Mallberry Hotel was a good choice to stay at during my time in Cagayan De Oro and I would recommend the place for its price. Right in the city and directly across Robinson’s Mall, the hotel puts you close to alot of restaurants and bars, although the city is quite small and everything is relatively close by. The internet connectivity, for a business hotel, was lacking, but bearable for a nightly price of Php 2,000. The hotel also offers single rooms that are half that price as well and all include a tasty breakfast.
Upon exploring the city, we passed Boy Zugba, which is only a ten or fifteen minute walk away. A traditional Filipino restaurant that encourages you to use your hands to eat, the place is quite cheap too and they offer Php 1,500 large platters called Boodles, that include their bestsellers and can feed 5-6 people. If you are with a big group I strongly recommend ordering that as it gives you the opportunity to try their specialities, all of which were amazing, and immerse you into the Filipino culinary experience.
We then headed to Lifestyle to check out the night scene. An entertainment compound, the area was busy for a Thursday night and lined with bars and restaurants – a band performing in the open area courtyard really added to the atmosphere. If you have some free time do check out this place although we had an early night as white water rafting was planned the next day.
Out of six operators, we decided to go with Kagay – Malay for “river,” it has been operating for 8 years and one of the pioneers in white water rafting in the area. Coordinating with the company was seamless. They offer tours of different levels, from lower to extreme. We chose the middle one which is Php1,000 and had 24 rapids – lasting for roughly three hours. Clint was our river guide and having been with the company since the start, was very experienced and provided lots of useful information about the history of the area. However, the middle rapids might be a bit too long for some. I would recommend the lower rapids which have around 14 rapids at only Php 700 and give you the same thrilling experience. Make sure not to miss out on this outdoor adventure! Do also bring a dry bag as your phone and other valuables will get wet. I would also recommend bringing lots of water to stay hydrated as well as cheap sunglasses as there is a chance they could fall.
Another great spot to check out, especially at night, is High Ridge, a restaurant overlooking the city. There is a consumable Php 100 entrance fee but that doesn’t stop the crowd. Expect this place to be busy on any day!
The second biggest city in Mindanao, Cagayan De Oro seems like a small town yet to be developed. The food that I had though was all pretty delicious and at the price, well worth it! If you decide to spend a few more days here, I would recommend the EcoPark which we were unable to check out and the nearby Camiguin Island, known for its hot springs and lansones fruit.