Mikko Mahinay is unlike many of today’s multi-hyphenate millennials enjoying immense online popularity. For one, he started way before social media had evolved to what we know today. Pre-Instagram, Mikko has been freelancing as a writer, stylist, photographer, and brand consultant, and chronicling his work on his blog Nine Lives. Self-expression and creative fulfillment are what fuel him rather than the presumed perks of blogging. Most notably, the proudly self-proclaimed probinsyano has his base of operations not in Manila, but in Cagayan De Oro. While he did work and stay in Manila for a while and his jobs take him back and forth a lot, according to Mikko, living in CDO is having the best of both worlds. Here’s why.
1. It’s a great place for young creatives to thrive.
“As a digital personality, one of the many questions I get asked—truthfully or as some sort of millennial joke—is ‘How to be you?’ As in, how to be an effective influencer. One of my reflexive responses is to credit my hometown of CDO. It’s moderately laid back ambiance gives one enough space to be inspired by and create art while being progressively metropolitan enough to keep creativity as an actual business. I live right at the heart of the city, so I get to enjoy a fair amount of independence and autonomy while still feeling connected to everything. It’s a nice balance.”
2. There are many Instagrammable food haunts.
“The city has a plethora of cafes and restaurants that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing but gastronomically satisfying as well. Add to the fact that these establishments are all reasonably-priced and a stone’s throw away from one another, usually just a street apart or even lining the same one: from the artsy tea room Chingkeetea, to CDO’s newest cute café Apostrophe, on to quaint French-inspired restaurant Maison de Bon Bon and Filipino-Spanish heritage restaurant Cucina Higala. There’s always one for you, whether you’re an Instagram-crazy millennial, a foodie on a hunt for authentic Kagay-anon fare, or a professional keen on having only the best dining experience.”
3. The city offers top-notch education.
“CDO doesn’t fall short of excellent academic institutions. My alma mater Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan’s college is located in the middle of the city’s cultural heritage area, while its high school is in the rapidly developing uptown area. Rosevale School, a sister school of the renowned PAREF schools in Alabang, Quezon City, Cebu, and Iloilo, also offers kindergarten to high school. The main campus of Abba’s Orchard Montessori School is beautifully situated on a mountain, with a breathtaking view of Bukidnon. Needless to say, all schools have programs and organizations contributing to Mindanaoan art and culture, with campuses like Liceo de Cagayan University and Capitol University having halls dedicated to frequent performances and shows.”
4. Paradise is within reach from all directions.
“CDO is the port of entry to several of Northern Mindanao’s treasures. Just 45 minutes away from the city, you’ll find yourself in Initao around pristine white sand beaches, glorious jaded cliffs, and turquoise waters rivaling those of Boracay’s. With the same travel time toward the opposite side of the city, you’ll find yourself in “Mindanao’s Food Basket” Bukidnon, surrounded by lush forests, crisp fresh air, and mountains reaching the skies. It’s also where Asia’s longest zip line can be found. Meanwhile, worth the three-hour transit is Camiguin Island, which is just as beautiful but not as expensive as El Nido. Even Cebu and Bohol are simply a half-hour flight away from the Laguindingan airport, with airfare usually costing just around P3,000 even for last-minute bookings.”
5. You can have it both ways here.
“For me, if there’s one advantage CDO has over other cities, it’s the convenience of having everything within a reasonable distance. It spares you from the stress of heavy traffic, saves money and most importantly, time. Any hardworking individual could use an escape from mental torture every now and then, without necessarily having to be so far removed from the urban life. CDO’s right balance of a provincial and metropolitan environment has done me right.”
It seems it’s not just Mikko’s Instagram feed that is #goals but the independent urban lifestyle he leads in Cagayan De Oro. Imagine going home to a place that doubles as your creative workspace. Having your fave hangouts and major establishments within reach. Knowing that a beach getaway is always just a few minutes away. Imagine getting all the modern comforts the city brings, sans the traffic and stress! You too can enjoy the very best of CDO condo living at Avida Towers Aspira, an estate located at the heart of the city. With its resort-like amenities and accessibility to all these awesome places, Avida Towers Aspira will make a wonderful home away from home.