Things to Do in Cagayan de Oro
Dubbed as the "White water Capital of the Philippines", the fourth largest city in the country boasts hilly landscapes and lush rain forests. If you love the outdoors, Cagayan de Oro will not disappoint.
White water rafting
To start with, get your adrenaline pumping with Kagay's white water rafting adventure (1 Rivera, Cagayan de Oro). Don't worry if you're a total newbie since they can hook you up with a 2-hour river run with 14 rapids for only 1,200PHP per pax.
If it is not exciting enough for you or if you want a more advanced course, you can sign up for a 4-hour 24-rapid run for 1,800PHP, or a 2-hour run of fourteen mostly class III rapids for 2,000PHP per pax.
Gears and transfers are included with optional lunch and photos/videos. The turbulent ride on the rapids were really exhilarating and we never felt any danger since our guides took care of everything and made sure our safety came first. The calm water between the rapids also gave us a chance to appreciate the natural landscape that surrounded the river. If you do plan to go, don't forget to bring sunscreen and a waterproof bag. It was really the time well spent and a good value for money.
Mapawa Nature Park
Next, make a beeline to Mapawa Nature Park located half an hour from the city proper (Malasag, Brgy. Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City), a 2,500 hectare forested destination which provides a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We went there mainly to enjoy the lush greens and the sounds of the birds and crickets. We had a relaxing time wandering along one trail or another and finally landed on a view point.
If you have the energy and the time, you can opt for joining their canyoneering activity for 1,500PHP where you get to hike to the waterfall, slide, rappel, and dive all within 3- 4 hours. They also offer zip line and horseback riding for a fee. Otherwise, just pay the entrance fee of 50PHP. You will need to hire a motorcycle from Cugman all the way to the park for 35PHP one way, make sure to ask the driver to pick you up at the time agreed.
Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village
Located within the same forested reserve are the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village. The village features tribal houses in a nice botanical setting. We liked the cultural side of it and had an interesting time going through the various ethnic sculptures and educating ourselves about the lives of the indigenous people of Mindanao. Besides the display of endemic wildlife, the area also presents a good picnic opportunity. Not only that, the view of the Malasag hills and Macajalar Bay was spectacular.
Another quick getaway from the busy city is the 1-kilometer stretch of beaches located just a mere 15 minutes away. People go to Opol for an early morning jog or a relaxing stroll in the late afternoon. You can also take a dip as the water's not too deep and the beach is clean. There are cottages for rent and you can buy food and drinks or bring your own. When we were there, there were skim boarders and volleyball players so it was a nice way to wind down and just people watch.
Lastly, if spelunking is your thing, you'll be thrilled to discover the hidden charm of Monigue Cave (Brgy. Mambuaya). The adventure starts right at the entrance which is partially submerged in water with only about 6 inches of airspace between the water and the roof. This means getting down and dirty and wet as you try to make it into the narrow opening. However, what awaits you inside are sparkling stalactites and stalagmites that is sure to leave everyone breathless. This cave is not that well known among tourists yet so you will have to go with a local or arrange a tour with your hotel.