The promise of white water rafting was the main reason for my trip to Cagayan de Oro (CDO), which is touted as the “City of Golden Friendship.” CDO is one of the top destinations of this water sport for both local and foreign travelers, and it has been on my wish list ever since I was able to travel on my own.
My journey to this northern part of Mindanao starts with a plane ride from Manila. The one-hour-and-fifteen-minute flight took me directly to the Lumbia airport, which is located along the outskirts of the city proper. You can avail of a taxi from the airport to take you to the town center and the travel time will take about fifteen to twenty minutes only, but since I have relatives there, I was able to conveniently get a ride from them. The great thing about knowing locals is that they know where to take you around. Though I did not have any time to rest since we went on to explore the area as soon as I arrived there.
First stop: CDO town proper
It’s pretty easy to get around the city, as there are plenty of public transportation—from jeepneys to taxis, and even the local motorela (a bigger version of the tricycle). Taking a cab is the most convenient way to get around, but it would cost you at least Php 30 (USD 0.60), which is the flag down rate. For a more affordable ride, you can take the motorela for a mere Php 5 (USD 0.10). I was fortunate enough to be able to get around in a chauffer-driven vehicle, courtesy of my relatives there. We went to the heart of the city where the St. Agustine Cathedral was located. It was just right across the City Hall, and the sidewalk near the church was lined with stall vendors who offer flowers, candles, and other religious objects.
Outside the church, stands a wooden cross relic that looks very old. It is said to be originally part of the church, as well as the century-old preserved stained glass windows inside the cathedral. The artworks in the windows show religious scenes with Jesus Christ as the superstar. After making the customary three wishes every time I visit a new church, we headed to our next destination, which is the Divine Mercy Hills.
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