Last year, I had the pleasure of returning to the home of my ancestors after nine long years. I may have grown up in Cavite and it may have been the place where my roots lie, but I feel that Misamis Oriental is still vital part of my being. It felt good to be in a town full of people whose surnames (and middle names) are the same as mine. You see, it is very unusual to meet someone here in Luzon who’s also an Agcopra. Anyway, I had the time of my life experiencing things for the first time with my Mama and Papa.
The reason why we set off for Misamis Oriental or MisOr, as we call it, is to attend my Ate Chin’s wedding. It was originally supposed to be just my parents, but since I was still unemployed that time and I got nothing else better to do, they decided to count me in.
It was in 2007 when we first went to MisOr. That trip makes me nostalgic up to this day. Our Lola Puring was still alive back then, as well as Papa Toto. I can still remember the place almost vividly. I am fully aware that nothing has ever been the same since 2007. Nevertheless, I was excited to come back.
After the wedding, we took the opportunity to reunite with our relatives and explore the province as well. I was particularly looking forward to trying out the popular white-water rafting experience in CDO.
The wedding took place in San Lorenzo Ruiz Filipino-Chinese Catholic Church. We stayed at Limketkai Luxe Hotel in Cagayan de Oro for two nights for the wedding. Then, we transferred to a nearby hostel on the third night.
Centrio, an Ayala Mall in CDO, was our go-to place. We had most of our meals there and that was where bought all our necessities for the entire trip.
On our third day (which fell on a Sunday), we decided to hear Mass at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral. I find the church really beautiful, with its black facade and dainty interior.
The Gaston Park is just a few meters away from the Church. It is also where the Memorial Wall for the victims of Typhoon Sendong was erected. After offering a short prayer for the names etched in the stone wall, we left for our next stop.
Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the province. Although located in the city, it provides a refreshing walk for visitors. Enjoy a relaxing stay as the lush green of surroundings and breathtaking views of Cagayan de Oro occupy your senses.
There are monkey bars and hanging bridges for the visitors to try out. There is also a pool for those who are staying in for the night.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the photo above. If you happen to be the photographer, kindly reach me so I can credit you properly. Thank you!
It was almost dark when we set off for El Salvador to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine. It was already closed when we reached the place. Fortunately, the guards granted us a few minutes to take a glimpse of the gigantic statue of the Divine Mercy. I would love to see the shrine in daylight! I wish I can go back soon.
The fourth day of our Misamis Oriental trip was devoted for the most-anticipated white-water rafting experience. On the way to the river, we stopped by Macahambus Cave, a 200-meter historical cave, to take a few photos inside.
It was my first time to try out spelunking! Even though it took us less than five minutes to pass through the cave, I was still awed by the experience.
We availed the white-water rafting services of Kagay. The trip to the Cagayan de Oro River is already included in the package. They will fetch you from the hotel you are staying in with a jeepney. However, since we have Tito Jojo driving us around, we drove all the way to Macahambus Cave and rode the jeep from there.
The experience was a thrilling adventure! It was unforgettable. There is no better way to make the most out of any Cagayan de Oro trip than trying white-water rafting. Our tour guide, Kuya Gieko, made everything better by cracking jokes every now and then, teaching us how to paddle properly, and making sure that we get to ride the rapids safely. It was truly one for the books!
We spent the last three days of our trip in Salay. It was where my ancestors came from. It was coming home to a place full of people who welcome you with warm smiles and familiar stories. We went to spend a day at Del Carmen Beach Resort in Lagonglong with the whole clan. Everybody had so much fun. We capped the day off with a karaoke session at our Auntie Joy’s house.
It felt really fulfilling going back to Misamis Oriental after quite a while. Although I am missing a lot of people terribly (some passed away, some are away from the province, some left home for good), it was still a trip I will never forget. I know I will be back again soon and hopefully, everyone I miss will be back home, too. I know nothing will go back to how it was before, but at least, the whole clan could reunite again.
Big thanks to the people who took good care of us during the trip–Tito Jojo and Tita Annie, Kuya Julius, and Kuya Peewee!