Showing posts with label Cagayan de Oro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cagayan de Oro. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cagayan de Oro: Food trip at Butcher's Best Barbeque, CDO Night Cafe, Candy's, Bourbon Street, Sentro 1850, Steve's BBQ & Del Monte Clubhouse

So where does one eat at when in Cagayan de Oro? After that whitewater rafting trip or that day-trip to Bukidnon, I'm sure we're all hungry. And it's good that Cagayan de Oro has a lot of options and choices. So here's CDO for our Food Trip Series.

There's the CDO Night Cafe every Friday and Saturday night. I also visited Butcher's Best Barbeque, Candy's and Bourbon Street in Limketkai, Sentro 1850, and Steve's BBQ. Although in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, the Del Monte Clubhouse is also popular among tourists.

The roads around the plaza in Divisoria are closed every Friday and Saturday night for what is called the CDO Night Cafe. I remember when I first visited CDO in 2004, the Night Cafe was just a new idea. But way back then, it already attracted a lot of people. Today, it's an even bigger enterprise with more food stalls, mostly grilled meats and seafood. But you'd find the occasional ulam and tasty CDO lechon as well.

Speaking of barbecue, Butcher's Best serves good and affordable grilled meats as well. Try their Original Pork BBQ and Pork Sisig. But my personal favorite is the Grilled Angus Beef Belly (Php80) which is really value for money.

When I asked readers for suggestions, Candy's in Limketkai topped the list. Halibut with Fresh Sea Scallops (Php875) was among the highly-recommended dishes. I was told I should have tried the pizza too. Among the dishes we had were the Roasted Chicken with Panzanella (Php345) served with roasted capsicum, artichoke hearts, fresh orange slices, yam, tomatoes and seasoned with warm honey vinaigrette; and Baby Back Ribs (Php345).

For dessert, we tried out their Ice Cream Cake.

Also in Limketkai is Bourbon Street Cafe which serves New Orleans cuisine. I got to try their Cajun Tacos (Php180) and the Beignets with Caramel Sauce (Php110) which they are quite famous for.

Jet Jeff suggested two more restaurants in Limketkai namely Kagay-anon Restaurant and Country Steakhouse (they serve ostrich meat) as well as La Vetta for a gourmet experience.

For more streetfood, Mckoi Pernia suggests chicken a la carte (yes it's a cart) that sprouts around the Cogon Market after 8 p.m. His favorite is Steve's which has now moved to their own restaurant along J.R. Borja Extension near Limketkai. He adds that he remembers 3 a.m. post-gimmick meals at this one particular carinderia inside the Cogon Public Market which serves piping hot Humba and Balbacua (pork knuckle soup).

Another place we had dinner at was Sentro 1850. Among the dishes we ordered was Ima's Kawali (crispy deep fried pork belly with liver sauce and spicy vinaigrette) and Grilled Balinese Swordfish. Sentro also was an interesting selection of foreign beers.

Although not in CDO, visitors to Cagayan de Oro troop to the Del Monte Clubhouse in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to try their steak. I missed this the last time. So I made sure we ate here on the way to Dahilayan. Yes, we had steak for breakfast!

Well, I didn't have time and space to eat at every place interesting. But here are more suggestions from Jet Jeff. He suggests the old noodle houses of CDO which have been serving customers for decades. There's Yees Kitchenette along Cruz Taal Street, La Paz Batchoy along Capistrano Street, and Bagong Lipunan which now has several branches. He adds "We should support these establishments as they are part of our city's cultural heritage. A few years ago, Ah Fat Bakery, which was one if not the oldest in the city, closed down. They baked salted bread or pan de sal in a brick oven."

Speaking of heritage food, make sure to try binaki or steamed corn cakes when you are in CDO. It's one of the best native snacks I've had. I wonder why it isnt't as popular as it should be. You'll know what I mean when you taste it. Manny Gaerlan suggest that you try also the different home-grown brand of hams such as Oroham, Slers and Pine. Anyway, that sure made me hungry again! Time to schedule another food trip to CDO!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cagayan de Oro: Whitewater rafting and the Dahilayan Adventure Park

Earlier this year, I flew to Cagayan de Oro to try out the famous CDO whitewater rafting courses and visit Bukidnon's newest adventure attractions, the Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park. Little did I realize that I would be back again this month for more fun!

Straight from the airport, we motored to Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon for the trip to Dahilayan. But we made sure to stopover the Del Monte Clubhouse for breakfast (I missed this when I was here in January). Yes, we had their famous steak for breakfast! I'll discuss more about the food we had in another entry.

From there, we went through the Del Monte pineapple plantations and Camp Phillips to get to Dahilayan, quite close to Mount Kitanglad. The Dahilayan Adventure Park is famous for the longest dual-cable zip line in Asia. While the Dahilayan Forest Park has a host of recreational facilities and activities including ATV and buggy rides through a challenging but fun off-road course around the park, Astrozorbit and Aquazorbit rides, and picnic grounds among many others things to do.

After finishing our activities, we had lunch at Cowboy's Grill (popular choices are grilled lamb or ostrich) before proceeding back to CDO. Anyway, here's more information on Dahilayan.

The next day, we did the Advanced 1 whitewater rafting course along the Cagayan River. The last time, we simply did the Basic course. There's also Advanced 2 and Extreme which I'll definitely try next time. The jump-off point for the Advanced 1 course is at the highway boundary between CDO and Bukidnon.

It was a fun morning as we went through at least 21 rapids. To mute the monotony, we did some crazy stuff too such as surfing the rapids. The guide would signal everyone to stand up on the raft during select rapids. And if you don't balance well, everyone tumbles down the raft too which is equally fun.

Sometimes, the raft would slam a large wave which makes things even more exciting. When you reach calmer areas, the guide would allow you to jump off the boat for a swim.

At the end, lunch awaits. It will all depend on the arrangements you've made or the tour company you've booked with (there are two end-points). But you'll definitely be hungry by the time the trip ends. So make sure you've arranged a sumptuous lunch. Ours was none other than CDO lechon, tuna panga, pansit and binaki (steamed corn cakes), one of the best native desserts I've ever had. Here's more information on whitewater rafting in the Cagayan River.

Dahilayan Forest Park
(0917) 7154399
Accommodation: Family Suites (4 to 6 persons) Php5,000; Standard (good for 3) Php2,800; Twin (good for 2) Php2,800; Deluxe (good for 4) Php3,200; Barkada Room (minimum of 10) Php400/person
Activities: Buggy Ride Php800/person; ATV Php500/person both inclusive of Php100 entrance fee; Astrozorbit and Aquazorbit Php250/person; Bungee Trampoline Php150/person; Tree Top Adventure Php250/person

Dahilayan Adventure Park
(0922) 8801319
Accommodation at Pinegrove Mountain Lodge: Family Room (good for 6) Php5,000; Standard (good for 3 with free breakfast for 2) Php2,800; Deluxe (good for 3 with free breakfast for 2) Php3,200; Suite (good for 3 with free breakfast for 2) Php3,500

Swift Travel + Tours
14 G/F Pelaez Sports Center, A. Velez Street, Cagayan de Oro City
(088) 8573897 / (08822) 727629 / (0922) 8333136 to 38

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Cagayan de Oro: Whitewater rafting in the Cagayan River

Whitewater rafting is a very popular activity for those visiting Cagayan de Oro. It was actually a visit of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon several years back which created a lot of buzz for Cagayan de Oro's top adventure activity. Today, there are several companies which offer whitewater rafting trips down the Cagayan River, seven companies I was told.

The good thing about the whitewater rafting trips in Cagayan de Oro is that you don't need to form a group to schedule one. All you have to do is book a trip at least a day in advance through your hotel or directly with any of the companies, and they'll pick you up from your hotel and drive you over to the Cagayan River. If you're just one or two, they'll group you with other guests, just like what we did.

In fact, this experience is so convenient, you could actually take the first flight to Cagayan de Oro, go whitewater rafting, have lunch, then take the last flight out of Cagayan de Oro.

It takes about 45 minutes to get to from downtown Cagayan de Oro to the jump-off point. Everyone is given a helmet, life jacket and paddle for the trip down the river. After a safety briefing by the crew, the group is off.

I was quite surprised that there were really young kids in another group. I asked if there was an age limit. And I was told it's the discretion of the parents since they are the ones who sign the waivers. Dangerous as it may seem, whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro is quite safe.

The three-hour trip takes you through a series of fourteen rapids for the regular course. If your guide is a bit naughty, he'd purposely cause the rubber raft to capsize to add to the thrill. Good thing that didn't happen to us. In some of the rapids, our guide would ask us to stand which was really fun.

In areas where the river is calm, we were allowed to get off the raft for a swim. For an extra fee, you can ask them to take photos and videos of your trip which we did.

At the end point of the trip is a restaurant called the Cabula River Grill. Their best seller would be the Lechon Baka (Php180) which we made sure to try. After lunch, we proceeded back to CDO. In fact, I had time for a power nap before taking the last flight out.

Never miss the whitewater rafting experience when in Cagayan de Oro. In fact, I'll try the advanced whitewater rafting course when I return to CDO.

Swift Travel + Tours
14 G/F Pelaez Sports Center, A. Velez Street, Cagayan de Oro City
(088) 8573897 / (08822) 727629 / (0922) 8333136 to 38

Thanks to Karlo de Leon for editing my videos from Cagayan de Oro.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental: Bus trip to Nothern Mindanao

The bus left Davao City at 2:30 a.m. I tried to get as much sleep as I could but it was quite difficult since the seats were too stiff. Good thing I had the whole row to myself since there weren't a lot of passengers. So I was able to sleep on my backpack. The next thing I knew was the bus was already in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. The sun was already out but the temperature was quite cool. The climate in Malaybalay is very pleasing since it is located in a high altitude.

It was back to sleep when we left the bus station and I woke up again when the bus stopped over for breakfast at a canteen in Impasug-Ong. The views of the nearby mountains were just spectacular. It reminded me that outside Metro Manila and its suburbs, so much of the Philippines is still pristine and untouched. I hope we keep these areas the way they are. From there, the road zigzagged up and down green mountains offering breathtaking views of the hilly agricultural province.

I arrived at the Agora Bus Station in Cagayan de Oro at about 9 a.m. and could distinctly remember the hot and humid weather which greeted me when I got off the bus. I was told CDO has exceptionally hot weather. I waited there since my SSEAYP batchmates MJ and Simone Moneva were picking me up for breakfast.

We went straight to Rosario Arcade in Limketkai for a buffet breakfast at East Wok, a Chinese restaurant. The food was filling especially after the long trip from Davao. After breakfast, we passed by the Misamis Oriental Capitol for a while since MJ had to meet a client. So I was able to go around the capitol grounds with Sim. There was a provincial tourism and trade fair on the grounds so we went around to check it out.

After that, we drove north towards Jasaan since I wanted to visit the church which was declared a national cultural treasure in 2001. On the way, we dropped Simone off at the Polymedic Hospital in Tagoloan since she had to meet her patients.

I was not quite impressed with the Jasaan Church. If it were compared to other churches in the country, it would look quite ordinary. It reminded me of my impressions of the churches in Tabaco, Albay and Bacong, Negros Oriental. I guess they declared it since it was the best-preserved church in Misamis Oriental and rare since it was in Mindanao. Built by the Jesuits in the late 19th to early 20th century, I think a more significant element of the church is its convent, an old wooden structure with huge wooden posts.

In Jasaan, I waited for a bus to the ferry terminal in Balingoan which was still an hour away. I spent PHP50 for the bus ride. There used to be fastcrafts from Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin but since some politicians in Camiguin wanted to earn from it as well, the operator had no choice but to increase his fare to accommodate this unnecessary expense. As a result, people still used the ferry service in Balingoan and the one from CDO was forced to close. So one has no choice but to use this slow ferry service to the island.

More photos of Misamis Oriental in Multiply.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Surigao del Norte: Maradjao karadjao Surigao!

Here is another those trips from my archives. I attended an annual convention of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) in Surigao City in October 2003. Since there are no direct flights to Surigao, I had to fly to Butuan City first. From the airport, we were met by the organizers who had a ready vehicle for us to Surigao City, the capital of Surigao del Norte, which was two hours away.

For the first two days, I had to endure the boring part which was the convention proper filled with speeches, lectures and keynote addresses! Hehe! But I was able to venture around the downtown area late in the afternoon when sessions were over. They have an American colonial period city hall in front of what is known as Luneta Park. Some of the better features of the park is a large sundial and pre-war acacia trees bordering the plaza.

As part of the convention, there was also a showcase of ethnic Mamanwa-inspired dances from Surigao's Bonok-Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival in the grounds of the Surigao Provincial Capitol, another elegant colonial building.

On the last day, they took us around the city and one of the places we visited was the Mabua Pebble Beach. The beach, which is about 30 minutes from the town proper, is most known for its kilometer-long stretch of fine round stones, native huts set in a natural backdrop of coconut tree-laden hills. We arrived just in time for its famous dramatic sunset.

If only I had more time, I would have joined the trip to Siargao Island the next day. But I had decided to move my return flight to Manila from Butuan to Cagayan de Oro in order to explore more of Mindanao.

So the next day, I took the bus back to Butuan City, the capital of Agusan del Norte, where I stayed for a night at the relaxing Almont Inland Resort thanks to promo rates for Cebu Pacific passengers. Among the places I visited was the Butuan National Museum, the "repository of historical and cultural materials and artifacts that proves Butuan’s prehistoric existence and rich cultural heritage."

One place I missed, and its such a shame that I did, was the Balangay Shrine Museum which is the attraction Butuan in most known for. The balangays of Butuan were declared national cultural treasures. I even bought myself a really nice miniature balangay to take home for display.

The next day, before leaving for Cagayan de Oro, I made a trip to the local market to look out for more cultural souvenirs. I was quite happy to find a shop selling different kinds of local salakots. And I bought several of them for my collection. After lunch, the hotel service took me to the bus station for my three hour trip to Cagayan de Oro, the capital of Misamis Oriental.

In CDO, my SSEAYP batchmate MJ picked me up at the station. The plan was for us to visit the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village. But it was raining really hard when I arrived so we weren't able to do much. We met up with another batchmate Andy later in the evening and had dinner at the outdoor ihawans and food stalls along Magsaysay Avenue. But I was lucky since it was fruit season and I got to savor a Mindanao fruit which many of us in Luzon do not know about. I had one whole marang fruit all to myself! Hehe! Yummy!

My flight back to Manila was the next morning so I was not able to really do much. Again it was such a quick trip and I was not as adventurous then as I am now. Hehe! I'll hopefully be back in Cagayan de Oro this September en route to Camiguin.
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