Last April of 2016 we visited Iligan, the City of Majestic Waterfalls and Cagayan de Oro also known as River of Gold.
We went there for just a couple of days (3 days) to attend our friend’s wedding and of course a great opportunity also to wander the beauty of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. I’m going to skip the first part which is the wedding ceremony because I think that’s too personal and should be cherished by me and friends only, what I am going to share is the adventure part. Just a quick background Iligan has a total land area of 813.37 square kilometers (314.04 sq mi), making it one of the 10 largest cities in the Philippines regarding land area. It had a population of 342,618 inhabitants in the 2015 census. The name Iligan is from the Higaunon (Lumad/Native of Iligan) word “Ilig” which means “to go downstream.” (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iligan#City_of_Majestic_Waterfalls)
The primary dialect in Iligan is Cebuano though Tagalog and English are also widely understood, so we didn’t find it a problem in communicating with the locals and it still feels like home. There are 23 waterfalls in Iligan, but we only visited three waterfalls as we needed to head to Cagayan the next day (I know we’re such a loser, but we will come back and try the other falls soon).
Maria Cristina Falls
So the day right after the wedding rights we immediately started our adventure, and because Iligan is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls then our adventure was waterfalls hopping, and our first stop was the famous Maria Cristina Falls located at NPC Nature’s Park. Maria Cristina Falls is a no swimming zone attraction, the waterfalls are for your eyes only though its majesty is enough to astound you. The Maria Cristina waterfalls have two levels but during our visit they close the top-level but usually every Sunday at 11 AM they will open all the gates, and you’ll see the majestic waterfalls of Maria Cristina in its full glory (and you will see that it’s a twin falls). The entrance fee is 35 pesos each, and if you don’t have a car, then you can just ride their nature park cab for 10 pesos only. The park has a mini-zoo with birds, koi fish, crocodiles, ostrich and monkeys. You may also try their tree-top zipline which you will cross the rushing river below. If you are hungry, then don’t worry because they have a cafe where you can buy some snacks and souvenirs while watching the waterfalls (what I love right there was their mango iced candy)!
The next stop was Tinago Falls where we were all excited because unlike in Maria Cristina Falls which is a no-swimming attraction Tinago Falls is a go-and-have-fun-swim-Allday attraction! YEY!
Located in Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City and just a few minutes ride from the city proper, Tinago waterfalls is a must-to-visit waterfall in Iligan. The falls is 240 feet (73 m) high and the water plunges into a basin-like pool which appears like a blue-colored lagoon. All visitors in Tinago Falls are required to wear a life jacket even if you know how to swim or even if you are an Olympian, safety is their priority! Before going to the waterfalls, we opted to bought our food (the famous puso or hanging rice, Lechon manok, liempo, chips and soft drinks along the way for our lunch. At the vicinity, we paid the entrance fee (Php 25 each), rented a life jacket (Php 25 each), bamboo raft ride (Php 15 each) though this is optional but better try since it’s worth it if you are in a group. Prepare yourself as well for an instant cardio as you go down/up the 500~ish steps winding staircase so better bring everything that you will need below (food, drinks, cameras, bags, towels, power banks, etc.).
Trivia: Tinago root word is tago, which means hide so Tinago means concealed in the local language (Bisaya/Cebuano).
It was a fun experience and I truly enjoy the #paFallsDay
We were overwhelmed with the beauty and fun that Tinago falls brought to us that we almost have forgotten to climb up and that we still have an adventure the next day hahahaha…
Anyway, since the adventure supposedly a waterfalls hopping then we tried another one more hop to make it really a waterfalls hoping hahahaha! After we were done preparing and packing out from Tinago waterfalls we went straight to Mimbalot waterfalls. The Mimbalot waterfall is located in Brgy. Buru-un, Iligan and the most accessible waterfall attraction, for it is located 500m away from the highway and approximately 11km drive from the city proper; just take a jeepney with Iligan to Buru-un marking hanging in their windshield and tell the driver to drop you at the Iligan City National School of Fisheries then walk for 500m. The waterfall foot and its stream has a restaurant and an activity center where you can dine and let the water runs at your feet or under you as they have bridge-like-dining area. They also offer fun activities like zipline, cable car (don’t expect a Hong Kong like cable cars hehehe), ATV and Dirt bikes at the Eco park.
It was a fun experience and I truly enjoy the #paFallsDay (That’s what I name of my album in FB album) and I tell you, your visit in Iligan would not be completed if you will not check out Iligan’s famous peanut store from Cheding, I bought a couple of bags as my pasalubong.