During one of my trips, I based in Cebu and met this Polish guy (who eventually got close to me). I conversed with him on our myBus trip from SM City Cebu to the Mactan Cebu International Airport and had learned a lot from their perspective as “aliens” in my homeland. He only had the chance to visit Luzon and Visayas and wished to bring his backpacks in Mindanao but although he always has the chance to, he can’t, due to the views of his colleagues and friends concerning Mindanao, especially the west side of the island.
The fears that are in most of the foreigners are inevitable since that time was only a few months past the war that peppered about in the south. I had to give all the positive comments despite the negative ones heard from outside because definitely, I know, and I was just a few kilometers away from where the war took place, and I could certify that I always had peaceful days and nights albeit the threats were blowing gaskets.
Now that it’s days away until the war’s first anniversary, I guess there wouldn’t be any other reason for foreigners not to experience Mindanao.
For vegan travelers out there, who are planning to step in the Philippines, specifically, in Cagayan de Oro, here are five of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants you might wanna visit!
Located in the vicinity of the legendary LIMKETKAI Mall, this restaurant is owned by a good friend of mine and is one of the most popular in Cagayan de Oro City. Although they serve chicken and fish dishes (meant for gradual transition), they also have vegan meal options, dairy-free beverages, and vegan desserts as their aim is to heal patients through diet and nutrition. They also offer free Health Check-Ups, Detox programs, special Meal Plans and Nutritional Counselling (depending on their schedule). If you have health problems, is interested in changing your lifestyle, or even a vegan just wanting to find a place to eat, visit Krunch.
The Echo Store Cafe
One of the most-liked things about this cafe is… they only use ORGANIC products. Yep, you read it right! Organic. Although they also don’t entirely serve vegan food, they have a lot of options on the list. From Vegan Banana Blossom Burger to Dairy-free Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (as seen above), you’ll never get enough. Within the shack is also a store of purely organic food and non-food products. Taro Chips, Organic rice, and legumes, Calabash Wines, and Bath necessities (i.e., Soaps and Shampoos) are among others. You may want to check before leaving and bring some for your friends and loved-ones.
Known as the first vegetarian resto/cafe and Health and Wellness Hub built in Cagayan de Oro, this is one of the best finds in town! It’s only 5 blocks away from Centrio Ayala Mall (you can ride from there a Motorela or Motorized tricycle beside the mall to the location – Center Point, Domingo Velez Street). They offer Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian and Vegan options. This is the only place that serves the all-time favorite Giecharon (Vegetable chicharron-inspired fried snack) and Mookie (cookies that look like muffins). They do not only serve healthy food but also sell other packaged food and non-food products straight from their company – Pilian Manufacturing and Distribution Corporation (PMDC). Totally, Pilian Cafe a great find.
Pilian Cafe is located just on the other side of the road from The Echo Store Cafe. Two best cafes in one place! In case you’re on a vegan food trip, you won’t have to grab a taxi and yet experience two vegan spots in a day.
Buen Provecho Cafe
The best feature of this cafe is their Thursday buffets! This has always been my go-to whenever I head to CdeO, especially when it falls on a Thursday. Another awesome fact about their buffets is they’re in various themes: Western Buffet, Asian Buffet, European Buffet, Barrio Fiesta, etc. rolled in cycles. Just recently, they added another theme that’s set every Tuesday namely “Green Treat” where almost everything is purely vegetables and other greens. Thus far, this cafe has never failed my expectations. Unlike the previous ones, this one’s entirely vegan and is definitely safe; they even have their own Vegetarian Shop in front of the cafe. From frozen Veggie Meats to Pasta to various Plant-based Mylks, the shop contains a long list of raw and fresh vegan products where the cafe itself get their ingredients from.
Apart from the good food, Buen Provecho Cafe is also a great place to relax as it’s located uphill at Lane 101, Upper Carmen, CdeO, next block from SM City Cagayan de Oro. Thus, it’s not only a haven of healthy and delish vegan eats but is also a great place to spend your time relaxing or even working. Try out their Vegan Smoked Salmon and Jackfruit Rendang! Every vegan will surely love ’em.
This one. Yes, this one is the last. Definitely not the least either, but the BEST. For me, personally, nothing compares to this one. I’ve gone through so many Vegan cafes and restaurants (even better than the previous ones) in and outside of the country but this certainly is the best find in town. Unlike the others, though, they do not have a restaurant and the crew only prepares dishes ordered a day or week prior due to limited stocks as to limit resource wastage. What makes this one special is the quality of not only the food but also the crew members and the owners themselves – they study the science within the food they prepare so they could not only serve you very delicious meals but the healthiest ones possible. And nope, it’s not only VEGAN but Whole-Foods Plant-Based! NO Oil (oil, butter, margarine, etc.), NO Animal Products, NO MSG or Synthetic Additives, and NO Refined Sugar and other processed goods. Safe? Environment-friendly? Compassionate? Precisely!
Abigail’s Basket also gets their resources fresh from their very own farm which means they only prepare 100% organic vegetables, fruits, legumes, and so on. They specialize not only in Veganizing the usuals but also in baking vegan pastries, Italian dishes, etc., and delivering them straight to your door. Surely, every vegan or WFPB would love their food. Make sure to pay a visit when you hop in Cagayan de Oro City.
Vegan Lifestyle in Cagayan de Oro
Mindanao is noted by many as the most abundant island among the three largest ones in the Philippines in terms of food stock and livelihood, most especially in the mountainous areas. Its label is also very apparent in some of the most locally popular cities including Cagayan de Oro – a city of a fast-growing economy. It’s a tourist-friendly place that not only gives you the best vacation sites but also the freshest produce and healthiest food (vegan, of course). Visit Cagayan de Oro and experience the high-quality foods on the spot.
“Vegan is Love”
The main ingredient in the recipe for maintaining the Vegan lifestyle is “Love.” Love nature, your body, and everything that surrounds you and you wouldn’t even notice how much good you’ve contributed to the world and your overall health – you’d even end up considering food preparation as the best part of the day.
Love nature and it’ll love you back! Happy Vegan Travels!