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Cagayan De Oro Tourist Spots

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Cagayan De Oro is like a chunk of Manila: shopping malls and fastfood chains sprouting everywhere, annoying air pollution from the mufflers of cabs, jeepneys and private ones all contributing to traffic in the roads. However there is one mode of transportation that caught my attention during my three-day stay there. The motorela or "rela" is only found in Cagayan de Oro and in Northern Mindanao but no other versions of this anywhere in the Philippines. It is somewhat a combination of Thailand's tuktuk and our very own jeepney. It can fit 10 people inside and I am just a little amazed of this because it is three - wheeled (1 wheel in front & 2 wheels in the rear) vehicle used for short distance transportation and it has a slanted appearance which the rear part of it appears to be heavier than the front. Not many Filipinos know this unless those who have been here!

The cheapest way to stay in Cagayan de Oro is staying at Budgetel Hotel. Why? If you want a room it costs only 600 per night but if you are a dead cheap backpacker you can stay at their dormitory for as low as P250 per night! Yeah just bring your valuables when you leave since you share  the room with others. It is very near  Gaisano Mall and just in front of Capitol University . I skipped whitewater rafting which Cagayan de Oro is known for. I wanted to go the less touristic spots and see some not so known but also good to visit at. Meeting the locals is perhaps the best to do when one is in a strange place. You cannot appreciate the beauty of the place without listening to the locals of the place.There is this website for travelers, Couchsurfing that has been very instrumental for me in meeting fellow travelers and locals.

Charlie is a Filipino citizen but originally from USA. He married a fellow Filipina whom he met in the same website I found him so he is staying here for love. Yay! cheesy. I was very surprised of his very sharp observation of the country's peace, law and order thinking he is a foreigner here. He also shared his moderated conviction and harshness of words for the government. I admire the courage though really. He was right when he said not many Filipinos are bold enough to stand up for country's peace, law and order because most are spending their time for survival - working and working and working for food to be eaten by their family! We have been very, very particular the so-called proud whenever we mention these "Filipino culture" when living is not always about what culture you belong to but it is all about equal rights. Whether you are a local, an expat or a mixed blood here in the Philippines, everyone should have equal rights under the government's law. I definitely agree.

Charlie brought me to his Swiss friend Rene who has been living in Cagayan de Oro for almost 20 years because of love as well. He is married to a Filipina. What is very interesting about this couple is their house or houses I would say! Instead of building a one house that would consist of many floors up what they did is they built four houses not far from each other! These houses are very typical kind of made of bamboo walls, mixture of some Swiss art and a number of indigenous materials. The surroundings they fill it with plants, coral stones and 3 statues of nude women! The houses and the gardens all speak of their creativity.

This couple owns an organic farm. They grow their own veggies and fruits, they grow their own sugar and they even raise the pigs and chickens they eat! They are very particular about healthy living. You may check their farm the Ki Bathala Gardens. Their sons one of whom is a celebrity/model based in Manila are busy promoting an upcoming concert the Musikalawaig which is not an ordinary kind of concert that will be held in their organic farm is a mix of culture and art.

I was eating at the cafe of the hotel I am checked in and Philipp, a blond-haired German guy came in holding his laptop. Call me exaggerated but the moment I saw him, smiled and said 'Hi' I knew he is a fellow traveler as well not just a tourist. Well I was right I did not know who started the conversation first but after a few minutes we started talking and it was like "Hell no, really?" because we both found out we are members of this travel website I mentioned above. He said he has been here for seven months last year visiting the country's beaches for surfing and he said he is extending another year because "I feel inlove with your country." Then he looked at me straight to my eyes like he is really dead serious he will visit all if not most of the beaches all throughout his trip. 

Divisoria of Cagayan de Oro: Grilled food, ukay - ukay and body massage!
It was Saturday late afternoon when I arrived. Perfect timing for me to see what it is like a local's way of shopping in a place they call Divisoria that only happens every Fridays and Saturdays. It is like a night market from 6PM to 12MN where 2 parallel streets I think as long as the Megamall are closed and transient eateries offer food mostly grilled and second hand stuffs are sold. Cagayanons love grilled seafood! What they sell in ukay- ukay are very far from the ones that we have here in Manila which looked like been passed around to a dozen people. What they have are for me first-class-second-hand stuffs that are so cheap really. I also tried a full body massage from an old lady belonging to a group of blind people and I was like "Can I bring Manang to Manila?". So head to Divisoria if you happen to go there on weekends!

The Divine Mercy of El Salvador

The Divine Mercy of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental has an image of Jesus Christ's 50 foot tall which is about 30 minutes to 45 minutes away from the main Cagayan de Oro area. If you are not wearing proper dress attire fear not you will be asked to wear a long floral skirt you can borrow and a long scarf. Like me I was wearing a sleeveless and a skirt a little over my knees. This is my usual outfit when I travel, always light so that my backpack bag is always lighter than ever.

From  Gaisano Mall you may take a jeepney that is for El Salvador. Tell them you be dropped at Divine Mercy. The drivers know this place very much then you will need to rent a motorcycle to go up for 5 minutes only.  

It was really raining hard that I find it hard to stay there longer. But I did managed to offer a prayer and thanks to these three kids who became my buddies and took photos for me. I gave them some few coins when I left. This is the challenge of travelling solo you got to find a way to keep things going!

The rest of my stories please click the links below:
Malasag Eco-tourism Village
The Museum of Three Cultures in Capitol University

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