THE CAGAYAN DE ORO – CAMIGUIN SAGA 2010
Lucky! That’s what I tag this trip. I booked this itinerary with Cebu Pacific’s Piso Fare promo in October 2009. Got lucky when I was able to book two seats because servers were down at that time. Probably this trip was meant to be. But there were major problems that I encountered days before this trip. First, Sheila advised that she can’t accompany me on this trip because she ran out of vacation leaves. Darn it! I realized that this might be the first time that I would have to actually travel alone! And to Mindanao at that. Second, I don’t have reservations yet because I lost heart to do so and most of the inns/budget hotels don’t have their own websites so I can’t inquire and reserve at the same time. And third, if I would have to travel on my own that would mean that this trip would be very expensive despite having the cheapest ever fare that I got.
And maybe, I’m still one of the luckiest person on earth. Janyl, my best friend, thought of traveling to Cagayan de Oro is a great idea! With the deal that I got, she went for it.
June 16, 2010 I departed from NAIA Terminal 3 at exactly 5:20AM. The plane was not full at that time so I had the chance to transfer to a comfortable seat. I was traveling with Muslims I should say; probably because Cagayan de Oro City is an hour and a half away from Manila and is actually one of the jump off points going to virtually anywhere in the Mindanao region. My adventure started while waiting for Janyl’s arrival at the Oro Airport Lounge. Since I came to Cagayan de Oro with no reservations whatsoever and time to kill, I tried to locate for a public pay phone so I could make inquiries and reserve for our accommodations, etc. To my dismay, there were no public phones around the airport area! I was told that the phone lines were stolen by some thugs days before. Now I’m lost! Well, it doesn’t matter, I’m in the City of Golden Friendship, what the hell could go wrong?
Day 1: White Water Rafting With Kagay
Janyl arrived past 11AM with Jollibee burgers and peach mango pies with her but we didn’t have the chance to eat them though. We became busy planning our itinerary for the next 3 days. At past 12PM, Howard from Kagay came to pick us up for our white water rafting activity. These people are really very easy to deal with. The reservation was made the very same day, only hours before the said activity. Another luck! Although I opted for the advance rafting course, they reserved 2 slots for the beginner’s course because that’s the only available course for that afternoon. But that’s good enough for me, just to be able to follow our itinerary as planned. Kagay charged Php700 per person for the activity. It included everything that you needed for rafting: rafting experts and equipments, even the transportation going to the river. After signing our waiver forms, we were then brought to the site where the adventure will begin.
After changing to our rafting attires, our river guides handed off the rafting gears and assembled us at a nearby shed to introduce themselves. They would also be teaching us the basic commands used in rafting. Howard used Bukidnon in reference to the east section and Cagayan which refers to the west section of the river for starters. He also taught us how to raft correctly. He also taught us what to do in case we fell off the raft while we’re at the rapids. He said that it’s inevitable for someone to fall off since the 14 rapids are naturally incalculable. After some clarifications, we were all excited to board our rafts and just follow where the river flows.
After almost 4 hours of traversing through 14 rapids (luckily nobody fell off from the raft), we were exhausted so Janyl and I ate the burgers and peach mango pies that she brought from Manila. And after recovering from exhaustion, hunger and thirst there were a few things I realized during the rafting. One of them is the proper attire for the activity. We didn’t came prepared so here are some of my suggestions:
- Swimwears preferably quick dry clothes
- Rash guards or long sleeves (4 hours under the sun)
- Aqua shoes, sandals or slippers (preferably with straps)
- Sun blocks or sun screens
- Your sense of humor (ang pikon laging talo!)
Howard was kind enough and offered to drop us off at our hotel after the rafting. And since we didn’t have any reservations, I just told him to drop us at Park View Hotel (which by the way is the first inn that I wrote in my list). On our way to the hotel, I can’t stop admiring how clean and beautiful Cagayan de Oro is. The city is clean in the sense that the local government was successful in trying to keep the traffic flow organized, the buildings or business establishments are well-maintained, trees are abundant and most of all no litter around! I might actually consider living in CdeO if this is always the case.
Luck still played a good role when we actually chose to stay in Park View Hotel. Aside from the fact that the rates are budget-friendly (Php550 per night for a two-bed air-conditioned clean room); the staff is very helpful and courteous; the hotel is in proximity with the majority of the business establishments in the area. In other words, we got what we needed. Our hotel is facing BPI Bank and on the west side just a few steps away is the Plaza Divisoria already where there are a number of choices to satisfy our gastronomic wants without having to go that far. Lucky!
After enjoying the cool temperature inside our room, we decided to wander around Plaza Divisoria in search for a restaurant that serves good food and has free wifi connection. We headed further north until we found Brew Berry Cafe. They serve chicken, pasta, pizza and baby back ribs at affordable prices! What a surprise, lucky we chose this restaurant from a variety of choices down there! I tried the chicken and pasta (around Php150 for the combo) while Janyl tried the baby back ribs (around Php150 for the meal). After dinner, we decided to call it a night by chilling at Bo’s Coffee Club just a few walks away from Brew Berry Cafe.
For my suggestions on how to plan for your trip to Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin on a budget, you might want to click this link. But wait, there’s more on Cagayan de Oro-Camiguin here.