and I’ll definitely add this to my bucket list.
They left their heart in CDO….
It was hard for them to actually pick a place they loved the most. They really like Cagayan de Oro and how it is a big city but it doesn’t feel crowded. One can escape to beautiful nature so easily. A prime example of how these foreigners fell in love with CDO is when Andy gathered together before lunch last Saturday with few heartwarming words and to quote him “I have been all over the world and I’ve never been to such a beautiful place with such AMAZING people.” Gabby posted at Facebook….
Numerous times over the past three days of their stay in Cagayan de Oro, Kyle’s friends had pulled him aside and told him “Kyle I completely understand now why you want to stay here.” Even though Kyle is not a Filipino but as a Filipino wanna be and a Kagay-anon by heart, he found his friends’ words truly heartwarming. Kyle also said something that moved me. “It makes me feel even more proud to say I live in this amazing part of the world.”
As a Kagay-anon, I can’t help but smile that there are people out there coming from different races and cultures that have appreciated everything about Cagayan de Oro. Even the noisy and not so pleasant Cogon Market fascinated them.
Kyle’s friends left Cagayan de Oro yesterday and they didn’t want to leave. Guess who has decided to extend his stay til the 28th? Andy is still in the city. And for Kyle, he has been to many places around the world but wants to stay here in Cagayan de Oro for good.
Yes, this city may not be as popular as that of Cebu or Boracay. Yes, it may not be that visible on TV. But the mere thought that this city has been putting smiles on the faces of its visitors like these six foreigners Kyle and his friends made me say that Cagayan de Oro is a paradise with its own charm worth exploring for. It has proven its monicker as “The Adventure Capital of the Philippines” and has nailed the Department of Tourism’s tag line “It’s more fun in the Philippines and it’s more fun in Cagayan de Oro.”
Photos by Kyle Jennermann