Byaheng Mindanao: Chasing waterfalls at the city of Iligan

          Have you been to Iligan City? It is a highly urbanized city in the Northern part of Mindanao, Philippines. It is one of the 10 largest cities in the Philippines in terms of land area. Well, I’ve been here last December 2015. The City got my interest because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area.  Iligan City is known as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls” and there are about 24 waterfalls in the city. Two of the most well known falls are the Tinago Falls and Maria Cristina Falls. 

1. Tinago Falls

        Have you watched the Filipino movie “Forever and a Day” starring Sam Milby and KC Concepcion?  One of the scenes in this movie were filmed in Tinago falls.  It is one of the main tourist attractions of Iligan city located on the Agus River in the town of Linamon. This majestic waterfalls is very true to its name “Tinago” which means “hidden”. The falls plunges 240 feet (73 m) high from a cliff. From the entrance, we registered our names and paid an entrance fee costs Php50.00 per person. Then, we trekked down in approximately 500 staircase for around 15 minutes or less accompanied by two teenage girls as local guides. OMG! We’ve seen the enchanting view that was kept hidden. I was greatly stunned the moment I’ve seen the magnificent and scenic view of Tinago Falls.

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The magnificent and scenic view of Tinago Falls.

         Upon reaching the falls, we rented a stone table for a fee which costs Php75.00. The area was packed with tourists mostly swimming in the lagoon where the falls flows in but we still enjoyed swimming in it’s cold and crystal aquamarine water. The view was surreal and the fun started when we jumped into the water. Life vests are available for rent at a cheap price which costs Php25.00 per person.wouldn’t expect that this falls is really an art of nature, it’s God’s gift to us! Perfectly great! 

          The bamboo raft ride which costs php10.00 per person wrapped up the adventure as we got to experience the thrill of its strong water current. It was a bit scary getting near the falling water but it was exhilarating. I never knew I had such courage until I experienced the beauty of this waterfalls. A refreshing dip at the Tinago waterfalls  was truly satisfying. You shouldn’t miss it!

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The Balsa ride to the falls.

DSC00868           It was fun, amazing and one heck of an adventure on the way up. We survived! We were thankful for our local guides who never left our side during the trek on the way back to the reception area. Before going back to our hotel, we gave php200.00 tips to our two local guides as an appreciation of taking care our belongings. 

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2. Maria Cristina Falls

         I’ve heard Maria Cristina falls way back elementary days when we were studying the history of the Philippines. But now that I am already a traveler, I’ve visited the waterfalls as part of my travel goals. Wow! I was totally mesmerized upon the true beauty of its nature. It is located 9.3 kilometers away southwest of the city proper at the boundaries of Barangays Maria Cristina, Ditucalan, and Buru-un. It is sometimes called the “twin falls” as the flow is separated by a rock. The waterfall is the site of NAPOCOR’s hydroelectric project that generates 70% of Mindanao’s electricity. The scenery is fantastic and truly its the pride of Iligan city. 

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            The falls cannot be access as the currents are too dangerous for anyone to swim in. We were just allowed to view and take pictures of the waterfalls. We could feel the mists from the falls which made the experience truly wonderful. 20170618_144752

          Getting there is pretty easy as the entrance to the falls is located near the main highway and is very familiar to the locals. From the entrance, we paid an entrance fee which costs Php35.00 per person and a shuttle fee costs Php10.00  per person going up way to the falls. The area is open to all visitors who wanted to see the majestic waterfalls. There’s also a zipline ride for the adventurous and a mini zoo for the kids. It has a small coffee shop that sells drinks, chips & souvenir t-shirts & other items. The premises has a clean comfort room. A bridge going to the falls also has a bat cave along its right side.    

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The Botanical Garden with Mini Zoo

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Accommodation:

         You can book and reserve a hotel for affordable price with discounts at this site at Travelbook.ph.

How to get to Maria Cristina Falls and Tinago Falls:

  1. The most convenient way to travel in Iligan city is book a domestic flight via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airline (PAL) going to Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan De Oro.
  2. From the airport, there are express van going to Agora Market costs Php200.00 per pax for one way.  Travel time is one (1) hour. There are several vans just outside the airport waiting for passengers.
  3. From Agora market, take a jeep bound to Bulua West Bound terminal costs Php12.00 per pax for one way. Then take a bus going to Gaisano Iligan City costs Php170.00 per person one way. Travel time is two (2) hours.
  4. From Gaisano Iligan city, ride a jeepney to Buru-un drop off which costs Php12.00 per person one way. It will take 20 minutes ride. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the intersection to Maria Cristina Falls. Then, walk your way to the entrance (NPC Nature’s Park).
  5. From Maria Cristina Falls to Tinago Falls, just hire a motorbike (habal-habal) for Php150.00 per person back and forth. There are motorbikes waiting at the Buru-un drop off point. 
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Iligan City at night… (Paseo de Santiago)

         Advise from the waterfalls : “Go with the flow, roar with excitement, let your cares fall away, create your own music, immerse yourself in nature, stay active and make a splash!”

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