When you live in the same place for years or decades already, you may think that there’s nothing about your place that could surprise you anymore. But joining the free CDO Heritage Walk organized by the Northern Mindanao Tour Guides recently proved us wrong – there is so much to learn, discover and explore in the place where I thought I knew everything I should know.
I have walked around the places tackled during the tour but have not given much thought about their history or have viewed them ordinarily. After the tour and the information shared to us by our tour guide, I looked at these landmarks in a new light. I can now share with my visitors and friends significant stories about places that we might passed on or visit.
Plaza Divisoria – Ideally, a walking tour of Cagayan de Oro should start here. A modern commercial center officially named as the Golden Friendship Park.
The Tourist Assistance Area, formerly known as Tourism Showcase is located in the middle of Plaza Divisoria and they cater to tourists who wish to explore Cagayan de Oro City, and the entire North Mindanao Area: Camiguin, Iligan and Bukidnon.
Plaza Divisoria also houses the Tamparong Building which is the only surviving old structure in the area after the Fil-American War. Presently it is the building shared by Mang Inasal and LBC.
Plaza El Pueblo Heroes or the Cry of Freedom Monument was erected in honor of the Katipuneros of Cagayan de Oro who battled during the 2nd Battle of Cagayan de Misamis at the Agusan Hill on May 1900. Their uniforms are kept intact inside a cabinet behind this monument.
Casa del Chino de Ygua or Balay na Bato – also an old structure wherein the original bricks are kept by the family. This ancestral house belongs to the 1st Chinese Immigrants in Cagayan de Oro, the Sia Family. This house was used by the revolutionary forces during the Fil-Am War as their headquarters.
Gaston Park is Cagayan de Oro’s first barangay. Datu Salangsang led a group of indigenous people to settle in Calle Himulogan. They were converted to Christianity by Fray Augustine de San Pedro and transferred to Gaston Park after that. Presently Gaston Park is surrounded with Palawan Cherry Blossoms which was planted by Japanese authorities after WWII.
Duaw Kagay-an Park is an old fort of Cagayan de Oro. This was built by those who converted to Christianity to protect them from the Muslims who wish to take back Cagayan de Misamis because they stopped paying tribute to Sultan Kudarat.
City Museum – one of the best ways to get to know a place’s heritage and culture is to drop by the museum. Cagayan de Oro City Museum is as unique as it can get. It is housed by a water tower which was constructed in 1922 and was remodeled to accommodate a museum with three galleries. The base gallery showcases the Three Battles of Cagayan de Oro, the second gallery displays Filomeno M Bautista Gallery along with the pen used to sign the Cagayan de Oro Charter and the third gallery has the city’s memorabilia.
Also included during the CDO Heritage Walk are some notable tidbits and trivia of the present-day city. The Memorial Wall was erected in honor of the victims of Typhoon Sendong – those who died and went missing – from the official list of MDRRMC.
La Favorita Ice Cream is a popular brand in Cagayan de Oro and our tour guide explained that the recipe was concocted by the late Trinidad Roa Reyes Pinedad or Donya Trining using fresh milk.
Cagayan de Oro City actually has a typical design of a Spanish Pueblo. The Church, Public Park and executive buildings are adjacent to one another. The city’s church, St Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral has been renovated after WWII but you can still appreciate the century old stained glasses from Italy inside the cathedral.
The city’s Executive Building was once called the Casa Real and it used to house the Spanish Military Governor and the Spanish Colonial Admin. It was rebuilt in 1940 and presently houses the city mayor’s office, city tourism council office, legal office, and HRM office.
We would like to personally thank Northern Mindanao Tour Guides for inviting CDO Bloggers and also to Monster Kitchen’s Brownie Bites, La Favorita Homemade Ice Cream, and Smart Communications, Inc. for sponsoring this year’s CDO Heritage Walk.