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Local journalist relishes the food and wonders of Misamis Oriental

THE three-day trip to the west and east of Misamis Oriental (MisOr) was an eye opener for a local like me.

I have been living in Cagayan de Oro for years, and yet I was not aware of the many destinations and the delicacies that each town in the province offers. Thanks to the MisOr Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), I had the opportunity to experience the food and the sights in the province.

Invited to the first “Pasiyo Ta [leisure trip] MisOr” activity of the  PTO were Cagayan de Oro-based journalists and bloggers, who were given a tour to most of the towns.

The Pasiyo Ta was designed for the PTO to package destinations in the province for both local and foreign tourists.

“Through this Pasiyo Ta activity, we want the media to highlight what every town in the province can offer tourists who go to Bukidnon or Camiguin, where destinations are already well promoted,” said Catherine Miego, Misamis Oriental tourism officer.

During the three days of discovery and taste-test of the various delicacies of the towns the group visited, this local observed that biko—a sticky rice prepared with coconut milk and brown sugar—is a favorite of most of the towns. But one town, Laguindingan, made the difference in terms of presentation. They call it biko-dukot, prepared in thin layers, with the bottom overly cooked, but not burned, to make it chewy.

The Pasiyo Ta tourists were then brought to see the development of the Laguindingan International Standard Airport, which is tentatively scheduled for a test-run early next year.

Bibingka, a kind of rice cake also cooked with coconut milk and sugar, is offered in every town, but Manticao town claimed that their kind of bibingka is what frequent travelers stop for in their town.

The group was treated to a bibingka-cooking demonstration, done at the lawn of the residence of Mayor Roberto Lagrosas. His wife Jennifer is the town’s tourism council chairman.

The Pasiyo Ta group went as far as the last municipality of Lugait on the west, which is bordered by Iligan City.  There, the local government unit boasted of their industrial  tourism destination, the Holcim Cement Plant noted for its environment-friendly operation that even the most delicate of butterflies thrive around the plant’s surroundings.

Naawan town also prides itself of the many springs that they developed into swimming pools, goat-milk soap production, and the virgin coconut oil the town produces.

In Initao town, the tourists experienced the canopy walk and the zip line at the Lasang (forest) Hidden Adventure Park.  Inside the forest, a century-old tree stands.

White-sand beaches abound along the shoreline of the town.

West Misamis Oriental has its Shrine of the Divine Mercy in El Salvador town. The shrine is a popular site for the religious, notwithstanding the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Binoangan on the east side of the province.

On the second and third days, the east was covered. The tourists visited the clean coal-fired power plant of Mindanao Power Corp. Steag, where the visitors were briefed of the plant’s operation and its contribution to the Mindanao grid. Its operation has helped ease the shortage of power in the island.

We then visited Claveria town, the corn capital of the province and where many of the province’s agricultural produce, such as tomatoes, cabbage and pineapples, are shipped to the Visayas and Luzon.

The Pasiyo Ta participants then went to Jasaan town and visited the old church of the Immaculate Conception Parish that was built in the 17th century.

Balingasag town was where the participants came up close to the fish cages of the mariculture park where bangus is grown and harvested right at sea, about a kilometer from the shoreline. The park’s small cages could harvest eight tons while the bigger cages could harvest 25 tons of fish a month.

In Salay a tour inside the facility producing handmade paper products awed some of the first-timers who witnessed how paper is made.

In the town of Sugboncogon a mini zoo is a delight for local tourists who could be up close a tiger and a number of bird species.

In Lagonglong we visited the Tinabu-an Arts and Crafts where novelties made from sinamay (abaca) fabric are fashioned in varied colors and shapes.

Then we went to Medina town where the Pasiyo Ta was welcomed by Andy Pelaez, the grandson of Gregorio Pelaez, Misamis Oriental’s first provincial governor. Andy manages the famous Duka Bay Resort. He brought the media group to see the ancestral home of the Pelaezes whose upkeep he supervises.

One destination that the Pasiyo Ta was looking forward to was the hatching of sea turtle eggs in Magsaysay town, where the rare hawk-beck turtle is found and where it lays its eggs.

In Photo: (left) View of the Laguindingan International Airport and (lower right) a stack showcasing goat-milk soaps.








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