Friday, March 5, 2010

Cagayan De Oro City Hall / Church Experience

Not a real roam as I would usually do. But I had the entire afternoon until evening to waste, so I thought I might as well go around CDO’s central area. And if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’d be guessing now where I first went!

Yup, the city hall area! Not that I wanted to see the mayor hehe. It’s just a course of ‘routine’ that I usually do when in a town or city. Why? Ah, it will take another long story if I started telling why. But believe me, it makes for a convenient, more efficient approach when roaming. Anyway…

Looking at the building, I was happy to note that the central edifice still retains its old style (probably American era) though it is now almost enclosed by bigger and more modern ‘extensions’. Yep, very clear that the small original structure would be too tiny for a respectable city administration to hold all its departments. A sign of progress, if I may point the obvious

I entered through that main entrance and was surprised to see too many people probably in the hundreds either waiting or walking to/from various offices. I think there are other entrances to this building since it looked like there were not so many folks viewed from the outside. Nice!

I saw a lady employee (burgis-looking) who was walking rather casually slow by a hallway, so I approached her and asked where their tourism office was. She said “doon sa next building” pointing outside and she suddenly seemed in a hurry – obviously trying to dismiss me. I just thought of a sarcastic “how friendly”! So I went out from where I entered and saw buildings in the direction of where that woman pointed.

But going there, I saw the church instead. Golly, of the many times I have been in this city, I never took notice of these “basic” structures of the city. Especially this church that sits in some kind of a crowded corner. Not so attractive as a building (to me) as it is rather new since I’m fond of old/ancient houses of worship.

I went in anyway, and was surprised that at 3 minutes past 3PM of a Friday, there was activity. Probably a novena or prayer meeting since there was no priest but just a barong-clad manong on the microphone. Nonetheless, that meant I could not go around this church. I noticed the altar was all boarded up. Under renovation.

After the church, I went walking to the right of the church so I could find the “next building” that the woman at city hall pointed towards. But all I could find were commercial buildings, some kind of an old water tower or silo whatever, until I already rounded that circular park, unto a hospital and a university or a school. Nyetang next building yan! Ah, I asked a traffic aide and he helpfully described to me that there is a building “behind” the city hall, and that the tourism office is down below. He told me its like a basement but can be seen from ground level. He even apologized to me saying “pasensya na” for the ‘wrong direction’ the city hall woman told me. I jokingly told him “ikaw dapat nasa city hall, siya dapat ang nandito sa labas. But the witty traffic aide said “ayay sir, di nagkagulo-gulo ang traffic”! As we laughed I told him that was a very good point!

So, after circling that 'circular park', there I was BEHIND the city hall and saw a lot of construction here and there. I could only tell myself, “wow, CDO must be booming”.

The building directly behind the city hall (what I was looking for, surely) looks beautiful with a lot of blue glass panels. It’s main floor is a bit elevated and I was about to go up the stairs when I remembered the traffic aide said “sa baba pa ng semento”. Eerie but I went down just the same and saw a sign that said “Barangay Tourism”. Was this it? I walked in that direction and saw a bigger signage that said “City Tourism Office”.

Entering the small room (with four tables, two on each side facing center), the four people who I disturbed in the middle of a conversation seemed to have chorused with “ano po?”, “yes sir?”, “what can we do for you?” and “good afternoon”. I almost laughed hearing all of them say those all at the same time, but said “I just need a map of the city sana, since there was no one at the airport desk”. All of them again looked at each other to ask the same question “meron pa ba tayong map”. Now it was them who laughed loudly.

The more senior-looking of the four told the ‘bayot’ “dyan sa cabinet meron pa yata”. As the lively sister started rummaging in that cabinet, the others threw in the usual questions I hear everywhere – where I am from, who was with me, what else was I doing in CDO, where am I staying, if I want white water rafting or hanging bridge and all the other blablablahs.

When a map finally appeared (I almost exclaimed “Praise the Lord” hehe), I asked them where we were on that map and so on and on and on!

Warning to talkative tourists like me, these four jolly souls in a cramped little room for an office are a bunch who can engage you in lively informative banter as long as you want! And it could eat your roaming time like it did mine! But no regrets, I enjoyed talking to all of them. I did ask them why such a small air-conditioned bodega for an office, which they could not directly answer. And when I asked if their office was not yet at river level, one of them made a sign of the cross saying simba ko!

Okay now, out of the “Barangay Tourism” I got the itch to go up and see what’s inside the seemingly beautiful upper floor with blue glass walls.

I could hear some kind of a meeting in progress and standing by the door, I saw this at front.
Nice to see that authorities are doing something to improve this sector, although as I exited from the building, somewhere in my mind was saying “tapos ano, pagkatapos ng election papalitan yan mga trainees nyo”!

Well, happy enough roam of the heart of CDO. Thanks to those tourism officers! Let’s go elsewhere in the city next!


To read the chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:
01 02 03
04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

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