When a place gets nicknamed the ‘City of Golden Friendship’, you don’t need a reason to come here – you’d need reasons not to (and we don’t have any)
Where? Cagayan de Oro is a city in Mindanao, and the capital of the Misamis Oriental province.
How? Hop on a daily flight from Manila to Lumbia or Laguindingan airport. You can also catch a ferry here from Manila, Cebu and Iloilo.
Why? If you’re into whitewater rafting, grab your paddles – this is the Philippines’ premier whitewater destination. Cagayan River, famed for its high-octane rapids, is a 40-minute drive from the city centre (where cultural perks await).
What? Having tested your metal on the river, continue the adventure at Macahambus Hill Cave and Gorge, where you can have a mini history lesson from your guide (the Battle of Macahambus Hill was the first Filipino victory against the Americans). Swap history for zip-lining across a 120-metre drop. Mapawa Nature Park has plenty for thrill-seekers: trekking, rappelling and hurtling waterfalls. Back in the city, learn about the local culture at Museo de Oro, find out about the people of Northern Mindanao at the Museum of Three Cultures and admire traditional tribal houses at the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village. Have a relaxing picnic – and people-watch – in Gaston Park. If you’re here in August, don’t miss the two-week Higalaay Festival, a colourful carnival dedicated to St. Augustine.
Try… Local street food at Cagayan de Oro’s night market, in the Plaza Divisoria. For something a little more fancy, hit Centrio mall, which houses some upscale restaurants (plus some swanky shops).