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Truly, not everything that glitters is gold, but for me, everything that’s genuinely worth keeping is golden. Dubbed the “Gateway of Northern Mindanao,” Cagayan de Oro City has long been one of the premium cities in this part of the country.

Boasting a rich culture, fertile land, fine weather and warm people, this place is not just a home for me but has also been a surrogate mother for people who are looking for pleasure, fun and excitement after a hard day’s, week’s, month’s or year’s worth of work. Being in love with this city is not an arduous task at all; in fact the feeling after reaching this part of the country has been mentioned by most of my friends as serendipity. Who would not adore a place that offers no less than golden memories, golden delights, golden adventures, and golden attractions? I’m pretty sure none, but for those who are not yet convinced with what my home can offer you, then let me enumerate the things that make this city essentially golden.

The sinfully sweet pastel. This just looks like ordinary bread, simple outside but heaven inside, but once you take a bite of this golden-colored delicacy you will experience the softest bread ever and after consuming the first half of the bread you will suddenly experience a mouth-watering sweetness that will just melt on your tongue. In no more than five minutes, you will find yourself eating the entire box — alone. Although originated in Camiguin, this food product is present already in a lot of pasalubong centers in Cagayan de Oro city, and is a must-have for every tourist who visits my hometown. From one goldenly wrapped delicacy, you will find another golden delight that is naturally engaging — lanzones. A golden fruit that is so small but offers a big smile to every person who tastes it, CDO City offers the sweetest lanzones in the country. Surely, a kilo of this is not enough for a family of four; based on my experience, a kilo is not even enough for my self. I even eat it like popcorn when watching movies. And who could forget the opulent pineapple, another golden-inside-and-out product, a tropical fruit that is one of the best harvests of the region? Either canned or fresh, one can feel the healthy diet of fiber while enjoying the juice in every bite that will quench your thirst for fructose.

After having a sugar rush, one can start expediting his metabolism with another golden in Cagayan de Oro experience — breathtaking adventures. We have white water rafting, an experience that will make you scream at the top of your lungs, as you take pleasure in feeling the cold water soaking your clothes, experience the surge of speeding up while navigating the huge rocks in the river. After rafting, one can brave Asia’s longest dual zipline. Although already in the province of Bukidnon, the zipline adventure is still an attraction for many tourists of Cagayan de Oro City; after all, my city is the gateway of Region 10, so it’s fitting that it showcases the best of Northern Mindanao. Just an hour ride away from the city, the zipline experience not only offers adventure but also the sight of nature in all its lush greenery. Proudly standing at 4,700 feet above sea level with a length of 840 meters, people from all ages can surely fulfill their dream of flying like Superman with the fresh air caressing your skin and senses while cascading through nature.

We also have golden views where one can bask in and witness the grandeur and beauty of our country. Even though Cagayan de Oro is highly urbanized, nature has always been important and preserved in our place. We have the Malasag Eco-Tourism Village where one can fascinatingly observe the exquisite splendor of the Mindanao culture being surrounded by its captivating landscape. More than that, one can enjoy the sights of falls from different parts of the city that are refreshing. At night, one can take a walk around the divisoria. Bright lights and soulful music mix with grilled local foods, among other attractions of this park. A place for fun and acquaintances where everybody can take a break after all the adventures and sights.

But more than anything else, my city is the land of golden friendship, a name unique to my place, a name I am very proud of, knowing that even if our culture and nature is wealthy the best attraction we can offer the country and the world is our character. A friendship that does not count the cost, warm and pure, loyal and sincere. Just like SM City, factual to its word of providing all the needs that its customers demand from them. Goods that are at their best quality matched with a service that is authentic made SM the standard of all the supermalls in the country through the 50 years of its existence, a company not just golden in age but more importantly in everything it undertakes for the Filipino people, whether it is for business or social responsibility. SM’s indisputable reputation for providing fun and memories to share has made it another attraction for every individual visiting my city.

Truly, not everything that glitters is gold, but for me, everything that’s worth keeping is golden.

My City, My SM

 Let us know why you love your city and why you love SM and get a chance to win P5,000 worth of SM Gift Cards. Simply send an e-mail of your photo essay to (underscore after Star) or write to us at the following addresses: the Lifestyle section, The Philippine STAR at R. Oca Jr. and Railroad Streets, Port Area, Manila or The Publicity Department, SM Retail, Inc. Building C SM Corporate Office at JW Diokno Avenue, Pasay City.

You can also join My City, My SM’s special category using a camera phone and get a chance to win one of six Sony Ericsson phones — five C50 Cyber Shot phones with the famous smile shutter; and a Grand Prize, the Sony Vivaz that introduces HD video capabilities in the portfolio.

Winners may claim their prize at SM Corporate Offices, Building C Publicity Department, J.W. Diokno Blvd., Mall of Asia Complex Pasay City and look for Ms. Rachell Pineda and Ms. Jhai Jara.

PHOTO: Feel the rush: The famous white water rafting of Cagayan de Oro City as experienced by my friends.  Photo from Esther Abodiles

Article from the Philippine Star

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