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Traveling

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities Mar 19, 2013

Cagayan de Oro - the City of Golden Opportunities

Abundance without Abatement
As I continue my stay here in Cagayan de Oro (CDO), the abundance continues without abatement - it's almost bordering on surreal. When my 30-day stay at the posh Uptown Condotel was up, I didn't know where to go. Do I give up my grand ambition to develop a comprehensive online travel guide for the city and simply move on to Butuan? Before I could answer that, I received an invite to try out all the rides at Dahilayan Adventure Park and stay overnight at their Swiss-chalet style Pinegrove Mountain Resort. Of course I tried all the white-knuckle adrenaline rides - the blaze on the 840m zipline where I reached 90kph (according to the poster), and the hair-raising Dropzone where I swung like a pendulum from 120 feet up. But upon returning back to CDO, the lingering question I now faced was, where do I go now? As a no-permanent-address person, this question hovers on top of my head like a shadow I can't run away from. But again, in an uncanny way, I received a text, "I hope it's not too late. Just got in touch with my sister and we'd be happy to welcome you as our guest at Hotel Conchita." Whoa! Is fate toying with me? Always, in the last dying seconds when all seems lost, the unseen hand that has been looking after my well being comes to the rescue. Always!

Onion Analogy
As if that's not good enough, while nicely tucked into my new home, I received another invite to partake of CDO's staple tourist offering - the wild white water river rafting through Great White Rapids. Whoa! Additionally, I'd been introduced by new acquaintances to their friends, and friends of friends. I'm taken to different parts of town where I discover great eating places and cool chillout digs in the city. CDO was becoming an onion, revealing something new about itself with every peeling layer.

Beyond Borders
While I'm in CDO, grace and abundance continue to come my way from places outside its borders. Clients from other parts of the country have opted to renew their subscriptions, and an overseas industrial diamond-cutting company commissioned me to redesign and develop their corporate website. From my global sites, to my local sites and now the full-on industrial website, I'm drowning in work. In local parlance, "jingle lang ang pahinga" (pee-ing is the only rest I get).

COHARA
Very recently, I was invited by a client to attend the induction of new officers to CDO's hotel and restaurant organization, COHARA (Cagayan De Oro Hotel & Restaurant Association). Here's the background. As I travel the country, not connected to any powerful organization that can provide me an introduction to the establishment decision makers, I have no choice but to "pound the pavement" through email, phone calls and actual "knocking on doors". And as can be expected, since nothing distinguishes me from that of the common salesman, I get brushed-off like a common salesman - to which I am, a common salesman. I understand that part - business owners are inundated by everyone trying to sell them something. It's the job of the security guard, the receptionist and the secretaries to shield their bosses from folks like me. So back to the COHARA induction, I now find myself in a room full of people whose names I've seen a zillion times as I try to talk to their employees in arranging an appointment for me. And a zillion times, the doors slam shut in my face ("give us your number and we'll call you" - of course, the call never comes). Now, I see them all in one room, this time with faces to the names. I met with nearly all of them. I found them to be very natural within their elements, not unlike your next door neighbor. I was amused that I somehow found myself in their presence - in my parlance, being at ground zero where the apostles gather. The last thing I wanted to do was talk business. I was just glad to be there and appreciate the added dimension mantled onto their names.

Region X Tourism Director
The highlight for me in that event was meeting the Region X Tourism Director. He delivered a keynote speech about the challenges facing tourism that resonated with me. In fact, he echoed the very same theme I touched on when I delivered a talk to a graduating batch of tourism graduates at the Don Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte. Fortnately, I got an audience with him shortly after his talk. I told him about my grand vision for the online travel directory I'm developing for CDO and the fact that it won't cost the city a centavo. He understood the parallelism we were both unto and scheduled a meeting shortly after the Holy Week together with other Department of Tourism stakeholders. I'm crossing my fingers that when I make my presentation, it will fall into open ears who can open doors for me to realize this ambitious project that's already underway.

Jilted by Davao
If things don't go my way, I tend to feel defeated as I move on to the next destination. This is how I feel about Davao. I can't seem to get over that painful episode. Despite my due diligence (an understatement for banging on a city wall that couldn't be breached), nothing came out of it notwithstanding the looming possibilities and the promising horizon that lay ahead. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but even though I left with a heavy heart, I didn't really lose anything. Why? Because there is always a next destination for me to start all over again - that's what I do. But Davao lost in the process. Why? Very few people can do what I do on the web. Of those who can, very few again would have the machinery in place the way I have mine (vertically integrated websites launching an online marketing campaign through filtered information architecture and search engine optimization). And again of those, very few would provide that service without charging an arm and a leg. I offered my service to Davao for a song. Davao could have availed of my service in exchange for thin air, but it chose to turn its back. Every destination has its own rhythm and pace. It's not in my place to rock the boat no matter how noble my intentions are.

Partnership with Cagayan de Oro
I'm grateful that is not the case with CDO. CDO gave me a chance to be useful. It allowed me to make a difference. And I want to show my gratitude by pulling all the stops and bring together an amalgamation of every lesson gleaned from all my travels in developing this online travel portal. Cagayan de Oro will be the perfect example of an online travel guide - comprehensive information (but clutter-free), search engine optimized, customized Google Mapping, credible online ratings, Facebook integration, email tracking system, high-rez picture gallery, etc.

Ending Thoughts

Something Shaping Up
Even though the abundance can be overwhelming given that I was in the red before all this, I see it simply as a staging point for the next progression. What exactly are they? I don't know. It's just a feeling. Already, I see diverse elements aligning themselves or converging for something sizeable to happen. As for me, I see my role here as a catalyst to facilitate whatever needs to happen. Maybe a conductor in a symphony is more like it. I myself am curious what all this movement is shaping up to be. I'm not willing to take ownership of the bounty that comes out of this. I mean, after realizing whatever this is, I would probably walk away from it and start something new from scratch again.

Karmic Process
Of course it can be argued that the turn of events were nothing more than coincidence. Perhaps. But the uncanny timing and the frequency to which they happen resemble more of a repeating pattern than a random cast of the die. It can be argued again that credit really goes to the individual players who made it all happen. Of course! I cannot deny that. But as I transcend the obvious play-by-play, I begin to see how all these individual players are variables that begin to fit nicely into an elegant equation that fulfill what I would call a Karmic Process. I believe we are all a part of this process whether we realize this or not. Through our actions, we become party to life's ever-evolving balance sheet that perpetually checks and balances itself, in compliance to this karmic process. It's not pre-destination. It's not even about playing a zero-sum game. It's about life finding out a way to manifest our desires through a myriad of participating variables in accordance to the natural order of things.

Letting Go
Given this abundance, I noticed one subtle thing - the more I let go and cease control, the more doors open up and the more things become productive. I'm a control freak. I want control on every single pixel on my websites and I try to wield control in just about everything I do - it's in my nature. I noticed that the more control I exercise, the more resistance I get. At the end of the day, I'm left with performance that I would consider less than stellar. On many episodes during my stay here in CDO, I catch myself wanting to exercise control like I always do. I hold back deliberately, almost being benign and just watching things unfold as I continue to remain open to possibilities. My analogy? It's like dealing with water. No matter how much you control it, it will always find its own level and settle where it finds equilibrium. It's simply best to be in compliance to this natural process. If your heart is in the right place, things and events will find its own way of unraveling to manifest your desires, as it continues to do so for me in CDO.

High Gear on Borrowed Time
Before I arrived in CDO, I was drowning in red ink. Even though I'm now in the black, money was never my motivation - perhaps a measure of validation, but never the end goal. I still find bliss in my meager resources and I continue to turn my back on whatever guarantees life can offer. I'd rather take my chances on the open road with no safety net. To me, that's life. At some point, I will become restless again and bid Cagayan de Oro adieu. But while the going is shifting into high gear, I'll make the most out of this borrowed time to realize my vision for this city of golden opportunities.

Thank you Cagayan de Oro, and thank you to the individual players who make it all happen for me (I don't think they want to be named). I am profoundly grateful.

--- TheLoneRider

Latest addition - later that night, I was invited to attend the Wedding Zone dinner event. I won the grand prize - free round trip ticket to any local destination! Cagayan de Oro is now beyond belief for me. This is already surreal...and I love it!!!

Cagayan de Oro Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Marissa Monsanto FalvoMarissa Monsanto Falvo
(Mar 21, 2013) Your article about CDO made me smile --- I wonder what your next destination will be. Thank you for promoting Karera Lakas Pilipinas in your wonderful site!

Mar 19, 2013

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