Welcome to Cagayan de Oro, the city of golden friendship. This bustling metropolis, tucked away in the northern part of Mindanao, Philippines, may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of ideal expat locations. However, its thriving economy, warm locals, and exciting outdoor adventures make it a place worth considering for expats looking for a budget-friendly destination that delivers on both culture and comfort.
Affordability (13 out of 15)
Living in Cagayan de Oro (often abbreviated as CDO) is notably cheaper than in major western cities. Food, housing, and transportation are all reasonably priced, which means your dollar will stretch further here.
Safety & Security (12 out of 15)
CDO’s peace and order situation has improved significantly over the years. While the city does encounter some instances of petty crime, serious offences are few and far between.
English Language Accessibility (9 out of 10)
The Philippines is known for its English proficiency, and CDO is no exception. Whether you’re ordering at a restaurant or asking for directions, you’ll find that most people here are able to communicate effectively in English.
Public Transportation and Infrastructure (8 out of 10)
Public transport in CDO mainly consists of jeepneys and taxis, with the city also promoting the use of bicycle lanes. Internet connection, water supply, and power stability are relatively good, with ongoing improvements.
Proximity to a Good Airport (8 out of 10)
Natural Beauty & Outdoor Recreation (5 out of 5)
CDO is known as the adventure capital of the Philippines, with white-water rafting, zip-lining, and trekking among the popular outdoor activities. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, from the stunning Macahambus Gorge to the relaxing beaches of nearby Opol.
Food, Dining & Social Scene (4 out of 5)
CDO offers a mix of local and international dining options, from street food stalls to upscale restaurants. The city’s nightlife is vibrant, with numerous bars and clubs providing plenty of opportunities for socializing.
Climate (4 out of 5)
CDO enjoys a tropical climate, with plenty of sunshine interspersed with occasional rainfall. It is also known as a typhoon-free city because it is located outside the country’s typhoon belt.
Expat Community & Services (3 out of 5)
While there is an expat community in CDO, it is not as large or as organized as in some other Filipino cities. However, the friendly locals more than make up for this, always willing to lend a hand and make newcomers feel welcome.
Availability of Internet (6 out of 10)
Internet services in CDO are decent, with a range of providers available. However, connectivity can be sporadic in certain areas and during peak times.
Availability of Emergency Medical Care (3 out of 5)
CDO houses several hospitals, but the availability of specialized treatments might be limited. For more advanced healthcare needs, one may need to travel to Manila or Cebu.
Cultural, Recreational Activities & Entertainment (2 out of 5)
While CDO has its share of malls, movie theaters, and festivals, the city’s cultural scene is relatively modest, especially when compared to larger cities like Manila or Cebu.
Cagayan de Oro offers a unique blend of affordability, safety, and adventure, earning a respectable score of 78 – a solid C+ on Doc’s scale. It may not be the first choice for everyone, especially those seeking a large expat community or a thriving cultural scene. However, for the adventurous expat who appreciates natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a lower cost of living, CDO could be a golden opportunity.
As a reminder that this system is based on objective criteria and doesn’t account for your personal preferences, note that Gio of Gio in the Philippines ranks this city as #1 in his list of 5 Best Retirement Cities in The Philippines.
This evaluation is geared towards expats seeking affordable living arrangements and not those looking for vacation spots or other purposes.