Cgayan de Oro Itinerary
DIY Travel,  Mindanao,  Philippines

Cagayan de Oro Travel Guide: Things to Do & Where to Stay

Last updated: 7th July 2020

Looking for a fun and adventurous travel destination in the south? Cagayan de Oro is your best bet. From white water rafting, kayaking, zip lining, and visiting the largest pirate-themed resort in the Philippines, CDO will never leave you with a dull moment.

Known as the “City of Golden Friendship,” Cagayan de Oro is home to almost 700,000 residents, making it the 10th most populous city in the country. Its economy is also booming which makes it the “regional center, logistics, and business hub of Northern Mindanao” according to Wikipedia.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about traveling to Cagayan de Oro City in 2019. This includes transport options, best accommodations, tourist spots, budget, and other travel tips. We will also provide you a sample itinerary that you can replicate to help you plan your CDO trip.

Let’s get started!

How to Get There

1. Air

Book an airplane ticket via Cebu Pacific or AirAsia which offers direct flights to from Manila (MNL) to Cagayan de Oro (CGY) 7 days a week. Philippine Airlines on the other hand flies to CDO thrice a week. You will arrive at Laguindingan Airport after 1 hour and 30 minutes of (estimated) travel time. You can book round trip tickets as low as P1,000 – P2,000 during a seat sale.

2. Sea

2Go Travel sails from Manila to Cagayan de Oro 2-3 times per week while Trans-Asia Shipping Lines offer daily transport service from Cebu to CDO and vice versa. Travel time from Manila would take around 35 hours (or more) while from Cebu, it would take 10 hours or less. One way tickets range from P1,000 – P2,500.

3. Land

Philtranco offers daily trips from Pasay to Cagayan de Oro for an estimated travel time of 30 hours. A one way ticket ticket costs around P2,500 per head. Coming from Butuan, Surigao, Davao, and North Cotabato is also possible via land.

Where to Stay in Cagayan de Oro

room at Budgetel
Photo courtesy of Budgetel

Finding the best accommodation in Cagayan de Oro City (or other destinations) can be tough. Your choice would depend on your preference and budget. For example, if you have money to spend in a 5 or 4-star hotel (like P5,000-ish per night), you can check out Limketkai Luxe Hotel and Seda Centrio. Both offer free wifi and breakfast.

For the budget-conscious, there are accommodations that cost around P500+ per person, per night. These include Rich Manor Pension House and G-Galyx Inn Hotel.

During our CDO trip, we stayed at Budgetel where we paid P950 each. The room has 2 single beds, has air conditioning, wifi, and cable TV. The restroom is nice too. It’s located inside the Lifestyle District where you’ll find a few restaurants and bars. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures.

You can also check out other accommodations with the best deals here:



Booking.com

Another option is to check for an Airbnb listing.

Don’t have an account with Airbnb yet? You can sign up using my link so you can get up to ₱2,200 off your first trip! Click here to save money!

Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro

Exploring a new place will never be complete without eating the best food they have to offer! Eating local food is MUST if you want to fully immerse yourself into their culture. So for this part, we have listed the top restaurants to try in Cagayan de Oro. We’ve included a few cafes too!

1. Circa 1850

Located at the ground floor of Red Planet Hotel along Claro M. Recto Avenue, Circa 1850 offers a fusion of America, European, Asian, and Filipino food.

This is not your typical budget-friendly restaurant but it’s definitely worth the try when you’re in CDO! Try their truffle grass fed burger, cream pasta, and choco lava. They have vegetarian options too! You can visit their website here.

Circa 1850
Photo from Circa 1850’s website

2. Kagay-Anon Restaurant

If you’re prefer to eat the most authentic Filipino dishes Cagayan de Oro has to offer, you will never go wrong with Kagay-Anon Restaurant.

Considered as one of the oldest restaurants in the city, Kagay-Anon has built its reputation as one of the best in Filipino cuisine. They serve ostrich dishes and their specialty is the Ostrich Salpicao. Also try their Baked Clams, Liempo, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Pinakbet.

3. Boy Zugba

If you’re missing home and would like to eat home-cooked meals Kagay-anon style, Boy Zugba will satisfy your taste buds! Boy Zugba mostly offers grilled food and other meals you can find in a karinderia.

They want to make their customers feel at home; eating at a classic karinderia with a modern twist. Their menu, specifically the names of their food, are catchy and funny like Banana de Coco Martin, What’s Your Plan, Lecha Flan, to name a few.

Boy Zugba
Photo from Boy Zugba Facebook page

4. Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant

Located inside Centrio Mall, Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant serves American and other international cuisine. They also have locations in Cebu, Davao, General Santos and Butuan but they originally came from Cagayan de Oro. Try the Baby Back Ribs, as well as their Grilled Chicken Carbonara when you visit. You can also check out more dishes here.

5. High Ridge

If you want to eat good food while enjoying the beautiful city lights of Cagayan de Oro, the add High Ridge to your restaurant list. You must try the Seafood Platter and Choco Lava Cake.

Unlike the other restaurants we mentioned, the only way to visit the restaurant is to ride a taxi or a private vehicle.

There is also a free shuttle service going to High Ridge coming from Brgy. Macasandig (covered court). You can check the schedule here.

High Ridge
Photo from High Ridge’s Facebook Page

Things to Do in Cagayan de Oro

1. Cagayan de Oro City Tour

Exploring Cagayan de Oro will never be complete without touring the gems inside the city such as museum, parks, and even malls. We recommend that you visit first those that are located almost in the same place:

  • St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
  • City Museum of CDO
  • Gaston Park
  • The Executive Building (Old City Hall)

Then you can proceed to:

  • Divisoria Park/Friendship Park – 6-min walk from Gaston Park
  • Museo de Oro – 6-min walk from Divisoria Park/Friendship Park
  • Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures – 15-min ride from Museo de Oro (via Corrales Ext)
  • Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village – Take a jeepney ride bound for Cugman and ask the driver to drop you off at the crossing of ecoville and the highway; 30-min ride from Capitol U
  • High Ridge – There are no available public transportation in the area. You need to hire a vehicle or taxi and agree on a time to pick you up. High Ridge is open from 4 pm to 10 pm only.

2. White Water Rafting

Water rafting cagayan de oroWhen you visit CDO, it’s a must that you try their main tourist attraction – white water rafting.

There are tons of rafting companies that offer basic and advanced courses but for this article, we will recommend Team CDO Bugsay Rafting based on our experience.

All guides are professionally trained to lead beginners (like me) and most importantly, they know how to avoid and handle difficult situations the team might encounter.

The guides also have a good sense of humor too! You can also contact them here: 0917 328 4729.

Other things you should know:

  • Team Bugsay will pick you up from your hotel on your scheduled day.
  • The whole white rafting experience might take around 2-3 hours depending on the current
  • You will get to see the beauty of Cagayan River that divides Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon
  • The whole experience is not always facing the rapids but when there is none, your guide will let you swim in some parts of the river.
  • On our experience, we had 2 guides for each boat, and there is another guide on a kayak who’s in charge of taking photos and videos. (Team Bugsay sent the files to us for an additional fee)
  • Fee is P1,200 per head for the basic rafting activity (Team Bugsay fee but this might vary if you choose another company). Some might say that it is pricey but it is 100% worth it.
  • Team Bugsay offers another deal for P1,800 which will cover 21 rapids.

3. Try the World-Class Water Slides at Seven Seas Waterpark

Dubbed as the “First World Class Themed Waterpark in the Philippines”, Seven Seas Waterpark is truly worth checking out! It’s for the whole family who loves spending time at the waters. They have numerous rides and attractions such as:

  • The Cyclone – largest waterslide in the Philippines
  • Mighty Maui River – longest lazy river (400 meters or 1,312 ft)
  • Jolly Roger CombiTower – serves as a launching point of other rides and from here, you’ll have a 270 degree view of the area
  • Plank Drop – first vertical aqua loop water slide with a height of 20 meters

Rates vary on weekdays, weekends, and holidays:

Seven Seas
*Photo is from Seven Seas Waterpark Facebook page

4. Adventure at Mapawa Nature Park

Mapawa Nature Park
Image from Mapawa Nature Park Facebook page

For those who love to get away from the city and to be one with nature, add Mapawa Nature Park in your list! Experience the beauty of its waterfalls and diverse flora and fauna.

You can also go camping to stargaze with family and friends, slide from a 20 feet waterfall, zipline, and even rappel during the hike.

Observe the wildlife and understand how different species behave in their natural habitat. It covers 2,500 hectares and is just 30 minutes away from the city proper.

Other things you should know about Mapawa Nature Park:

  • Environmental Fee costs P50 per head
  • Activities such as camping, ziplining, and hiking must be paid separately.
  • You can get here by riding a jeepney going to Mapawa Crossing. Then ride a habal-habal going to the park.
  • Before visiting Mapawa Nature Park, we suggest that you contact them first on their website here or thru their Facebook page.

5. Side trip to Bukidnon

Dahilayan
*Photo from Dahilayan Adventure Park Facebook page

Since Bukidnon is just a 45-minute drive from Cagayan de Oro, might as well give it a visit while you’re in the city.

The #1 sidetrip destination in Bukidnon when you’re coming from CDO is the Del Monte Pineapple Farm, which is located inside Camp Phillips.

You can reach the area by riding a bus off to Manolo Fortich or a van going directly to Camp Phillips. Then, ride a jeepney going to the pineapple farm.

Another famous attraction that you shouldn’t miss in Bukidnon is Dahilayan Adventure Park. Don’t miss their zipline that is dubbed as “Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline”. There are other activities that you can do here as well.

You can visit Dahilayan if you’re at Camp Philips by riding a habal-habal which costs around P200-300 per person. Or if you’re at the Agora Bus Terminal, you can ride a van going directly to Dahilayan for P300 each.

If you’re not into planning your own itinerary and you want to have a peace of mind while exploring the city, you can get a Cagayan de Oro tour package instead.

Sample DIY Itinerary in Cagayan de Oro

Here’s a sample DIY itinerary when touring Cagayan de Oro that includes the tourist spots mentioned above. This is just a suggestion so feel free to mix things up according to your preference.

Personally, this itinerary will tire you to the max and will hurt your budget too. If you have the time and money to spend, then go for it. If you’re more of a budget traveler like me, I suggest that you prioritize what CDO offers that we don’t have in Manila.

Day 1

  • White water rafting
  • St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
  • City Museum of CDO
  • Gaston Park
  • The Executive Building (Old City Hall)
  • Mapawa Nature Park

Day 2

  • Divisoria Park/Friendship Park
  • Museo de Oro
  • Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures
  • Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village
  • High Ridge

Day 3

  • Seven Seas Waterpark

Day 4

  • Camp Phillips
  • DOLE Pineapple Farm
  • Dahilayan Adventure Park

Estimated Expenses in CDO

The estimated expenses depends on the tourist spots you will visit in Cagayan de Oro. But to give you an estimate, we will calculate the budget needed if the itinerary above will be followed.

Activities

  • Basic white water rafting activity – P1200
  • Mapawa Nature Park – Environmental fee P50 (other activities have other costs)
  • Museo de Oro – P50 for adults, P20 for students
  • Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures – P50
  • Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village – P50
  • Seven Seas Waterpark – P799 during weekdays, P999 on weekends

Total P2,199

Cagayan de Oro tourist spots with free entrance

  • City Museum of CDO – free entrance
  • High Ridge – free entrance
  • St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Gaston Park
  • The Executive Building (Old City Hall)
  • Divisoria Park/Friendship Park

Side trip at Bukidnon

  • DOLE Pineapple Farm – free entrance
  • Dahilayan Adventure Park – P100 (other activities have other costs)

Transportation

The minimum jeepney fare when we visited CDO was P8.00. It may have increased by now as of writing. Going to High Ridge via taxi would cost around P200-300 one way, and also your Bukidnon sidetrip would cost you as well. To be safe, allot P1,500 budget for the transportation. This may look like it’s too much but it’s better than being short.

Total P1,500

Other expenses

  • Food P2,000
  • Pasalubong P1,000

Overall budget

Warning: This will look expensive. Let me remind you that this is assuming that we did all the activities we mentioned above.

  • Activities, transport, food: P6699
  • Accommodation: P2000
  • Airfare: P2,000 (promo)

Total: P10,699

Cagayan De Oro: Our Final Thoughts

Cagayan de Oro swimming
Thanks for reading the article! 🙂

Now that you have an idea on how to spend your time in Cagayan de Oro, you can now start planning your own itinerary!

Please be reminded that the itinerary and budget we calculated are just imaginary; assuming that we did ALL of the activities we discussed.

There are tons of tourist spots to visit in Cagayan de Oro, as well as the activities to try out.

If you are on a tight budget, we suggest that you identify the activities that are a MUST TRY, compared to those you can skip and come back at another trip. You really need to go back, to be honest.

Personally, I can recommend trying out the white water rafting and Bukidnon side trip. You can skip Seven Seas if you’re not into swimming that much. When you plan your next Cagayan de oro trip, I suggest that you visit Seven Seas, then go to Camiguin or Siargao. I’ll tell you more about that on our next blog posts.

So that’s it for now! Now take your time in planning your trip to Cagayan de Oro.

Stay curious, forever! 🙂

I'm an online freelancer who has a passion for hiking, traveling, and photography. Cham believes that having an adventurous life makes our soul happy and fulfilled. She travels with her super-old Nikon D3100 and her new baby boy, GoPro Hero 7 Black.

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