After several stressful weeks of barangay election, Ting and I decided to have a quick getaway and celebrate a well deserved victory. Nov. 10, 2023 is our first trip since 2017!
Cagayan de Oro(CDO) is one of the places we haven’t visited yet, so its fitting we go there. But before that, we have a one night stopover in Manila. As our flight next day is early 8:25 AM, we billeted at Go Hotel located in Manila Airport Road, which is near the NAIA Terminal 3. The room have limited amenities, specifically it doesn’t come with bottled water and cups, two essentials for travelers. And no hot and cold shower too.
We took a few hours rest, then we meet my sister, Bit-bit, nephews Mat-mat and Bin-bin and niece, Mae-mae at the hotel lobby. The plan for the day was to buy a barong tagalog and filipiniana in Divisoria, but Bit-bit suggested Baclaran as it is just a few blocks away. Ultimately, we proceeded to SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. This is a rare chance to bond with the kids so why not splurge, haha.
The mall is huge with a lot of selection, it is a heavy exercise just walking around, haha. Tired and already hungry, we went to Panda Express. I think we deserve a full meal so we ordered the Family Feast. For the large entrees, we’ve chosen the Orange Chicken, Wok-Seared Steak & Shrimp and Beijing Beef. For the sides, its the Chow Mein noodles and Fried Rice. The Orange Chicken lived up to the hype, it is indeed delicious.
After dinner, we decided to buy the kids some clothing. And oh boy did they choose well, they shopped at UNIQLO, Bench, and Penshoppe. All are happy and with both hands full of shopping bags, its time to go home. We booked a 6-seater Grab Car with 2 drops to Brgy. Pinagbuhatan, Pasig and then back to the hotel.
The barangay was a maze of streets and crammed with houses and people. The car was literally crawling along the narrow alleyways. After navigating countless corners we finally arrived. So we will not get lost next time, we noted Shirley Store as the landmark and then 3rd house on the left. There, we met the family patriarch, Totong who was waiting for us. The 3-bedroom house is compact and well designed with floor tiles and neat kitchen tops. After a few minutes chat, we have to leave as the car is waiting.
At the hotel, we prepared our bags to get ready for tomorrow’s trip to CDO. It is the main city of Misamis Oriental province and regional center and business hub of Northern Mindanao. It is a highly urbanized city and the 10th most populous. It is part of the growing Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro area, which includes the city of El Salvador, the towns of Opol, Alubijid, Laguindingan, Gitagum, Lugait, Naawan, Initao, Libertad, Manticao, Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan, Claveria and Balingasag.
Laguindingan Airport has a scenic view as it is located near the sea. Upon arrival, we got into a Magnum Express van which charges around 199 PHP. The vehicle model is Hyundai H350 so it is comfortable and spacious as the roof is high. It also has a dedicated rack for bags. The airport is about 46 km away from the city and it took us around 1 hour and 30 minutes to arrive at Limketkai Center. Already famished since we didn’t have breakfast, we had brunch at Chowking. We then roamed around the gargantuan mall looking for barong tagalog but didn’t find one that suits our need.
Exhausted, we proceeded to the PrimeLuxe Hotel, which is just a short distance. It is strategically located near the big commercial establishments. The Suite room have complete amenities such as bottled water, mugs, hot and cold shower, shampoo, body wash, hand soap, toothbrush, disposable slippers, safe, free breakfast, etc. I was so satisfied, I gave them a 5 star rating in Agoda.
We rested for a few hours then out we went again. First stop is Boy Zugba located in Gaisano City Mall. They are a home grown restaurant specializing in “Bisaya” cuisine. Ting had bought a card that offers a 30% discount but the promo is limited to 2-4pm only, hence the rush to avail. Luckily we arrived a few seconds before the deadline, haha. We enjoyed a gastronomic meal of Garlic Rice, Chopchuy, Queso Scallops and Tuna Belly. The shellfish are big and super cheesy.
With our stomachs full, we went shopping for barong tagalog and filipiniana. We also bough some Vander Pastel from Camiguin as pasalubong, it is a sweet bread with very soft bun and yema filling. Then we crossed to Centrio Mall by Ayala on the other side and purchased some more clothes in H&M, then we called it a night.
Next day, we got ourselves ready and availed the free breakfast of rice, egg and a choice of viand. I had tapa beef, while Ting opted for the corned beef. The food came with coffee. This time we booked a Grab Car to make sure we catch our flight back to Manila. The driver made a shortcut via the Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road and showed us an amazing view on top with the Macajalar Bay as background below.
Arriving at the NAIA Terminal 3, we had a lunch of Hankow Chicken. For a few hours, we were immersed with each others company and talked about anything, haha. By 4:35 pm, we flew back home. We witnessed the sun setting down and painting the sky with an orange hue. It was already dark when we reached Iloilo, from above the sight of the city lights below is mesmerizing.
It sure was a hectic vacation, hopping between the Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao and vice versa in three days, but we made sure we accomplished what we came for. We will definitely visit CDO again, hopefully this time it will be an extended stay.
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