Backpacking Northern Mindanao: Cagayan de Oro & Bukidnon

Cagayan de Oro

My travel time from Iligan City Integrated Jeepney and Bus Terminal (IJBT) to Westbound Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal in Cagayan de Oro took just about 2 hours, which I find it quick. I was expecting that the travel time is between 2.5 and 3 hours.

When I arrived the Westbound Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal in Cagayan de Oro, I asked a local which jeepney should I ride to reach SM City Cagayan de Oro. I was told that it is a 2-ride destination. I can ride jeepneys plying to Carmen and then from Carmen I will ride another jeepney going to SM City. With my Google maps turned on, I realized that the location of SM City is too far from the city proper of Cagayan de Oro. I decided to alight at the intersection of Vamenta Boulevard and J.R. Borja Street. I walked towards Capistriano Street passing the bridge. From there, I began looking for accommodation.

From Iligan City Integrated Jeepney and Bus Terminal (IJBT), buses stop here. Jeepneys plying to different location in Cagayan de Oro can also be seen here.

From Iligan City Integrated Jeepney and Bus Terminal (IJBT), buses stop here. Jeepneys plying to different location in Cagayan de Oro can also be seen here.

My original plan is to stay at the Palace Lodge in Capistriano Street but their rates is quite high for a 12 hours stay and a fan room. As I searched around, I found a street vendor selling Lanzones for only Php30.00 versus Php80.00 a kilo in Manila. I found Three Sister’s Dorm & Transient in Yacapin Street and inquired about their rates. It would be a perfect accommodation for me only if I have a companion. In the end, I stayed in D’ Morvie Suites for 48 hours, which is just right beside the Three Sister’s Dorm & Transient. Since I am a bit tired, I did not leave the hotel that night.

D'Morvie Suites and Three Sisters Dorm and Transient in Yacapin Street, Cagayan de Oro.

D’Morvie Suites and Three Sisters Dorm and Transient in Yacapin Street, Cagayan de Oro.

The next morning, I decided to walk around the city. I walked towards Plaza Divisoria and then proceeded to Cogon Market with the help of Google maps. I took my breakfast in Cogon Market in one of Halal eateries or carinderia inside. This was the first time I ate Muslim food. I realized that they loved curry sauce as most the meals being served have a curry-like sauce.

It is amazing to find different variety of tricycle in the country. In most cases, this is an affordable alternative for a taxi.

It is amazing to find different variety of tricycle in the country. In most cases, this is an affordable alternative for a taxi.

A commercial stall at the Cogon Market selling mostly locally made products.

A commercial stall at the Cogon Market selling mostly locally made products.

As I search for an eatery to take my breakfast, I passed by the vegetable section in the market.

As I search for an eatery to take my breakfast, I passed by the vegetable section in the market.

Halal foods being offered in one of the eateries in Cogon Market. Halal food are prepared based on Islamic Law, as defined in the Koran.

Halal foods being offered in one of the eateries in Cogon Market. Halal food are prepared based on Islamic Law, as defined in the Koran.

I was looking for sikwate, a locally made hot chocolate drink, but I was not able to find it. On my way to Plaza Divisoria to catch the shuttle for Dahilayan Forest and Adventure Park, I came across with a street vendor selling durian fruit. I have tasted processed durian products but not the fruit itself. That said, I do not have an idea what it should look like when it raw, already ripe or starting to decay. The street vendor is selling it for only Php20.00. I was tempted to buy but told myself that I should try it in Davao City where it is more known to grow locally. Nevertheless, I took a photo of the durian fruits being sold in the street.

Durian fruits being sold in the street of Cagayan de Oro.

Durian fruits being sold in the street of Cagayan de Oro.

Dahilayan Forest and Adventure Park, Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

I reached Red Nectar Juice Café quite early for the shuttle so I stayed few minutes in McDonald’s and bought bottled water and medicine for headache in Generic Pharmacy. The shuttle arrived at around 8:20AM and left for Dahilayan Forest and Adventure Park few minutes after. Dahilayan Forest and Adventure Park is located in Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. We arrived at the park around 11:00AM.

The pickup location for Dahilayan Adventure and Forest Parks shuttle service.

The pickup location for Dahilayan Forest and Adventure Park shuttle service.

I took photos, selfies, watch other guests trying the different rides and attractions of the park and enjoyed the ambiance and surroundings. I walk around the adventure park and find my way to the forest park at the other side of the suspension bridge. Crossing the other side using the suspension bridge requires you to pay for it. What I did is to trek down the bridge to reach the other side. I took my lunch at the forest park. I learned that there is an entrance fee of Php100.00 at the forest park but I did not pay for it because I came from the adventure park. That said, if you want to save from paying the entrance fee, I suggest that you take the shuttle or park your vehicle at the forest park and enter at the adventure park.

I did not try any rides at the park as I already have tried doing a zip line in Sabang, Puerto Princesa City. I am tempted to try the drop zone but I might not be able to endure it–laughs! I think, with or without trying the rides in the park, you would still enjoy your stay at the park especially if you are into nature adventure.

Outside the park, there are vendors and a habal-habal terminal that you can hire to get to the main road. If I am not mistaken, I have read in a sign that the fare is Php150.00 for one way. I guess this is per head and usually it can take two passengers in a motorbike. You can also hire a horse for a ride. A fellow guest told me that locals charge Php50.00 for horse back riding. If you are lucky, you can buy guyabano (soursop) sold by locals for only Php10.00 a piece.

Back to Cagayan de Oro for Whitewater Rafting

We went back to Cagayan de Oro at around 3:30PM and arrived at around 5:15PM. I stayed for few hours in my room and took my dinner at the Kamayan sa Manokan. I ate Jo’s Chicken Inato and ordered Buko Halo for the dessert. I went back to the hotel after a couple of hours.

Jo's Chicken Inato at Kamayan sa Manokan

My dinner, Jo’s Chicken Inato at Kamayan sa Manokan. When I went to Tagbilaran City in Bohol, I encountered the same name, the Jo’s Chicken Inato being offered in one of the restaurants in the city. I wondered if the name is well known in central and southern part of the country.

I woke up early in the morning to prepare for water rafting by Kagay Whitewater Rafting. I went to Jollibee in Plaza Divisoria located in the corner of Don Apolinar Velez and Tirso Neri Streets, which is also near the Tourism Show House. I took my breakfast and couple of photos in the area. Whenever I eat in a restaurant, I always take a table near the window as I wanted to look around while eating. Most of the time, I meet street children looking through the glass window. I do not usually give alms but something has struck me and invited the children to dine with me. I am not a fan of people looking or staring at me. That incident made me a little awkward buying something for the kids. It turns out that they are siblings. I am happy because even at a very young age, they know how to appreciate things. They thanked me as they making their way out in the restaurant.

Jollibee restaurant at Plaza Divisoria near the Tourism Show House. This is the preferred meeting location of Kagay Whitewater Rafting because of its accessibility and easy to find.

Jollibee restaurant at Plaza Divisoria near the Tourism Show House. This is the preferred meeting location of Kagay Whitewater Rafting because of its accessibility and easy to find.

I do not want to happen what I experienced back in Puerto Princesa City so I made sure that I take my breakfast before every major activity or tour.

I do not want to happen what I experienced back in Puerto Princesa City so I made sure that I take my breakfast before every major activity or tour.

Few more minutes, the contact person from Kagay Whitewater Rafting arrived. I still waited for few more minutes for 2 guests. Of course, I want to get along with the group so I started a conversation. We had fun during the tour and on our way back to our own hotel.

This is the service jeepney by Kagay Whitewater Rafting where we rode going to the jump-off point for whitewater rafting.

This is the service jeepney by Kagay Whitewater Rafting where we rode going to the jump-off point for whitewater rafting.

There was another group who joined us. For the tour, we were divided into 2 groups. The 2 guests I met at the meeting location in Plaza Divisoria also opted for lower section whitewater rafting while the rest opted to start at the mid section. The jump-off point for the whitewater rafter is about an hour from the meeting location.

We waited the other group at the lower section for less than 30 minutes. We had orientation about whitewater rafting and what are the DOs and DON’Ts during the tour. We were taught the proper way of paddling and the importance of following directions from the team captain. I never thought that it would be fun doing the activity and it is fairly safe as long as you follow instructions.

From my left are the 2 travelers I have met during my whitewater rafting, Ja and Bert.

From my left are the 2 travelers I have met during my whitewater rafting, Ja and Bert.

Short orientation before our whitewater rafting. Giving us information about the DOs and DON'Ts during the tour.

Short orientation before our whitewater rafting. Giving us information about the DOs and DON’Ts during the tour.

The group that I joined in my whitewater rafting.

The group that I joined in my whitewater rafting.

This is the group where Ja and Bert joined.

This is the group where Ja and Bert joined.

One of the many rapids during our whitewater rafting. You have to do your part!

One of the many rapids during our whitewater rafting. You have to do your part!

I went back to my hotel and prepare for Camiguin Island. I dropped by in Kagay Whitewater Rafting office to secure a CD copy of our photos and videos. There was only one photographer for the 2 groups in our tour. The photos and videos were not sorted per group. If your group do not mind sharing a copy by just uploading it to Google Drive or if you do not mind bringing a laptop and blank CDs, I suggest that you just share the copy to save from the cost of securing one.

From the office of Kagay Whitewater Rafting, I just walked towards Centrio Mall and from there I rode a jeepney going to Agora Bus Terminal. This is where the buses going to Balingoan Port are located.

I truly enjoyed my whitewater rafting experience in Cagayan de Oro. Here is a short video clip as captured by our camera man from Kagay Whitewater Rafting.

For travel itinerary, please click here.

For travel expenses, please click here.

This is one of the destinations to my ILIGAN CITYCAGAYAN DE ORO CITYBUKIDNONCAMIGUIN ISLANDBOHOL trip with travel dates from 8th of October, 2015 to 14th of October, 2015.

By | 2017-02-26T12:27:26+00:00 November 20th, 2015|Local Travels|2 Comments

About the Author:

Elpi Garcia is a travel enthusiast who go for an adventure whenever his budget and time allow it. He is more into sight seeing for a nature-packed experience and city / town tour to understand the history and culture of the places he visit. Aside from travel, he is also interested in alternative medicine, business opportunities, website design and information technology. He maintains websites related to alternative medicine, business opportunities like eLoad Matrix and Payday Loan; and website design services.

2 Comments

  1. Ana January 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Cagayan de Oro. Do you have more photos when you visited Dahilayan Adventure park? Well Northern Mindanao has lots of adventures waiting for tourist and locals alike.

    • elpigarcia January 12, 2016 at 5:59 am - Reply

      I do but they are mostly the attractions in the adventure and nature parks. Great job on your very nice website!

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