Category Archives: Festivals

House of Native Lechon: A New Go-to Place for CDO Foodies

The Philippines is an archipelago composed of more than 7,000 islands. It is therefore understandable for each region of the country to have its own specialty when it comes to food. There is, however, one dish that is a favorite all over the country and is present in just about every occasion celebrated in Filipino homes and localities. We are talking about the spit-roasted pig we have come to know as Lechon.


CDO Lechon: Among the Country’s Best

If you love lechon and happen to live in Cagayan de Oro, then you should consider yourself lucky because the lechon in the City of Golden Friendship is deemed by many as one of the best in the country, along with lechon in Iligan and Cebu. When people from other parts of the country come to CDO to visit family, to go on an adventure, or even for business purposes, it is rare for them not to sample some of the city’s lechon on at least one meal for the entire duration of their stay. Continue reading

SLERS at Madrid Fusion Manila

Last April 7, 8, and 9, the culinary world in Manila was treated to an incredible display of unique mouthwatering dishes at the 2016 Madrid Fusion Manila. Held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the international culinary event highlighted the theme “The Manila Galleon: East Meets West.” The event showcased a fusion of gastronomic wonders from two countries and other parts of the world.

Slers ChicharonCagayan de Oro was represented in the highly popular culinary event. SLERS, the food manufacturing company behind the famous chicharon and ham of the same name, was an active participant in the colorful and gastronomic 3-day event. Aside from showcasing and selling different varieties of their chicharon, SLERS was also one of the featured ingredients of Madrid Fusion Manila. The festival served as an avenue for some of the best chefs of the country and the world, as well as gourmet enthusiasts and aficionados, to experience the unique, crunchy, and satisfying goodness of CDO’s favorite chicharon.

CDO’s favorite chicharon

The most anticipated gastronomy event was once again hosted by David Celdran, last year’s master of ceremonies. Guests included the Secretary of State for International Kingdom Cooperation of Spain Jesus Garcia, who expressed the appreciation of the Spanish government for the organizers of Madrid Fusion Manila; and Chef Nurdin Topham, owner of Nur Restaurant. The good chef shared his experiences and insights about the relationship between nutrition and gastronomy. His discussion about how what you want to eat and what you need to eat are related focused on the need to eat delicious but healthy food.

Slers display

SLERS’ participation in Madrid Fusion Manila is an indication of good things to come for the food manufacturing company. It was able to introduce its products, not only to the Manila culinary scene, but also to international guests.

The presence of SLERS in the recently concluded gastronomy festival is also a sign that Cagayan de Oro’s culinary scene is ready to branch out and explore opportunities offered through events like the recently concluded festival.

This year’s festival followed the highly successful Madrid Fusion Festival 2015, which had the theme “The Philippines and Spain: A 300-year Gastronomic Journey.” SLERS was handpicked and invited to participate in the prestigious event.

Celebrating New Year the Chinese Way

Even before the Spaniards came and colonized our country for three decades, the Filipinos were already interacting closely with the Chinese. Today, there are over four million Filipinos of Chinese descent, and they are fondly called “Tsinoys.”

But our long history with the Chinese isn’t just manifested in the huge number of Filipino-Chinese in the country. It also shows in our traditions and celebrations, which includes several practices that are originally Chinese. One of the most significant of these celebrations and traditions is the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in several major cities across the country, although it isn’t an official Philippine holiday.

If you’ve never witnessed or participated in a Lunar New Year celebration in the Philippines before, here are some of the things you are likely to see or experience:

1.Dragon/Lion Dance

Chinese New Year Dragon/Lion Dance

Wherever there is a Lunar New Year celebration, you are likely to see a colorful parade with dancing lions or a dragon as the highlight. You can tell whether the dancers are performing a lion or a dragon dance because the lion typically has four legs and the dragon has a long body. The lion is controlled by only two dancers, while the dragon is controlled by eight or more dancers.

Those who perform in a dragon or lion dance are very strong and skillful in manipulating the “animal,” particularly the head, which can be quite heavy. Homeowners not only watch the parade, but also participate in it by hanging ang pao by their main door or at the top of their entrance gates. The dancer holding the head will then pick up the ang pao as they pass.

2.Red Envelopes

Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

You may have noticed how fond the Chinese are of the color red. They consider this color as the luckiest and make sure not only to dress in it during the New Year celebration, but also to decorate their homes and places of business in red. It is also a tradition to give away fresh peso bills placed in red envelopes known as ang pao.


Chinese New Year Cake

A Chinese New Year cake is a must; but there’s one other dessert-slash-snack that people look for in this celebration. It’s tikoy! This sweet treat made from sticky rice is a traditional food served during this particular celebration and is now sold in most malls around the country. But it’s only sold during the New Year celebration, so don’t miss out!

If you really want to participate in the festivities of the Lunar New Year, you should, of course, learn how to greet people properly. In Cantonese, which is the dominant language in Hong Kong, you say, “Kung Hei Fat Choi.” In Hokkien, which is what most Tsinoys speak, you say, “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!” Happy New Year, everyone!


Your Favorite Higalaay Festival 2015 Events and Activities

The month of August means another epic month of celebration, merriment, and cheers as the City of Golden Friendship celebrates its annual Higalaay Festival! Despite the feast day of the CdO’s patron saint falling on the 28th of August, the city launched a month-long celebration, with myriad activities for Kagay-anons and visitors alike to participate in or simply witness.

Of course, amid all the merriment, let’s not forget the very reason why we celebrate the Higalaay Festival/Kagay-an Festival in the first place—and that is, to honor and remember the feast day of the Cagayan de Oro’s patron saint, St. Augustine of Hippo. The city’s Metropolitan Cathedral (conveniently located near the City Hall and beside Gaston Park) is named in his honor.

Now that we know the basics of the city’s feast day, it may be a good idea to take a quick peek at the activities held for everyone to enjoy. A majority of the fiesta events have been held for a couple of years now, and they are considered by locals as fiesta traditions—proof that Kagay-anons know how to keep these annual activities alive and ensure that this year’s events are merrier and grander than the previous years.

Based on a couple of testimonies from fellow Kagay-anons, here are some of the most popular Higalaay Festival activities that you should always watch out for. Don’t forget to bring your camera as well as your friends! Just have fun and enjoy the month-long festival activities year after year!


KUMBIRA in Cagayan de Oro

Organized by COHARA (Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association), this is an annual battle of the best chefs and culinary professionals within Cagayan de Oro and other parts of the country. One popular highlight of this event is the Chef Wars, where chefs from various HRM colleges, universities, and restaurants battle it out to cook the best dishes based on a theme.

This is considered a make-or-break moment for those who are working and studying in the food industry, as the awards give pride to the institutions and businesses that are represented in the competitions.

Cagayan de Oro Street Parade

Higalaay Festival

This is the only time of the year when the city’s main streets are in full merriment! Colorful floats, extravagant costumes, and loud music—these are crowd favorites as schools, businesses, and various organizations gather to celebrate the city fiesta in the most colorful and creative way possible.

For those who want to witness the street parade from the starting point to the end point (usually at the Limketkai Mall), you can start at the city’s Rotunda area and then walk along Velez Street to the main highway. Yes, it’s tiring, but it’s definitely all worth the fun and experience.

The Search for Miss Kagay-an 2015

Search For Ms Kagay-an

Considered by many as one of the major highlights of the month-long city fiesta celebration, the Miss Kagay-an 2015 beauty pageant features a great line-up of Kagay-an women from different barangays in the city conquering the various contest categories to win this year’s crown.

We hope these activities are part of your fiesta itinerary for the month of August. Have fun and happy fiesta, Kagay-anon!

Kagay-an Festival Itinerary

It’s that time of year again—the month of August when Cagayan de Oro sets festivity levels to the maximum to celebrate the annual Kagay-an Festival.

If you’re a tourist and you’re wondering if this is another festival to add to the Higalaay Festival, well, it’s actually the same thing—just a different title for the city’s month-long fiesta celebration. Now, you may ask, “What is there to do during the Kagay-an Festival?” If you’re visiting Cagayan de Oro for the first time, then here are some excellent suggestions on how to enjoy your stay in the City of Golden Friendship to the full.

Witness the Street Parades

Higalaay Festival

Whenever there are street parades in Cagayan de Oro as part of the fiesta celebration, everyone steps out of their homes and into the streets to witness various groups perform in lavish and colorful costumes. These groups usually perform according to a specific theme, which is different each year, so you never know what to expect. These street parades usually happen around the Divisoria area, particularly on Velez Street. Even if this is your first visit to the city, you’ll be sure to know exactly where a street parade is being held.

Watch the Miss Kagay-an Beauty Pageant

Search For Ms Kagay-an

You may want to skip this event if you’re not very fond of beauty pageants, but if you do, then you’ll miss a great lineup of beautiful Kagay-anon women representing the different barangays in the city. The coronation night is usually the most anticipated fiesta highlight (usually held at the Atrium of the Limketkai Mall), so expect a full house if you do decide to watch. Residents will be cheering for their respective candidate.

Fluvial Parades

Higalaay Festival Fluvial Parade

This event highlight was included in the lineup of fiesta activities fairly recently, but it has quickly become among the favorites primarily because it isn’t like the usual parade. The Kagay-an Festival fluvial parades happens on the Cagayan de Oro River! Be amazed as you watch an array of boats designed according to a specific theme. Some are made in the form or a fish with a statue of Saint Augustine on top of it. And all the boats adorn the river with a beautiful splash of colors. Some locals see this as a parade of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest and many other blessings the city has been given.

Dine in CDO’s Local Restaurants

Yes, dining in fancy restaurants is cool, but when you’re in Cagayan de Oro, you’ll soon learn that some of the best foods aren’t really found in fancy restaurants. One of the best things about this city is that there are a lot of local restaurants with a homey feel that never fail to satisfy their customers. Some of the best places to dine in the city are on Corrales Street. If you are looking for a classier dining experience, then the Lifestyle District should be where you’re headed.

Restaurants in Cagayan de Oro

These are just some of the things you can do and places you can go to make your CDO adventure as memorable as ever during the Kagay-an Festival. Have fun, enjoy, and have a wonderful fiesta experience!

When in Cagayan de Oro – Enjoying the Kagay-an Festival

The month of August is here and the City of Golden Friendship is preparing to go all-out in merriment for the celebration of the upcoming Kagay-an Festival. Although the feast day of the city’s patron saint (ST. Augustine) is still on the 28th, there are number of great events happening weeks before and after the day itself. If you’re a tourist visiting the city in August or a local who hasn’t really explored your hometown that much, the Kagay-an Fesitval is the perfect time to do so and have fun with family and friends.


If you’re familiar with Chef Wars or Master Chef, well, this is the local version (minus Gordon Ramsay, of course) where Kagay-anons and tourists bear witness to the great culinary talents of representatives from prestigious educational/training institutions (mostly those who take up HRM and related courses), restaurants, and hotels within the city as well as other parts of the country. Participants are set to battle it out for the honor of being named the best in their respective categories.

KUMBIRA in Cagayan de Oro

Kumbira is usually held at the Atrium of the Limketkai Center (one of the city’s leading malls). In the previous years, the general public had to pay a fee to witness the competition, but free access was typically offered as soon as the major competitions were done. If you would like to watch this event and enjoy the battles of the culinary wizards, you may contact COHARA (Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association) for more information about Kumbira and the other events scheduled during the fiesta month.

The Search for Miss Kagay-an

Considered among the Kagay-an Festival’s highlights and most anticipated events, this beauty pageant features carefully chosen candidates who will strut their stuff during various stages of the competition such as the talent competition, swimsuit competition, evening gown competition, and the question and answer portion. This is also the time of year when the unique beauty of Kagay-anon women from the different barangays of the city is showcased.

Search For Ms Kagay-an

Rotunda Night Market and Café

The rotunda night market and café is the perfect destination for affordable food and great bargain prices on selected items. Located in the city’s rotunda (Paseo del Rio) area, this is the ideal place to hang out with family and friends. Since this is an open area where vehicles pass and a good number of people converge, it’s advised that you don’t bring a lot of valuables with you.

Fiesta Mall Sales

One of the best things about Cagayan de Oro is that the price of various commodities typically drops during the fiesta month, particularly in the city’s malls. They go from twenty, thirty, to fifty perfect off on selected department store and specialty shop items. Even the grocery area often has great bargains to offer those who will be preparing a feast for the celebration.

Have Fun and Build Memories

With such a great lineup of activities and various surprises in store for everyone, the Kagay-an Festival will remain one of the best festivals you’ll ever bear witness to!


Pasundayag Festival Invades Pampanga! Kapampangans Impressed with NorthMin’s Colorful Tradition

Last May 11-17, 2015, SM City Clark in Pampanga hosted the Pasundayag sa Northern Mindanao Festival—a cultural, tourism, and trade exposition showcasing the vibrant culture of Region X. With the theme “Networking towards a Stronger Tourism Industry,” the event was attended by Pampanga’s well-respected government officials including Ronaldo Tiotuico—Region III’s Department of Tourism Director—and Hon. Edgardo Pamintuan—Angeles City’s Mayor. Local representatives coming from Northern Mindanao were also present during the event. These included Department of Tourism Director Catalino T. Chan (Region X), Vice Governor Ma. Christina Atay, and Congresswomen Imelda Quibranza Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, and Mayor Roberto Lagrosas of Manticao, Misamis Oriental.

Pasundayag Northern Mindanao 2015

The colorful expo-festival impressed the Kapampanganans including other residents from Central Luzon who were present during the week-long event. The audience was entertained by ethnic and tribal dances performed by the Higaonon, Lumads, and Umayamnon, some of the many indigenous people living in Northern Mindanao. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience to Kapampangans to get a glimpse of the rich and colorful culture of the people from Northern Mindanao without even traveling. Aside from the dances performances of the ethnic groups, there were several other activities during the Pasundayag Festival at SM City Clark including soil painting and a lot more.

At the event, different provinces composing Region X have their own tents displaying the beauty and bounty of their places. Northern Mindanao or Region X is composed of the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin Island, Bukidnon, and Lanao del Norte.

Prior to SM City Clark, this colorful and festive exposition has already been staged in several SM malls in the country including SM City Iloilo, SM City Mall of Asia, and SM City Cagayan de Oro.

What is Pasundayag sa Northern Mindanao Festival?

The word “pasundayag” in the local dialect of Northern Mindanao simply means to show off or present ones culture, tradition and products. And that’s just what basically the Pasundayag sa Northern Mindanao Festival is all about—showcasing the bounty and colorful culture of Region X. The unique tourism, trade, and cultural exposition focuses on sharing to people the beauty of Northern Mindanao through arts and performances of ethnic tribes residing in the region. Aside from that, the festival also showcases local products of the region including pineapples, VjANDEP pastels, Chedeng Peanuts, SLERS Chicharon and also handicrafts. The show also aims to feature tourist spots that are present in Northern Mindanao in order to encourage people to visit the beautiful and unspoiled paradise of Region X.

Aside from showing off the region’s impressive culture, sumptuous and fantastic products and breathtaking tourist spots, the recently concluded Pasundayag sa Northern Mindanao also helped people from Central Pampanga get to know more about Mindanao and let them see that the island of Mindanao isn’t just all about war and chaos, as what is seen in the news.

The week-long Pasundayag sa Northern Mindanao Festival at SM City Clark may have been already finished, but the performances, products, and tradition showcased during the said event will certainly encourage people not just to be contented with getting a glimpse of the Northern Mindanao but to explore the place soon.

Celebrating Fiesta the Kagay-anon Way!

Aside from Christmas, city fiestas are one of the most anticipated events to happen every year. Here in Cagayan de Oro, the party just gets livelier every year inviting more people to come into the City of Golden Friendship and just have fun!

The Kagay-an Festival

Take it from me: don’t get too shocked when a lot of people flock into the busy parts and business districts of the city every August. The reason? The Kagay-an Festival, of course! Every year, Kagay-anons celebrate the city’s patron saint, St. Augustine. In line with yearly thanks of the saint for the many blessings that this city has received for the year, the city government of Cagayan de Oro also organizes different events for the whole month to let locals and tourists enjoy the city as it lights up with festivities!

Saint Augustine Patron

Beauty Pageants and Street and Float Parades

I think it’s starting to become a tradition that beauty pageants are taken into so much attention that a lot will do what it takes to not miss who is going to be the reigning beauty queen for this year. Local beauty pageants are not an exception to this. The search for Miss Kagay-an has always been a highlight for the city’s festivities every year. Selected beautiful women from all over the city have been carefully chosen by a panel of judges to see who the best in talent, beauty, and intellect is. The coronation night of the pageant is always a sold-out event with screams all over the venue as Kagay-anons cheer for their candidates.

Miss Cagayan de Oro 2015

Aside from the Miss Kagay-an beauty pageant, I noticed that street and float parades are always a sight to see especially in the busy main streets of Cagayan de Oro. In the previous parades that I attended, it usually starts from the Rotunda area, to Velez Street, and then it ends at the Limketkai Center. Of course, since this is a city-wide parade, it takes quite long and heavy traffic is expected in the area. Things like these don’t really happen every year so at least give a little consideration for that day if you’re driving or commuting while the festival is ongoing.

Here’s a reliable tip from me (if you are planning to take part of this year’s street and float parade): always bring with you a lot of water and an umbrella. I noticed that the month of August is usually all sunny and no rain for almost the whole day so you need to have both things handy to prevent sunburns and dehydration.

Fluvial Parades

Now this is what I like about the Kagay-an Festival—the fluvial parade! Started in the year 2007, it features various barangays of the city parading floats in the river. The floats usually depict the traditional myths and stories of the city as well as having St. Augustine (the city’s patron saint) as the main highlight of each float.

Higalaay Festival Fluvial Parade

With all these main highlights in store, Kagay-an Festival should be part of your to-go list! As a local and a frequent attendee of the festival’s activities, I guarantee you that you will have no regrets!

Cagayan de Oro Barangay Fiestas – Days of Smiles and Merriment

Aside from the yearly celebration of the Kagay-an Festival every August 28th, each of the towns that belong in the city of Cagayan de Oro also has its own fiesta. The dates vary because of the different patron saints that these townsfolk follow.

I imagine town fiestas as a big “thank you” party every year. It’s like a yearly thing to thank all the blessings that we receive while living in the said respective town. Fiestas are also that time of the year when families prepare huge feasts of food on their tables and open their gates for visitors to just sit down and enjoy great food.

Town circuses also happen in town plazas when the fiesta season of the respective place is nearing. A perfect time to splurge yourself in butter popcorn, sorbetes, and cotton candy! For those who are looking for more sociable ways to party, some barangays also organize events like disco parties, “night cafes,” and even beauty pageants (based from my experience in attending such local competitions, some can measure up to the city’s official pageants!).

I am not really fund of huge crowds but if ever I tag along with people to attend town fiestas, I would always make sure that my stomach’s ready for the great chow-down! Occasions like these are also the perfect opportunities to reconnect with people in your town. Admit it—due to the busy priorities in life, we lack the time to catch up with the people around the town that you’re living in. Make this opportunity worthwhile and just talk to people! Being shy is not an excuse! You seriously don’t want to get left behind from all the excitement do you?

To help you on when the next town fiesta is going to be, below is a list of all the towns in Cagayan de Oro with dates of their respective feast days. Bring your family or celebrate with friends! Make that day worthwhile and be thankful for the great things that were given to you this year. Enjoy and happy fiesta days, Kagay-anon!

Agusan – 1st Sunday of October
Baikingon – January 22
Balubal – November 27
Bayabas – September 10
Bayanga – January 20
Besigan – November 22
Bonbon – September 11
Bulua – December 08
Bugo – Last Sunday of May
Camaman-an – May 13
Canito-an – 3rd Sunday of May
Carmen – July 16
Consolacion – 1st Sunday of October
Cugman – April 05
F.S. Catanico – May 14
Dansolihon – Last Sunday of January
Gusa – May 15
Iponan – February 10/July 16
Indahag – May 03
Kauswagan – May 15
Lapasan – August 16
Lumbia – November 27
Macabalan – February 22
Macasandig – September 27
Mambuaya – December 08
Nazareth – June 13
Pagalungan – May 14 & 15
Pagatpat – March 19
Patag – August 16
Pigsag-an – November 29
Puerto – June 27
Puntod – September 10
Tablon – 3rd Sunday of January
San Simon – 1st Sunday of March
Taglimao – September 29
Tagpangi – December 15
Tinagpoloan – January 16/December 25
Tuburan – November 27
Tumpagon – November 18 & 19


Higalaay: The Kagay-an Festival

Higalaay CDO 2014