Cagayan de Oro City is one of the fastest-growing tourism hubs in the Philippines. As the regional center of Northern Mindanao, it propelled the region to rank 4th in domestic visitor arrivals and 7th in total tourist arrivals in the country in 2011. From 2007 to 2011, the city’s tourist influx, both domestic and foreign, grew at an average rate of 9% annually. In 2012, tourist arrivals surged by 18% due largely to the city’s growing popularity as a leisure and meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) destination.
Nestled between the tranquil Macajalar Bay and the verdant Kitanglad Mountain Range, Cagayan de Oro City is a gateway to other tourist destinations in Northern Mindanao – from the highlands of Bukidnon, to the rich marine resources of Camiguin Island, and to the majestic waterfalls of Iligan City. Cagayan de Oro is a multi-cultural hub showcasing historical landmarks, museums, worldclass accommodation facilities and amenities as well as a wide range of modern retail and recreational facilities.
The city’s strategic location gives tourists myriad choices of adventure-based activities— whether by the river, the sea or the mountains. As the country’s premier whitewater rafting destination, the breath-taking rapids of the Cagayan de Oro River make for a most exhilarating and unforgettable experience. While visitors ride out the challenging rapids that follow in quick succession, they are presented with a picturesque landscape of jagged limestone cliffs and rocks, virgin forests, and a resting haven of animals in the wild.
Tucked away in the mountains of Malasag, some 30 minutes from the city center, is the Mapawa Nature Park. It sits on a 2,500-hectare property and is ecologically protected and sustainably managed. The park boasts of an abundance of magnificent waterfalls, imposing views, and lush flora and fauna as well as exciting activities. Visitors rappel alongside the 65-foot waterfall, dip in the cold spring water, ride a horse through the woods, and take the gripping zip lines. Also located within the area is the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Village that features tribal houses set amidst nature trails.
Cagayan de Oro is a key MICE destination in Southern Philippines even if present convention facilities are limited. With the help of investors, the city can bolster its position in the meetings sector by building bigger state-of-the-art convention and sporting facilities. Currently, the city has 4,806 rooms from various accommodation facilities that can readily support conventions with 3,000 participants.