CDO: city of golden opportunities |
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CDO: city of golden opportunities

by Jillian CariolaPublished: January 22, 2014Updated: February 16, 2015

With so many business and lifestyle opportunities, one trip to this gateway to Northern Mindanao may not be enough.

The CDO River helped the city earn the moniker “adventure capital of the Philippines”.

Misamis Oriental’s Cagayan de Oro goes by a wealth of nicknames (CDO, CdeO, CDOC, and Cag De Oro), which seems to uphold the idea that this multi-faceted city is not a one-trick pony. While over 600,000 Kagay-anons already call CDO home, the continuous development of the famed City of Golden Friendship has turned the municipality into an ideal spot for non-locals seeking business or leisure, or both.

A competitive socio-economic setting
Highly urbanized, CDO is known as a regional center and business hub in Northern Mindanao. In fact, the city recently topped the 2013 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, which evaluates places based on economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure. As the gateway to the Northern Mindanao region, it’s extremely accessible by air (through the Laguindingan Airport) and sea (through the Port of Cagayan de Oro). Within the city, public transportation such as buses, jeepneys, and taxi services (for both land and water) are readily available to take you to any destination.

CDO is regarded as the auto hub of Mindanao, hosting global car brands like BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Suzuki, and Subaru along the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan corridor.

CDO also has a budding business process outsourcing (BPO) arena, and its five hubs – Georgetown Cybermall IT Building, Limketkai IT Center, Ororama Megacenter, Robinsons Place, and SMCO IT Center – prove that it is, indeed, one of 2013’s emerging locations for BPOs as determined by the Department of Science and Technology and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

Public and private institutions
There are over 12 major hospitals in CDO, including the government-run Justiniano R. Borja Memorial Medical Hospital (formerly City Hospital), Northern Mindanao Medical Center (formerly Provincial Hospital), and the private institutions Polymedic Medical Plaza, Maria Reyna – Xavier University Hospital, and Capitol University Medical Center.   e CDO local government also operates 50 barangay health facilities and 20 family planning centers throughout the city.

CDO is home to over 250 elementary, secondary, and tertiary schools, and houses three major private universities: Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Liceo de Cagayan University, and Capitol University. Other educational institutions found in CDO are Mindanao University of Science and Technology (the city’s only state university), Lourdes College, Southern Philippines College, and Cagayan de Oro College-PHINMA Education Network.

CDO is also home to one of the most eco-friendly residential buildings in the country, ITPI (ItalPinas) P450-million, 10-story Primavera Residences located at the corner of Trade and Gran Via streets along Masterson Avenue.

Extreme tourism
Over the years, CDO has made a name for itself when it comes to extreme sports, earning the moniker “adventure capital of the Philippines”. The Cagayan de Oro River, which runs through various municipalities and tributaries, is touted as one of the sites for aquatic sports like white water rafting (which the Department of Tourism is promoting as Northern Mindanao’s banner tourism activity), river trekking, and kayaking. To avoid compromising the river’s quality despite the increasing number of travelers that visit the area, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently designated it as a “water quality management area”.

Macahambus Adventure Park, a one-stop destination for thrill seekers, offers canopy walking, rappelling, and zip lining. If you’re more of a discoverer, spelunking in the Macahambus Cave and Gorge will unfold centuries of water-formed rock formations before you exit to a veranda overlooking the Cagayan River. Mapawa Nature Park, another multi-activity destination, offers river treks that involve sliding down a 25-foot waterfall or rappelling down one that’s 65 feet high.

Left: The St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, built in 1845, is among the oldest religious structures in Mindanao. Right: The 2-week-long Kagay-an Festival honors the city’s patron saint Augustine.

Arts and heritage
CDO is a city rich in historical and environmental value, which it proudly showcases in a number of museums and heritage sites. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, the Capitol University’s Museum of Three Cultures, Xavier University’s Museo de Oro, and the La Castilla are readily open to provide information about the history and traditions of the city.

The Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village is home to botanical gardens where many of Northern Mindanao’s native flora and fauna flourish. Various tribes of Mindanao are also significantly represented through replicas of their homes, as well as displays of their arts and crafts.

The St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. Originally built in 1845, it is one of the oldest religious structures in Mindanao. While it was destroyed during CDO’s American liberation in 1945, it was rebuilt and now showcases gothic architecture featuring stained glass art.

Fun and recreation
The annual Kagay-an Festival is the locals’ celebration honoring their patron saint, St. Augustine. From the middle of August until the 28th, feast attendees are treated to various activities like the Miss Kagay’an pageant, the Agro-Trade Fair, and the Golden Float Parade. Another part of the Kagay’an Festival, the Kumbira, is a gastronomic show and exhibit that began in 1996. Organized by local hoteliers and restaurants, this delectable celebration encourages foodies to participate in food demonstrations, culinary competitions, and seminars.

Located across the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral is Gaston Park, which features a dancing fountain and a revitalized floral landscape. Another site ideal for strolls and hiking is the Vicente de Lara Park, in which the Press Freedom Monument and the Heritage Monument stand.

If you need to go shopping, CDO offers its own share of major retail centers like Limketkai Mall, Centrio (an Ayala Mall), SM City Cagayan de Oro, and Gaisano City Mall. For a more al fresco approach to spending, many of the city’s commercial businesses are located at the Plaza Divisoria, a.k.a. the Golden Friendship Park, which comes alive particularly during Friday and Saturday evenings as local merchants set up shop during the night market.

CDO’s constantly improving socio-economic conditions, tourism backdrop and overall character create enough of a pull for outsiders to visit at least once in their lives. And after discovering its many personalities, it probably won’t be long until you start itching to make your stop at this Northern Mindanao city a permanent one.


Photos courtesy of and


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