The big Fiesta day celebration is now right around the corner. As promised, I will list down the things I love most about living in Cagayan de Oro. As a backgrounder, I’m not from here. I was born in Manila, went to the US at age 9, came to Cagayan de Oro at age 19 and have been a happy Cagayanon ever since. Why? You will see below.
Oh yeah, a big thanks to all those who participated in the question I posted. Be it an email response or a comment on my blog entry…thank you. I wish there was more participation, but well, what’s done is done.
Anyway, I compiled 8 reasons why CDO is so dear to me and the respondents. I will put 4 here, the rest will be in a later entry.
1. Relatively little traffic and pollution.
Lesser traffic is one of the more obvious blessings of CDO when you compare it to other cities in the country. Ok, this year’s Fiesta is an exception because of the construction of several flyovers, but when all that is done traffic will be even easier to stand than before.
My friend, Penny’s response was that you can get to anywhere in the city in 20-30 minutes max. She’s right. I can get to the mall in two minutes; the wet market in ten minutes; work in a little less than fifteen (including picking up carpoolers); the airport in five; the hospital in ten; church in twenty…you get the picture.
The quality of the air is also more tolerable as compared to our other cities. In our nation’s capital city, my gosh. White streamers hanging outside turn brown in no time; and asthma is rampant. But in CDO? Well, unless you hang around Divisoria all the time, the air is better here. This is especially true if you live in the Xavier Estates/Pueblo de Oro area, like I do.
2. The beach and the mountains are very close by.
Another great thing about CDO is its geographical location. We are so blessed to be a sea-side town, yet the mountains are only a stone’s throw (as fast as 45 minutes) away. My friends who live elsewhere can enjoy the mountains but not the beach; others enjoy the beach but not the mountains. We can enjoy the natural blessings of both.
I don’t recommend going to the beaches right on the edge of town, though (you’ll have to travel out of town for a few minutes). But still, we are so blessed to have both very close by.
3. Cheap, healthy, and abundant food.
Family and friends from other cities always stock up on good eats before leaving, because they can enjoy fruits and other food at a much cheaper price than what they get where they live. Some of them, bewildered, ask “Do these guys want to make a profit? How come it’s so cheap?”
And indeed, the food here is great. Our visitors envy us that we can enjoy a plentiful supply of durian, marang, jackfruit, lanzones and others. In trying to stock up on the things we so abundantly enjoy, they stink up the planes and other transpo on their way back to their own homes.
I also love the roadside stalls on the highway on the way to the beach or to the mountains, selling all kinds of fruits at very low prices. Not only do I love the prices, but I also love that much of the stuff is grown at the sellers’ backyards, so there’s no herbicides and pesticides and other bad stuff that you wouldn’t want on your food.
4. Very nice people.
Cagayan de Oro is not called the “City of Golden Friendship” for nothing. The people here, for the most part, are truly nice, fun loving, and simple folk. Friends, such as my co-worker Elaine, who have gone on and settled in other parts have commented that the people in their current location are not as warm as the people from their home town.
Sure, there’s poverty in many parts of CDO, and so you’d have to be careful with your stuff. Indeed, I’ve had some bad experiences with petty theft since I stayed here. But take it as a lesson in vanity, and a lesson in the need to take care of your things. I don’t wear the kind of bling I used to wear, and I feel fine. Better even.
In spite of that, this city truly does earn its reputation as the City of Golden Friendship. Filipinos are known for being hospitable, but Cagayanons take it to another level. I’ve been treated so well since I came here. Maybe it’s because I was the new kid in town and I had an American accent, but still…people here are so, so, so nice.
There are four more reasons why I love Cagayan de Oro City so much, and I will post them in part two of this article. You can also do some last minute suggestions in the form of comments, and I will do my best to include them as well.
Happy Fiesta everyone, and enjoy the long weekend.
Update: Here's part 2 of this article. Enjoy!