Top Spots in Mindanao: Cagayan de Oro as the City of Golden Friendship

The city that lies north of Mindanao and the city provincial of Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City homes the best and warmest smile of its locals. Dubbed as the City of Golden Friendship, CDO sure is a hundred thousand reasons why it is called so. Cagayan De Oro City is known for its accessibility and positive growth in both business and leisure.

Cagayan De Oro has its own airport – the Lumbia airport which accounts for local flights in bound to Cagayan. It is the third major airports in Mindanao. CDO also hosts visitors who travelled via sea route. The Port of Cagayan De Oro is one of the busiest seaport in the Philippines. Travelling to Cagayan De Oro from Davao City may come via Buda route or Butuan route. It would take an approximate of 4 hours on your voyage to CDO.

White water rafting in CDO photo: www.cagayan-de-oro.com

Going around CDO wouldn’t scare you off when you’re a first timer. CDO locals are always ready to guide around town. Taxi cabs are always accessible downtown and are all air conditioned. Just like any other fast tracking city, jeepneys are the most common mode of transportation. The place where the jeepneys would travel are always indicated on the front mirror. Motorela is another mode of transportation of the locals and tourists. It resembles like that of a tricycle. It can seat 6-8 people. They are not usually seen along national highways since it can be cramped by other vehicles.

Cagayan de Oro Highlights

The Kagay-an Festival is a weeklong celebration in honor of Cagayan De Oro’s patron saint, Senor San Agustin. Kagay-an means River and it is usually celebrated by the local folks during mid August. The celebration of this festivity is highlighted with the different activities organized for them. Activities include:

Agro-trade Fair featuring the native products of CDO;
Miss Kagay’an participated by the beautiful ladies of CDO;
Higaonon Street Dancing, one of the highlights during the Kagay’an festival where there is constant street dancing;
Golden Float Parade, an array of floats occupying the streets of CDO;
Lamabaguhan Fluvial Parade;
Kumbira - a culinary show and exhibit in the region featuring the food demonstration; culinary competition and seminars. This event is participated by HRM schools showcasing the talents of the students.


Cagayan De Oro is one of the most sought after destinations of nature lovers and adventurers.

When you visit Cagayan, never miss to try whitewater rafting. I am sure adventurers like you wouldn’t let this experience!

Try to stopover at Eco Village of Cagayan De Oro City. If you are fond of appreciating the beauty of nature while taking the pleasure of having yourself a retreat, then this is the place for you. This small town of native artifacts is also equipped with swimming pools, Maya cottages and museum. They also native dishes which you will surely delight your appetite!

Muse De Oro has well preserved the cultural artifacts of Bukidnons and the people of Maranao. The array of these artifacts showcases the rich culture of Cagayan De Oro.

Where to Stay

Pryce Plaza Hotel. This hotel is located in a hilltop; Pryce Plaza Hotel is one of Cagayan’s premier hotels giving it a panoramic view of the city. The rooms are fully airconditioned with cable tvs,, hot and cold shower and free internet access. They also have function rooms and ballrooms for events such as weddings, birthdays, reunion and more.

Casa Crystalla. Located near Xavier University, this stay in is accessible and conducive for students.This establishment is surrounded with shops favourable for students, like internet cafes, photocopying stores and school supplies. The rooms are all airconditioned with cable tv, hot and cold shower and free internet access.

Grand City Hotel. Their airconditioned rooms are equipped with cable tv, hot and cold showers and free internet access. They also have passenger elevators and restaurant and are open to functions like birthdays, reunions or weddings. It is a budget friendly establishment located at the right in the middle of downtown area and is near to restaurants and other business establishments.

Where to Eat

Cagayan De Oro is the home of grilled food restaurants. Some of the most famous are:

Inilog Grill.
Butcher’s Best.
Dear Manok.
Jo’s Manukan.


Monfort Bat Sanctuary at Island Garden City of Samal.

Have you ever seen a million of bats fleeing together at the time when the sun starts to set down? Well, if you haven’t, try visiting the Monfort Bat Sanctuary at Island Garden City of Samal. Yes,  you heard that right, this blessed island is not all about the white sandy beaches, the corals and the reefs; it is an eco-friendly sight too!

The Bats, the Cave and the Sanctuary

Monfront Bat Sanctuary: The  largest colony of Geoffroy's Rousette fruit bats in the whole world

The known specie of bats that are thriving in this 57 – acre land of Ms. Monfort, is the Geoffroy’s Rousette fruit bats, and is known to have the largest colony of bats in the whole world. They are very well preserved because of its importance in the ecosystem, considering they account 70% of the trees in the rainforest live because of bats. They pollinate flowers, eat harmful pests and distribute seeds. This is one of the reasons why Davao City is abundant with Durian fruites. The number of bats accounted during an expedition in this area was 1.8 million, and that was still in counting since there were also female bats noted to be pregnant. So in account, probably it’ll reach to a roughly 2.5 million bats in Monfort Bat Sanctuary! Quite numerous, right?

It is not unknown that Samal Island is continuosly developing and this doesn’t stop these bats from propagating. Bat caves in Monfort Bat Sanctuary are all underground and surrounded by the roots of the trees. No one is allowed to enter the caves but you can peek through the bamboo railings within the caves.

Entrance to Monfront Bat Sanctuary photos from: http://lantaw.blogspot.com/2009/10/samal-monfort-bat-cave.html

There are probably a hundred or more visitors in this sanctuary, but before you can proceed to the caves, you are yet to attend a brief orientation regarding the bats, the do’s and the don’ts. After the orientation, you will start on with the sight-seeing. As you approach these openings, you will smell the strong odor of ammonia/musk. This is what is known as the guano, a great natural fertilizer. You won’t see bats roaming around during the day, as we all know, they are nocturnal animals. You can see them through the caves, just flying around or goofing around, probably fighting over a space.

Getting There

The Monfort Bat Sanctuary nestles near Samal Island. You can get through here via hired car/van or may opt to ride the bus heading to Samal, of which you can ride from Magsaysay Park, Davao City. These carriages will be carried through the barge. As you arrive in Samal, there are single motorcycles or known as habal-habal to take you to this sanctuary.


Davao Top Travel Spots: Eden Nature Park

Eden Nature Park photo: http://donsixstrings.multiply.com/
A retreat from the smoke and pollution with the noise and busy streets in the urban is what we would plan for even at least once a year, right? And it’s quite common to go to the beaches; you may have escaped the busy streets of the city but you’ll experience traffic with the crowded places in the beach. Why not try something that is different? Something that you can really call a retreat.

Spreading out to an eighty hectare land, the Eden Nature Park of Davao City can be lined up with the best nature parks in the world. This park is 95% man – made, something that Davaoenos are very proud of. Having a seat at the foot of Mt. Talomo, Eden has a very well temperature that is comparable to as that in Baguio and Tagaytay. This nature park is settled at 2,650 feet above sea level and has a nice view of Davao City. It certainly is a nice getaway!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be in tranquil with nature? The feeling of living in a forest where the cold air you’ll feel is not from the air conditioned units in your room but rather the cold fresh air that comes naturally from the trees surrounding you. Imagine the thought that you wouldn’t need your hanky to cover your nose from time to time because of the smoke belching cars. Eden not only gives you the feeling of at peace with nature, it also has different forms of enjoyment you and your family or friends will surely love.

Eden is also known to have organically grown vegetables right at their own backyard. Experience their sumptuous meals offered at their restaurant with this fresh veggies to add up to their menu. Enjoy the stunning array of tropical flora, thousands of pine trees and other plants on this nature park stretch. Other sightings you’ll see here, are the Amphitheater, Flower Garden, Lola’s Garden, Mayumi’s well and Plaza Maria.

This nature park is not at all purely nature. You can also have your own dose of adventure here at Eden. You can ride along with the rope at the Indiana Jones or experience what it feels like to be above the ground at least some feet up with only a gliding stuff and some straps to hold you, with their version of zip line called Sky Rider. Or perhaps you would want to trek their mountain trail for a seemingly Mt. Apo climb, where you’ll pass by their hanging bridge and some waterfalls.

The Eden Nature Park also pays tribute to the Mindanaoan ancestors by making them their statutes and showing off some of their traditions as seen in Tinubdan.

They also have other amenities which include swimming pools and playgrounds for children. Cottages are also available should you wish to stay for a night or two. They also have their business center with a wifi access, souvenir shops and function areas.

The Eden Nature Park is located at Bayabas, Toril Davao City. They have their office at Matina  Town Square, which you may book yourselves for a trip to and from Eden.


Naked Island in Siargao Island

Naked Island, Gen. Luna, Siargao Island by Caraga

You would probably wonder what this island look like, well as the name implies, it is indeed Naked! I for once, thought that I was at Camiguin because it has some sort of similarity with their White Island, I totally forgot this was in Siargao. In this island you won’t see any trees growing except for some small patches of bushes around and a portion where you can see corals. The only stuff you’ll predominantly see in this island is the white course of sand. And the portion you can actually walked on to may become little as during high tides. You may snorkel or dive in its clear blue water or have your tanning sessions by just simply lying on the sand.

This island is one of the top spots in Siargao because of its unlikely appearance of a beach. It is common that we picture out a beach or an island to have trees, specifically coconut palm trees, which would give additional enchantment to the island. But here, not a single shade is available for you to rest under. Therefore, it is advisable that you visit the island early morning to somehow avoid the peak of the sun’s heat.
images by blog.travelpod.com

If you want to visit this island, you can have yourself booked to one of their day tours. They’ll give you ample time to explore and enjoy this exquisite gift of nature. Day tours usually go whole day so it is advisable that you bring your own packed lunch.

Naked Island is only one of the many attractions you’ll see in the rich island of Siargao. Siargao Island is a conglomerate of reefs, small points and white sandy beaches. Siargao is mainly visited because of its waves suitable enough for surfing. An annual surfing competition is held in this island, participated by both local and international surfers and surf enthusiasts.


Tinuy an Falls in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur

If you want an adventure that is different from the monotonous belief of a vacation that is, “going to the beach”, try to visit the blessed city of Surigao. This place is not only renowned for having the best beaches (in fact, there are beaches that are yet to be discovered), it is also known for nestling other picturesque tourist spots. Though it may be a rough and long ride way going there and heading back, the experience and the serenity of its places is nonetheless, worthy enough!

Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur by Juvaline Mana-ay Dionisio

A falls that is as majestic as the Niagara Falls, which spans 95 meters wide and 55 meters high, the Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur is another wonder the Philippines is proud of.

We would probably picture out falls to be something that is tall, but this one is different from our common notion of falls. Not only this is tall, but it is also wide that made it stood out from other falls and making it spectacular. This widely expanded waterfall is pouring out thousands of cubic meters per second in three cascades and another one which would be hard to reach but is definitely worth the effort because you would clearly see the other three levels of the waterfall.  This is not only about the falls per se; you would also see century – old trees that have encapsulated this wonderfully blessed waterfall. You can also witness intersperse of a rainbow which would appear between 9 am to 11 am. If you are planning for a vacation, this is definitely one of the best places for your retreat.

Getting There

The city where this splendid work of nature settles is what is known to be the Booming City on the Bay – Bislig City in Surigao Del sur. To be specific, Tinuy-an is a part of Barangay Burboanan in Bislig City. There are a lote of routes available should you want to visit this place:

If you’re coming from Manila (Luzon) or Cebu (Visayas), you may travel via Davao City route, Butuan or Surigao City. As you arrive from any of the said routes, you will have to ride via bus or vans available at their respective terminals. It will take you about 3 to 4 hours if you go with Butuan Route or 5 to 6 hours via Davao City course. Upon arrival at Mangagoy, proceed to the Integrated Terminal to rent jeepneys that will take you to Barangay Borboroan, Bislig. Single motorcycles or habal-habal are also available to really direct you to Tinuy-an falls. 


Entrance: P10.00 per head.
Cottage: P100.00

The Place

As you go in your way to the falls, you may opt to rent a boat which would transport you the bamboo raft. You can request the raft operator to take you to the curtains of the falls for a full body massage.

On the middle part, the pool is said to be 30 feet deep. If you prefer to walk your way towards the falls, be careful with the rocks because they can be slippery.

The upper part, which would others would say the fourth part of the falls is somewhat hidden. It would take you 5-7 minutes away should you wish to climb yourself up. There is an available metal ladder and handles to guide you so there’s not so much to worry even if you’re not an experienced hiker. From there, you can clearly see the other layers of this majestic falls.

Picnic tables are available within the falls, a sari-sari store, a small playground and a wooden bridge. Floating inflatable rafts are also being offered to take the visitors nearer to the falls.


Enchanted River: Amazing Paradise in Hinatuan Surigao

There are so many descriptions that are coming into my mind right now, that I could not get at least one to describe the Enchanted River. Not a single review that I read ever told that this place was not at all fascinating. From the name itself, anyone would probably save some pennies to get their selves on a trip to this charmed river. 

Enchanted River nestles in Barangay Hinatuan. It is a 48 kilometer barrio from the national highway which is Mangagoy, Surigao Del Sur. It was in this place where the movie “Spirits” was filmed. Enchanted River is mostly visited because of its tranquility and majestic ambiance that any tourists would feel when they are around the place. Far from the overcrowded place in the beaches, here you will really feel that you are indeed in a vacation. As you approach this magical river, you would definitely feel the ambiance that there is a mystery behind.It’s like you’re standing and lurking around in another dimension. Enchanting, indeed!

Facts and Mystery

This river is near to the Philippine Deep. In fact, it is a mixture of a saltwater and a freshwater that is why this river may be quite salty but not too much. As you will see, there are parts of the river where it is shallow (where you can be sure that you won’t be drowned), and the part where it is deep (blue water part, of course).

The river is 80 meters deep. There are only certain areas in the river that tourists are allowed to swim. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be too complacent. Mystery tells that there are only certain people that are allowed to swim in the area that means there are instances when someone will be drowned. There are also beliefs that nobody dared to swim in the river after dark because of the spirits guarding the place.

There were risky divers who tried to explore the cave below but they stopped at 200 feet because of the overpowering of the current.

At noontime, tourists are requested to leave the river because they will have to feed the fishes. As they are feeding the fishes, you would see them swimming up to the surface for foods, and these fishes are either small or big, even so, enchanted river is a home to marine life. Mystery tells that despite of its abundance of fishes, no one has ever caught any fish from the enchanted river, not even in the many ways of catching.

There will be an available cruise to take you on a trip to fish cages. In there you will see variety of fishes which you would seldom see and Pawikans. They will also take you on a trip to the vanishing island where you could see beautiful huge starfishes surfacing around the tiny island.

Getting There

You may take the air route or sea route whichever you prefer in going to any of these starting points: Davao City or Butuan City. From Davao City, you may take a bus or van for hire and you will have to hurdle a 5-6 hours travel to Bislig City. From Butuan City,buses and vans are also available and it would take you 2 -3 hours travel to Bislig City Terminal. Enchanted River is located at Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur. Therfore from Bislig City Terminal; you may take a jeepney ride going to Hinatuan Terminal. From the terminal you will have to ride single motorcycles or habal-habal to lead you directly to the Hinatuan Enchanted River. It would probably take you about 30 minutes – 45 minutes travel time.