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In this age of digital nomadity, do we really need a camera lens to appreciate anything out of the ordinary? For me, it seems so.

Serene Cagayan de Oro River on a clear day.

A blogger for www.traveltrilogy.com and a good friend has recently asked my permission to post copies of my photos I took around my beloved city, Cagayan de Oro . He then posted a collection of old and new landscape photos of the city – some I took several years back – on Department of Tourism Region 10’s Facebook Page last Saturday, March 16. 

Hometown Series  on DOT-10 Facebook Page

The digital photo album became an instant hotstuff among some netizens from Northern Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines and around the globe, based on demographics of the engagement (like, sharing and comment). As of this writing, the post has received 4,000 plus shares and 2,000 plus likes, a few days after posting. These figures are, for me, totally surprising. I have been sharing photos of CDO on several online platform for more than a decade now, but I have never seen such overwhelming appreciation, and well a few criticisms, for Cagayan de Oro City. This makes me wonder what caused such a rapid fire engagement among these people.

I may not be able to pin point exact factors but I would like to take a hunch.  

Looking Southwest of Cagayan de Oro at dusk
Velez Street blazing at night.

Cagayan de Oro City was once a laid back, small city in the Southern Philippines before it was classified as a Highly Urbanised City in the early 80’s. But even then, this small regional capital was nothing but a clean and peaceful poblacion with a few local shops, a university and some state colleges, some medical facilities, and few residents who knew each other. People here did not deal with heavy traffic and traffic jams. 

Kagay-anons rarely see sunsets as the city geographically faces northern coasts of Mindanao.
Spotting beautiful sunset is a rarity here.

It was not until the mid 90’s when the city saw growth, slow but stable growth. Until she became the Cagayan de Oro that we see today. A highly developed regional center in Northern Mindanao, and one of the key economic hubs of the country. However, development comes with a price to pay. Thus, societal problems, which I’d like to call as set backs and challenges. Heavy traffic, basura, flood, criminalities, political hullabaloo, the list goes on. And with these pressing issues, people tend to readily see the ugly side of this city and forget the beauty that was once there. Have we been blinded by the negativity that we see everyday that we choose to ignore even the least positive things that this city has offered us?

Cagayan de Oro River exits to pristine Macajalar Bay where a budding skyline is slowly becoming visible from a vessel docking to Oro Port

And may we not forget that we are the cause of all these traffic and basura clutter and litter resulting to perrennial flooding in some areas. And definitely nobody is spared the blame. 

To several folks who praised Cagayan de Oro in my photographs (despite everything that she is today), from the bottom of my heart, thank you! 

And to a few folks who did otherwise, thank you for your honesty. But please believe that Cagayan de Oro will become as graceful and lovely that she once were, in the years or decades to come. Have faith! 

Or else you guys will always have to rely on a camera lens to see Cagayan de Oro’s beauty, or never at all.

Night view of downtown Cagayan de Oro taken from the rooftop bar of New Dawn Plus Hotel

More Random CDO Photographs

Velez Street on crisp morning.
Fountain at the Gaston Park during sun down.
Malasag Watershed and Cagayan de Oro’s baby skyline
A perfect contrast of new and old. Modern and historical.
21st Century Cagayan de Oro and Kagay-anons

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