Cagayan de Oro’s tour attractions

With the easing of restrictions for outdoor sports following the ebb of the Covid-19 pandemic, golf tourism is back with the return of golfers to the fairways.

The just concluded two-day golf tournament at Pueblo de Oro golf course, Cagayan de Oro city mentioned in my last column, made me think about the game being a revenue earner for the city government.

The city government should harness the drawing power of the game. The droves of golfers coming from various parts of Morolandia, as far back as Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Metro Manila are a boost to domestic tourism.

They not only contribute to the income of the host golf and country club but have a multiplying effect on the tourism-related businesses in the city. The participants, some with their families, patronized restaurants, hotels, and apartments for the weekend sports fest dubbed as “The 1st Kampilan President’s Invitational Tournament” which was so far the biggest gathering of Muslim golfers. It was successful by any measure capped by the performance of the “kulintang” ensemble with the performers in their cultural attires during the awarding ceremonies.

CDO as the focal point of the so-called Northern Mindanao Corridor hosts three golf courses. Two of these are, by international standard championship courses — The Del Monte golf course nestled at the expanse pineapple plantation of a mega multi-national corporation, although located in Bukidnon province just a few kilometers away from the city. Visiting golfers playing at Del Monte golf course stay and spend money at CDO.

The other is the famous Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club which is situated uptown near the former Lumbia Airport, a favorite venue for national golf tournaments because of its well-designed fairways and challenging hazards like a man-made lake, ravines, and thick foliage that give players with errant swing a nightmare.

Another golf course is the Patag Golf Course which is located at an Army Camp which was an airfield before it was converted into a flat and short but challenging golf course.

While there are golf courses in Marawi City fronting the landscape of the Mindanao State University; in Barangay Pendogangan, Iligan City; and in Ozamis City at the foot of Mount Malindang, these are third-rate golf courses not fit for regional, much more, national tournaments.

The Cagayan de Oro golf courses satisfy the cravings of a serious and dedicated golfer in need of a venue that meets international standards.

Countries have exploited the game as a strong revenue earner. It is not unusual to read about countries offering cheap tour packages for golfers which include not only visiting and sightseeing historical and other tour destinations but playing the game of golf. Thailand and Vietnam are two of those countries offering it.

With the easing of restrictions for outdoor sports following the ebb of the Covid-19 pandemic, golf tourism is back with the return of golfers to the fairways. This is shown by the dramatic increase in golf share prices in Metro Manila, an indication that the golf business is back to being robust.

The new administration of the city promises a good future for the residents, and it is wished that among its priority plans will be reviving and boosting tourism. While the golf courses are tourist attractions, there are many other places of interest that CDO offers.

When I was Undersecretary of Tourism, a considerable sum of money was spent on the construction of the Malasag Eco-Cultural Village located on a hillside overlooking the city. It is a perfect retreat for a tourist seeking a quiet commune with nature. It houses small structures that showcased the rich culture of the diverse tribes of Mindanao. In fact, this was promoted not only to culture and nature tourists but to the general public as a way of awareness and respect for the peculiar rich culture and way of life of the marginalized members of the Mindanao society. I wonder if it has overcome the neglect of maintenance by the local office of the Department of Tourism.

Other attractions in my next column.

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