I WAS quite privileged to be part of 2GO’s sponsored media tour early this week to visit and celebrate Cagayan de Oro’s Higalaay Festival. I was especially excited because it would be my first time to meet and travel with local media from Bacolod and Iloilo while at the same time it was an opportunity to visit my hometown after being away for four months.
2GO’s initiative was to promote their vessels and services on board with their new schedules including travelink from Davao to Iloilo/Bacolod/Manila/Cebu and vice versa via Cagayan De Oro as a destination which takes pride in its nature-centered recreational activities, such as the wild white river rafting adventure, an extreme water park experience in the country’s largest pirate themed park and a side trip to Asia’s longest dual zipline in Bukidnon, all within a few distance from Cagayan De Oro City.
Indeed 2GO made true to its promise of non-stop fun from port of origin until we reached our destination. We sailed on board St. Therese of the Child Jesus and were accommodated like royalties in their first class suite, the best dining experience and a variety of entertainment all throughout our trip. I am usually an air traveller but my experience with their vessel gave me quite an impression of how great it can be travelling at sea.
While my roots can be traced back to Cadiz, I grew up in Cagayan de Oro. Every year, we celebrate Higalaay Festival in honor of the feast of St. Augustine, the city’s patron saint.
Higalaay Festival means “friendship festival,” a fitting tag for the City of Golden Friendship. This year’s highlight is the annual carnival street dance competition participated by barangays, schools and nearby municipalities in celebration of the friendships we share being the gateway to Mindanao.
We took to the streets the colors and the spirit of festivities as we danced to the beat jubilation. Locals and guests exchanged smiles and memories as we celebrate the gifts that the city is blessed with. Unlike other urban festivities, Cagayan’s Higalaay is a celebration of friendship and family. Visitors have very well experienced first-hand the warmth of the locals in all the city’s activities. As always, the festival was a great success.
7 Seas Waterpark
We did a side trip and visited the famous 7 Seas Waterpark located in Barra, Opol, a town next to Cagayan de Oro.
The said water park has various thrilling slides such as the Cyclone, Pira-Chute, Aqua Playhouse Pool, Escape Tunnel, a “lazy river” ride, and children’s pool ideal for family weekend gatherings.
Dahilayan Adventure Park
Well I have to admit I skipped this part of the itinerary to spend time with my family and friends but the whole media team got to experience another tourist destination that offers an array of fun activities for all ages. Located at Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich Bukidnon, Dahilayan Forest Park is at the foot of Mount Kitanglad and about two hours away from Cagayan de Oro.
For those who are into adventures, Dahilayan offers Skytower Base Jump, Asia’s longest Dual Zipline, a 120 ft. Freefall Ride, flying lizard canopy glider, Python Roller Zipride, Ropes Course and many more. It’s a perfect place for corporate team buildings and for families who enjoy countryside travel and eco adventures.
The best part of my Cagayan de Oro trip was getting reunited with my clan. Upon learning that I was in town for the fiesta, relatives gathered to celebrate family as we exchange notes and fill each other in on where we are now in our journeys. It was a breath of fresh air to get assured of the clan’s support and blessings on the causes we partake in our respective endeavors.
Friends also took turns meeting up with me and enjoying a bottle or two despite my hectic schedule as I was also remotely closing SunStar Bacolod’s daily paper in most parts of the day.
My four-day getaway was just what I needed after all the pressures and adjustments I went through since I got here as I blend myself in and forge a name in this beautiful city of smiles. Now I am back more resolved to do best what I do and share what I can share in my new home, Bacolod City.
Much thanks to Ms. Vivian Lapu-os, 2GO’s marketing officer for Visayas and Mindanao.
Indeed 2GO played significant role in promoting the local tourism and linking the Filipino people through sea travel.