Cagayan de Oro, fondly known as the “City of Golden Friendship,” is a captivating destination in the Philippines that beckons travellers with its diverse array of attractions. Nestled in the heart of Mindanao, this city offers an enchanting blend of adventure, culture, and natural beauty. From its bustling urban scenes to the serene wonders of nature, Cagayan de Oro has something for everyone. Join us as we explore the best things to do in this vibrant city, where hospitality and adventure intertwine to create an unforgettable travel experience.
1. Cagayan de Oro River
Cagayan de Oro River, often referred to as the “River of Gold,” is a prominent natural gem in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. It has gained immense popularity for its exhilarating white water rafting adventures, making it one of the most sought-after destinations for adventure enthusiasts. The river flows through a stunning landscape of lush greenery, deep canyons, and cascading waterfalls, providing a breathtaking backdrop for a thrilling rafting experience.
What sets Cagayan de Oro River apart is its diverse range of rapids, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned rafters. The river offers different rafting courses, with varying levels of difficulty, ensuring there’s something for everyone. As you navigate through the rapids, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests, limestone cliffs, and an abundance of wildlife. The thrilling journey down the Cagayan de Oro River is not just an adrenaline-pumping adventure but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich biodiversity of the region.
2. Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy
The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, situated in Cagayan de Oro, is a place of spiritual significance and serenity. It stands as a testament to the strong devotion of the faithful and has become a major pilgrimage site for Catholics in the region. This religious sanctuary is dedicated to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, and it offers a tranquil space for prayer, reflection, and worship.
The shrine features a striking statue of the Divine Mercy, arms outstretched in a welcoming and comforting gesture. The serene atmosphere of the shrine, surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful landscaping, creates a sense of peace and serenity for visitors. Many pilgrims come here seeking solace, healing, and spiritual renewal. Whether you are a devout Catholic or simply looking for a place of tranquility, the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Cagayan de Oro provides a space for quiet contemplation and a chance to connect with your faith in a serene and picturesque setting.
3. Macahambus Hill Cave
Macahambus Hill Cave is a historical and naturally captivating site that offers visitors a blend of adventure and cultural significance. This cave holds a special place in Philippine history as it was used by Filipino revolutionaries during the Philippine-American War to mount a surprise attack on American troops. The cave’s deep historical roots make it an intriguing attraction for history enthusiasts.
Visiting Macahambus Hill Cave is a unique opportunity to explore a natural formation with historical significance. The cave features an underground river, impressive limestone formations, and an immersive ambiance that takes you back in time. It’s an ideal destination for adventurers, history buffs, and anyone who appreciates the merging of nature and history in a single, captivating location.
4. Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village
The Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village in Cagayan de Oro is a splendid blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and eco-tourism initiatives. This sprawling eco-park, situated on a hill, provides a stunning panorama of the city and its surrounding landscapes. The park was established to promote the conservation of local biodiversity and to educate visitors about the rich indigenous culture of the region.
When you visit the Gardens of Malasag, you’ll be welcomed by lush greenery, including vibrant flower gardens, dense forests, and well-preserved indigenous huts showcasing the various cultures of the region. The village offers a range of activities, such as guided tours, trekking, bird watching, and cultural presentations. It’s a haven for nature lovers and those interested in experiencing the unique culture and traditions of the local tribes in Cagayan de Oro. The eco-park is not only a tourist attraction but also a testament to the community’s commitment to environmental conservation and cultural preservation.
5. Xavier Museum Museo de Oro
Museo de Oro, located in the heart of Cagayan de Oro, is a captivating repository of the city’s rich historical and cultural heritage. This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits that narrate the story of Cagayan de Oro and the wider Mindanao region. Established by the Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, the museum is a testament to the university’s dedication to preserving and showcasing the local heritage.
Upon entering Museo de Oro, visitors are welcomed by an extensive collection that includes archaeological finds, ethnographic materials, historical photographs, and artworks. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated, taking you on a journey through the indigenous cultures, colonial history, and contemporary life of the region. One of the museum’s highlights is its focus on the various indigenous groups of Mindanao, making it an excellent place to learn about the traditions and practices of these communities. Museo de Oro is a must-visit for anyone looking to delve into the cultural tapestry of Cagayan de Oro and Mindanao as a whole, offering an educational and enlightening experience for visitors of all ages.
6. St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, often referred to as Cagayan de Oro Cathedral, stands as a prominent religious and architectural landmark in the heart of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. This grand cathedral, known for its stunning neo-Gothic design, dates back to the late 17th century. It has since undergone several renovations and expansions to become the magnificent structure it is today. Situated in the city center, it is not only a place of worship but also a testament to the enduring faith and heritage of the local community.
The cathedral’s design is awe-inspiring, characterized by its high spires, intricate stained glass windows, and beautifully adorned interiors. This sacred space serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and remains a pivotal site for various religious ceremonies and events. Visitors will find solace in its serene atmosphere and can explore the intricate architectural details that make it a captivating piece of history and culture in the city. St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral stands as a testament to the deep-rooted spiritual tradition and architectural beauty that Cagayan de Oro has to offer.
7. Mapawa Nature Park
Nestled in the heart of Cagayan de Oro, Mapawa Nature Park is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. This lush expanse covers over 2,500 hectares and offers a diverse range of activities, making it a perfect destination for those looking to connect with nature. The park is known for its dense rainforests, pristine waterfalls, and the mighty Mapawa River, which meanders through the landscape, creating a scenic backdrop that draws visitors from near and far.
One of the most popular attractions at Mapawa Nature Park is the Mapawa Nature Park Trail, a challenging yet rewarding hike that takes you through the rainforest, culminating in the breathtaking 65-meter high Mapawa Falls. The park also offers activities such as horseback riding, river trekking, and canopy walks, all surrounded by a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, a serene escape into nature, or the opportunity to explore the park’s unique ecosystems, Mapawa Nature Park has something to offer every adventurer and nature lover who passes through Cagayan de Oro.
8. Pelaez Ancestral House
The Pelaez Ancestral House in Cagayan de Oro is a significant historical landmark that preserves the memory of one of the city’s most prominent political figures. The house was once the residence of former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, a respected statesman who contributed significantly to the political and economic development of the Philippines. This well-preserved heritage house stands as a testament to his legacy and offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the city and the nation.
Constructed in the early 1900s, the Pelaez Ancestral House showcases architectural elements reminiscent of its time, featuring hardwood floors, antique furniture, and colonial-style decor. It’s a place where history comes to life, allowing visitors to explore the rooms and hallways that once hosted some of the country’s most influential leaders. The house also serves as a museum that displays various memorabilia and artifacts from Vice President Pelaez’s life and career. For history enthusiasts and those interested in the political evolution of the Philippines, a visit to the Pelaez Ancestral House is a journey back in time and an opportunity to learn about the country’s rich past.
9. Lasang Secret Adventure Park
Lasang Secret Adventure Park in Cagayan de Oro is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Nestled within lush rainforests and surrounded by pristine rivers, this eco-park offers an array of exciting outdoor activities in a serene, natural setting. The park’s location provides visitors with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Philippine wilderness while enjoying a variety of adrenaline-pumping experiences.
Visitors to Lasang Secret Adventure Park can engage in activities such as river trekking, zip-lining, and horseback riding, all while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. One of the standout features is the Canopy Walk, which allows you to traverse hanging bridges high up in the treetops, providing an unforgettable perspective of the forest. Additionally, the park promotes eco-tourism and environmental awareness, making it an excellent choice for nature lovers who wish to appreciate the Philippines’ natural beauty and support its conservation. Whether you’re an adventure junkie or simply seeking a peaceful escape into the heart of nature, Lasang Secret Adventure Park is a hidden paradise waiting to be explored.
10. Opol Ostrich and Crocodile Farm
The Opol Ostrich and Crocodile Farm in Cagayan de Oro is a unique and fascinating attraction for visitors of all ages. This farm offers a chance to get up close and personal with two distinct species: ostriches and crocodiles. It’s a perfect destination for animal enthusiasts and families looking for an educational yet exciting experience. The farm is home to a variety of ostriches, which are the world’s largest and heaviest birds. Visitors can observe these giant birds, take guided tours to learn about their biology and behaviour, and even feed them. It’s a rare opportunity to encounter ostriches in the Philippines and a fantastic photo opportunity.
In addition to the ostriches, the farm also houses a collection of crocodiles. Visitors can witness these incredible reptiles in a safe and controlled environment. The farm’s guides provide insights into the biology and habits of crocodiles, making it an educational experience. For the more adventurous, there are options to hold a baby crocodile or even feed them. The Opol Ostrich and Crocodile Farm is not only an entertaining attraction but also a place to learn about these remarkable creatures, their habitats, and the importance of wildlife conservation. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the animal kingdom and looking for an unforgettable day out in Cagayan de Oro.
In the heart of Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro stands as a testament to the Philippines’ richness in culture, natural beauty, and adventure. This vibrant city is more than just a gateway; it’s a destination in itself, inviting you to forge lasting memories through exhilarating activities and cultural immersion. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures in the great outdoors, a taste of local hospitality and cuisine, or a serene escape in the midst of nature, Cagayan de Oro offers it all. It’s a place where friendships are born, smiles are shared, and unforgettable experiences await at every turn.