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The city is known as the ‘Gateway to Northern Mindanao’ because of its key location on the shores of the island. The capital of the Misamis Oriental province and the regional government and commercial centre for Region 10, the northern district of Mindanao Island, Cagayan de Oro is a bustling, cosmopolitan city. It is home to leading universities, including the Capital University, Xavier University and Liceo de Cagayan University, recognised for their work in medicine and agriculture. They give the city a vibrant edge and a large student population. Bookshops can be found on almost every corner. The city is surrounded by vast plantations, including those of the Bukidnon province, famous for its pineapples. Not to be confused with the Cagayan province in Northern Luzon or Cagayan islands, the city of Cagayan de Oro can trace its history back to the 1st century AD. Little remains of the original city due to a fire that destroyed most of its buildings in 1901. As a result, the Plaza Divisoria, a huge area of parks that divide the city, was designed and developed as a fire break. Today, it is where residents can be seen jogging, reading in the sunshine or quietly contemplating. Within the Plaza Divisoria is Bonifacio Park where local soldiers who fought for the country are honoured.
The city offers residents and visitors many things, including fine restaurants, great hotels and the chance to enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking along the Cagayan de Oro river, festivals, golf, spas, museums like the La Castilla Museum and the Museo de Oro, famous for their antiquities, and horse riding or trekking in the Mapawa Nature Park. With many huge malls, the city is also the shopping mecca of the Mindanao region.
Eating out in Cagayan de Oro can be as extensive or as light as you wish. Many of the local dishes comprise fish marinated in wine, lemon and spices (such as the popular Kinilaw). Grilled meats and poultry can usually be found on the menus of most eateries as well. As befits a cosmopolitan city, there are restaurants to suit all tastes. Keep an eye out for French, Italian, Mexican, Indian and, of course, Oriental eateries. Many restaurants offer al fresco dining.
Cagayan de Oro has a café society lifestyle with many establishments having outside eating areas. The city’s cafés offer a great way to eat quickly and informally while out sightseeing or shopping.
The nightlife in Cagayan de Oro is a mix of nightclubs and bars that are open from around 7pm through to midnight, or later on Friday and Saturday nights. Cagayan de Oro offers bingo halls, evening sports events and restaurants. There is something to suit all ages and preferences, as befits a vibrant, cosmopolitan city like Cagayan de Oro.
Cagayan de Oro is famous for being ‘the’ place to shop in northern Mindanao. Shopping malls and specialist shops dominate the city centre, and it’s possible to find just about everything from crazy fashion items to works of art, household items and electrical appliances. Some of the popular shopping areas are along the Don Apolinar Velez Street and Jr Borja Street. Of the malls, the first and one of the largest is the landmark Limketkai Shopping Mall in Lapasan. It has department stores and numerous shops selling fashions, cell phones and home furnishing goods to restaurants, four cinemas and children’s play areas. Visitors can get their eyes tested, have a spa treatment, do some banking and have their photos printed too. An atrium in the centre often hosts exhibitions and concerts. Other malls include Makro in Kauswagen highway, Gaisano City Mall in Corrales Street, Ororama Supercenter and Megacenter, and the SM City at Upper Carmen, Pueblo de Oro Business Park. The city has many markets too, the most notable being the city centre Cogon Public Market.
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