CAGAYAN DE ORO on the north coast of Mindanao is the departure point of many travellers for trips to the dazzling little island of Camiguin. Cagayan itself is generally unimpressive, a noisy mish-mash of busy streets and fast-food restaurants, hardly enough to tempt you to stay longer than a day or night before moving on to greener pastures.
The city sits on the eastern bank of the wide Cagayan River and stretches from MacArthur Park in the north, near the Provincial Capitol Building, to circular Gaston Park in the south. In between it's mostly traffic and broken pavements, making the 45-minute walk between the two parks only for the brave. There's another park, a narrow strip of open space called Friendship Park, running east– west between Neri Street and Abejuela Street, a good area for convenience stores and fast food. You'll find few memorable sights, apart from the eighteenth-century San Augustine Cathedral, a pretty, off-white stone edifice just south of Gaston Park, with a gold-plated altar and immense stained-glass windows. The Xavier Museo de Oro (Tues– Sun 9am–5pm; P20 minimum donation) at Xavier University on Corrales Avenue gives an interesting overview of local culture stretching back thousands of years; there are evocative dioramas of the Spanish period, when gold was discovered in the Cagayan River (hence the "Oro" in Cagayan's name).
If you pass through the city's eastern suburbs (on the road to Balingoan, for instance), you'll notice the sweet smell of pineapples, the source of much of Cagayan's income. There are enormous plantations inland, mostly owned by Del Monte, and the fruit are brought to the suburbs for canning.