SEPTEMBER 1, WE WOKE UP A LITTLE LATE, LEFT A LITTLE LATE, GOT TO THE AIRPORT A LITTLE LATE. WE MISSED OUR FLIGHT TO CAGAYAN DE ORO….AGAIN! Same thing happened last year when we went for my cousin’s wedding. Ugh! Good thing the bad start didn’t define our entire vacation. WE HAD A BLAST IN CAGAYAN!

Let me start with our family (my dad’s sister and family), who always always takes great care of us when we’re there. Ever since we were kids, we would spend nearly every summer in Cagayan. I learned to swim, bake, play tennis there. We even took English classes and the like. We grew up close to our cousins and would travel places together. There was even a time that my brother and I went to the US without our parents, but with my tita Lucile, tito Rolly, manang Baba and Rando. Today, my cousins and I are all grown up. Manang Baba is now married to a great guy, Desi Fournier, and Rando is dating this mystery girl (hahahaha). Many things may have changed, but the love still remains. King and my girls are experiencing the same love and care that I did growing up. They accommodated us and fed us delicious food in their home (which is really like a 2nd home to me), drove us everywhere, took us to great restaurants, organized awesome activities for us! Not only that, Baba & Desi baby sat the kids while we were out one whole morning, Wowa Lucile gave my girls vaccinations (3 each – yeouch!), and they gave us really really really nice Crocs! 🙂

Hot spots! The restaurants we went to were all in one lane in Lim Ket Kai (a mall). If you like delicious Thai food, go to Siam. I especially loved their bagoong rice, which had green mango toppings. The best I’ve ever tasted! If you want to taste authentic New Orleans flavors, go to Bourbon Street Bistro. The chef/owner is from New Orleans, married to a Cagayan local. I loved their shrimp popcorn, their grilled shrimp, and their baby back ribs with yummy mashed potatoes! For great desserts, salads, snacks and coffee, go to Candy’s, also owned by a Cagayan local. Practically everything I’ve tried there I like, but we always order this 4-cheese spread thing with pandesal and this ball of vanilla ice cream encased by chocolate cake. Really really good!

Another hot spot in Cagayan is my cousins’ CROCS store in Robinson’s, in Lim Ket Kai. They’ve got great new styles for both kids and adults, and they’ve got this awesome promo going on with increasing discounts, the more you buy!!! They also newly opened this wonderful clothes  & shoes store called BLISS, also in Ket Kai, that carries a lot of local brands. Very chic and stylish, yet affordable! Both stores are worth checking out. The times that we dropped by, they were almost always full of customers. I am truly proud of my cousins. 🙂

Cagayan’s town plaza is called Divisoria, which they turn into a night market every weekend, with music, food, and all sorts of other things. We weren’t able to try it then, but we did get to visit the SLERS cafe there. SLERS is famous for its yummy chicharon (pork cracklings) and delicious meat products. It’s locally owned and their products/brand has been around for decades. I enjoyed their pastrami sandwich, and we brought home some of their tocino, longganiza and chicharon! 🙂

Ptr Auggie Rabara took us to another restaurant called Sentro in Divisoria too. We just had a light snack there, but we actually enjoyed their chicken fingers. What makes it more interesting is the fact that it’s right across VICTORY-CDO. They’ve got a beautiful center and a growing congregation! Wish I had pictures to prove it. Wish I had pictures of King preaching that Sunday too haha. 🙂

Adventures! When I was still single, my cousins took us tubing on the Cagayan River. We went through the rapids riding those donut-shaped salbabidas that were strapped together, so we were actually on the water the whole time. It was really fun! I almost even went under one time haha. Oh, I forgot to mention that the starting point of that trip was near a steel bridge, and we had an option to jump off of it. Rando and I jumped off, of course. So I guess you know where Danae gets her guts haha. For our honeymoon, before proceeding to Camiguin Island, King and I went tubing as well, but neither of us jumped off the bridge. This year, we went white water rafting! We were asked if we wanted our ride to be mild or wild. Everyone was willing to go wild, including my 62 year old mom! But my good husband wanted it mild. I guess you know where Noelle gets her timidity haha. To be fair, King was worried about his dislocated shoulder, hence his apprehension to flip the raft a lot. And it was a good call because we saw what the other raft went through! We did flip once, and it was a major major flip! Our raft went up a huge rock before flipping over and spilling its contents (us, the guides and our things) into the water! When I went under, I felt someone’s body on me that pushed me further down. Turns out it was my mom haha. I drank in some river water, but it was cool. It’s not white water rafting after all, if you don’t experience that!

The day before we went white water rafting, we went up to Dahilayan Adventure Park. It was an almost 2 -hour drive, passing Del Monte farms even, but it was really nice! They have pine trees and very cool weather, almost like Baguio. That’s where they have the Zorbit, that big transparent rubber or plastic ball that you get into and roll down a hill. They also rent out ATVs, you can go horse back riding and wall climbing. What we did, however, was the amazing ZIP LINE!!!! The first one, which Danae was allowed to try but as a tandem with King, was long and high enough. The second one, which Danae did solo, was shorter and lower but also fun. The last one we went on was the longest and the highest! We had to leave the kids with my uncle because my mom (yes, my mom!), King and I had to ride this monster truck who had a monster driver haha (he drove fast and hard!), to go up to its starting point. Your blood starts pumping from the ride alone! Super fun!  The zip line is 840M long, and it’s the longest zip line in Asia. Not only that, we weren’t merely strapped and hanging or sitting on our harnesses. We were on our bellies, like Superman! What a rush, whoo! Everyone who goes to CDO must try it. It’s definitely worth it! Check out the videos on the right side of this page! or click here.


For your white water and zip lining adventures, I highly recommend GREAT WHITE WATER TOURS! Jerome, who has been on tv quite a few times, and his crew have been the ones taking care of us ever since. They’re the best! What are you waiting for??? Book now! 🙂

Published by Phoebe Torres-Lucero

I am Phoebe Torres-Lucero, wife of a loving husband & my best friend, King, and mother to three wonderful, smart, active princesses who keep me on my toes. Phoebe means bright and radiant. Torres means towers. Lucero means light. Put together, my name speaks of a tower of bright, radiant light. And that is what I hope to be as I write and share my sari-sari stories with you. 😊


  1. I think when i push through having my own show in travel and living or lifestyle network, i’ll have you as one of my proud avid contributors. HAHAHA! very inspiring. i love your adventurous spirit! ^_^

  2. How exciting! Definitely one of the next stops for the Tumangans… Besides, it’s been awhile since we’ve been to the birthplace of mom… Thanks for sharing peer! Mwah! 🙂

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