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Fun in the waters of CDO

Zest Magazine heads to CDO to discover its whitewater rafting.



Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) – dubbed as the “city of smiles” – is known for, among other things, seafoods (though many of them coming from the smaller towns dotting the shorelines when heading towards Iligan City); pineapples (though many of them coming from nearby Bukidnon, where some multinational corporations have plantations that extend as far as the eyes can see); Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (LOL!); and yes, the warmth of the locals (thus the tagline).

But perhaps (still) not as widely known is that CDO is actually also a good venue for the more… adventurous; those who want to have fun via (relatively) more extreme activities. And here, braving CDO’s waters comes to mind via whitewater rafting, a good way to: 1) discover the fun that can be had at the outskirts of the city; 2) enjoying being one with nature; and 3) be somewhat more audacious.

Must-know things re whitewater rafting in CDO:

  1. There are tour companies that specialize on this (e.g. Kagay Outdoors and Great White Water Tours). What you – as a tourist – do is, simply, to call them and make the booking. Everything will then be arranged by them – e.g. transpo to and from the rivers, chow, et cetera.
  2. The price of the booking is, obviously, dependent on various factors, including: if you’re getting add-ons (like photography, meals, and so on); the class (that is, the difficulty of the rafting) you’re taking; number of hours in the water; et cetera.
  3. The tour operators have long divided CDO’s waters for rafting into three (major) classes – i.e. the higher the class, the more difficult the rafting is.
  4. There are from 14 to 24 rapids per ride, so – no matter the class you end up taking – you’re bound to get soaking wet. Meaning, bring extra clothes (and towel/s) with you.
  5. There are two (main) courses of rafting – i.e. the basic (Mambuaya to Cabula; takes two to three hours of actual river run) and the advanced (Uguiban to Cabula; takes three to four hours of actual river run).

The tour starts with you getting picked up at Divisoria (in downtown CDO). From there, you join other tourists (with the jeepney picking up tourists from hotels), and then be taken uphill (to Mambuaya or Uguiban).

When you reached the river, you are given the gears (helmets, life vests and paddles will be provided). You are then going to be “trained” – i.e. to listen to the guide, when to paddle, what to do if someone falls of the raft, and so on.

And then off you go… to brave the waters, and see CDO’s largely untouched parts. It’s fun, yes, trying to steer the raft so it won’t hit the rocky formations, and then be swallowed by rushing water – all the while trying to smile because there’s a photographer there somewhere taking random shots of everyone.

There are lulls now and then (in between rapids), and these provide opportunities to appreciate rural CDO – e.g. there are hanging bridges connecting mountains, makeshift modes of transportation used by locals to cross the raging rivers, water buffalos hiding in forests (as if no one owns them), cliffs that house rare flora… There’s beauty here for sure.

To end the day, there’s a chance for everyone to take a dip in the waters just before the rafting is wrapped up. If –as in our case – none fell off the raft while braving the rapids, the lesson of how to get someone back on board comes handy this time around, as you help your company board the raft again just before the sun starts to set.

Replenishment happens (for those who pay extra) before the tour ends, with some chow (NOTE: nothing great here) waiting for the tourists in a kubo cum resto where the jeepneys are waiting to take everyone back to the city.

This is fun, indeed; and a good change to just staying in “civilization”. Because – truly – now and then, being one with nature is the way to go to appreciate real beauty. And here, CDO’s whitewater rafting more than suffices…

The rafting costs from P1,200 per head, plus the extras.
You may reach Kagay Outdoors at: (088) 852-1021, 0917-712-2442, 0922-388-6200 or 0917-712-2323; while Great White Water Tours may be reached at (088) 851-7856, 0917-706-0677 or email


Believing that knowing on its own is not good enough, "you have to share what you know, too", Mikee dela Cruz gladly shares through his writing. A (BA) Communication Studies graduate, he had stints with UNAIDS, UNICEF and Ford Foundation, among others, writing "just about everything". Read on as he does some sharing through Zest Magazine.


On the road again? Choose the right tires for your ride

If you think it may be time to replace your tires, consider these five expert tips to simplify the process.



Lots of people want to drive, definitely. But not everyone is well-versed with the cars they drive – e.g. many drivers have difficulty selecting the best tire for their vehicle and driving needs. For many, tire selection starts at the size then jumps to what’s in stock or what’s on sale. However, there are many factors to consider when you need new tires for your car, truck or SUV. Buying tires is an investment, so it’s important to make the right decision.

You may be surprised to learn determining the best tire is as much about the driver as it is the vehicle. Choosing the right tire requires considering where you drive, how you drive and what you drive. You can explore these and other factors in the Treadwell tire-buying recommendation tool, which is based on a decade of data and real-world test results.

This tire recommendation tool combines millions of data points from tire safety checks and Discount Tire’s own test track where intensive tests are performed on tires from all major manufacturers, along with the driver’s location, vehicle and driving habits, to generate a selection of personalized tire recommendations from a variety of brands.

With more than 20,000 different models of tires available for the everyday driver, it’s no wonder tire-buying can be a mystifying process. However, tools like this can help drivers make the most informed choice while having access to the same information tire technicians use in-stores alongside their expertise. The result: empowering drivers with information and options tailored to their needs.

If you think it may be time to replace your tires, consider these five expert tips to simplify the process.

Driving Style

The type of driver you are, the kind of ride you want and how long you expect your tires to last are all factors in choosing the right tires. For example, thrill drivers might prefer tires with high levels of grip and responsiveness while those who stick to long road trips are better suited for long-lasting, smooth riding tires.

Weather Conditions

Your location and the weather you regularly encounter when you drive influence the type of tires you need. For example, drivers in the upper Midwest require tires that perform well in extreme cold and winter weather while those in humid climates like the Southeast need tires that perform well in wet conditions.


Purchasing tires is an investment. Drivers should look at the cost of their tires over time, rather than the cost up front. In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a higher quality tire based on multiple factors like increased safety, improved handling and ride quality, as well as cost per mile.

Vehicle Specifications

Tire specifications can vary depending on the type of car you own. For electric vehicles and vehicles carrying heavy loads, it’s critical to know how much weight your tires can safely support. Only install tires that meet or exceed the load requirements for your ride.

Wear and Age

Two of the most important considerations when replacing tires are tread depth and tire age.

Your tires’ tread depth directly impacts your vehicle’s ability to stop. Tires are reaching the end of their life at 4/32 inches of tread. However, your tires may be underperforming even if more tread remains, particularly in rain or extreme weather conditions.

When it comes to replacing your tires, you should also consider their age. Because the materials used break down over time, experts recommend replacing tires that are six years or more past the date of manufacture.

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Singapore Cable Car launches world’s first Skyorb Cabins

Exclusively designed for the Singapore Cable Car, the SkyOrb Cabin is the world’s first chrome-finished spherical cable car cabin. Unlike conventional cabins, the spherical design of the SkyOrb Cabins breaks the boundaries of traditional cable car aesthetics, offering a futuristic and captivating look.



Mount Faber Leisure Group officially launched the new futuristic SkyOrb Cabins on the Singapore Cable Car – Mount Faber Line. The launch of the SkyOrb Cabins took place at Mount Faber Peak, as part of the Singapore Cable Car’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The event was attended by Bob Tan, Chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation and Thien Kwee Eng, Chief Executive Officer of Sentosa Development Corporation, as well as Michael Syn, Chairman of Mount Faber Leisure Group and Buhdy Bok, Managing Director of Mount Faber Leisure Group.

SkyOrb Cabins – A cabin like no other in the world

Exclusively designed for the Singapore Cable Car, the SkyOrb Cabin is the world’s first chrome-finished spherical cable car cabin. Unlike conventional cabins, the spherical design of the SkyOrb Cabins breaks the boundaries of traditional cable car aesthetics, offering a futuristic and captivating look.

The SkyOrb cabin boasts a spectacular view through its glass-bottomed floor

Fitted with glass-bottomed floors to allow guests to view the scenery below their feet, the new cabins offer guests an elevated journey with a stunning panoramic view of the skyline. As night falls, a captivating ring of lights surrounds the cabin windows, casting an illuminating glow that imparts a distinctly futuristic ambience. 

The SkyOrb Cabins have been thoughtfully designed with double window louvres at the front and triple window louvres at the rear, providing enhanced air ventilation for guests on board. To offer an exclusive experience, only seven SkyOrb Cabins will join the existing fleet, enriching the vibrancy of the Sentosa skyline. 

SkyOrb Cabin on the Mount Faber Line

“Each SkyOrb cabin, a gleaming chrome orb soaring through the sky, embodies modern design. These cabins offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience, taking them on a discovery between Mount Faber Peak and Sentosa, unveiling breathtaking views along the way,” said Mr Buhdy Bok, Managing Director of Mount Faber Leisure Group.

Collaboratively designed between Mount Faber Leisure Group and renowned cable car cabin manufacturer CWA, the SkyOrb Cabins showcase product innovation and commitment to creating new unique experiences for guests. Based in Olten, Switzerland, CWA has enjoyed a long partnership with Mount Faber Leisure Group since the first generation of the Singapore Cable Car cabins was launched in 1974.

The SkyOrb Cabins will be open for guests to experience from 20 March 2024 and tickets will be available for sale at the Singapore Cable Car Mount Faber and Sentosa Station ticketing counters from the same day. Mount Faber Line and Cable Car Sky Pass ticket holders have the privilege of upgrading one-way of their round trip (between Mount Faber and Sentosa Cable Car Stations) to a SkyOrb Cabin experience. This upgrade costs $15 per person on weekdays, and $20 per person on weekends and Public Holidays.

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Japan ranks as top leisure travel destination for Filipino travellers: Visa study

According to the data, 24% of surveyed Filipino respondents have traveled overseas for leisure or business purposes in the past year. This trend aligns with a broader travel resurgence across Asia Pacific, with 37% of those surveyed reporting overseas travels within the same period.



Visa, a global player in digital payments, has published its most recent Green Shoots Radar study[1]. This quarterly report analyzes consumer sentiments across various sectors, such as financial services, commerce, and travel.

The study reveals a surge in travel frequency among Filipino travelers. According to the data, 24% of surveyed Filipino respondents have traveled overseas for leisure or business purposes in the past year. This trend aligns with a broader travel resurgence across Asia Pacific, with 37% of those surveyed reporting overseas travels within the same period.

Japan emerged as the top leisure destination for Filipino travelers, with 32% visiting in the past year. Singapore (22%) followed by Hong Kong (21%) and Thailand (18%) were the next most popular destinations. For business trips, Singapore led the list with 25%, followed by Japan (23%), and the United States tied with Hong Kong at 18%.

Filipino travelers prefer to book flight tickets directly from the provider’s website (44%). Among those respondents who booked their accommodations through Online Travel Agencies and paid the full amount upon booking, using credit cards is the most popular payment mode (41%), followed by mobile/e-wallets (28%).

Jeff Navarro, Country Manager for Visa Philippines, said, “As cross-border travel gains momentum in the Philippines and the region, we have a significant opportunity to maintain visibility throughout travelers’ journeys. This involves being present during destination searches and bookings, using Visa cards on travel apps for smoother transactions, and engaging consumers with authentic travel and shopping content to create a secure and seamless digital payments experience for everyone, everywhere.”

The future of travel remains promising, with 65% of Filipino respondents planning overseas leisure travel in the next 12 months. The top three leisure destinations intended in the next 12 months are Japan (38%), followed by South Korea (29%) and Singapore (16%). For business travel, Japan (19%), Canada (13%), and South Korea (12%) are the most likely destinations.

According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions 2023 study[2], majority (89%) of Filipino travelers used credit (44%) and debit (39%) cards when travelling, for the benefits of cards’ wide acceptance (56%), accepted at ATMs (49%), and ability to be used both online and within apps (43%).

Visa’s most recent Consumer Payment Attitudes 2023 study[3] data also reflect cards as the preferred mode of payment when travelling, where 25% of surveyed Filipinos use credit or debit cards online and 21% use via swipe or insert when traveling overseas.

[1] The Green Shoots Radar survey was conducted online in 14 markets covering more than 8,000 respondents, including 500 consumers in the Philippines in January 2024, towards male and female respondents aged 18-65 with a minimum household income of PHP 12,000.

[2] The Global Travel Intentions Study is the largest and longest running global consumer insights program from Visa, which surveys travelers across continents on their travel journey and payment behavior. The study was conducted across April-June 2023 to more than 1,000 Filipino respondents.

[3] The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was conducted in Oct-Nov 2023 via online interviews with 1.000 Filipino consumers across the country with a demographic mix of ages (18-65), genders and income levels.

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