Iligan: The city of magnificent waterfalls

Gael Hilotin, Contributor
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

When I first arrived in Iligan, a city in Lanao del Norte, it never occurred to me that it is dubbed as the “City of Magnificent Water Falls” despite housing 23 waterfalls.  This is because what greeted me is a vast industrial park dotted with cement factories and food processing mills. 

But I later realized Iligan City truly lives up to its trademark.

Iligan City is Well-known for the iconic Maria Cristina Falls of the Agus River, a source of hydroelectric power. It is located inside NPC Nature’s Park in the heart of Agus 6/7 Hydroelectric Plant Complex, situated within the political boundaries of Barangay Buru-un, Ditucalan and Maria Cristina, Iligan City.  The vast park features a mini zoo, a koi pond inside a butterfly garden, a lagoon, cottages, and viewing decks.  NPC Nature‘s Park also offers activities such as rock climbing and zip line.

Commuting to Maria Cristina Falls is fairly easy. From the city center, just look for a jeep bound to Buru-un. Ask the jeep driver to drop you off at the jump off point to Maria Cristina Falls, the landmark is a steel bridge and just walk towards the gate of NPC Nature’s Park.  Alternatively, you can take a cab from the city.  Visitors have to pay an entrance fee of Php 35 for adults while Php 20 for children and senior citizens.  To get around, there is a Php 10 fare for the shuttle.  I was surprised to find that visiting this well-known falls is dirt cheap because normally I’d pay for a hefty habal-habal (motorcycle) to take me to the water falls since they are mostly located in remote areas.  Needless to say, this 98 meter high falls is stunning. The hydroelectric plant is a great vantage point for photographing the enormous waterfall. During weekends, the power plant is said to release more water creating the second flow of Maria Cristina Falls  making it look like a twin falls.

Mimbalut Falls which is roughly 90 feet high and 18 feet wide is also located in Brgy. Buru-un, Iligan City. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the corner road to Mimbalut beside Iligan City National School of Fisheries.  You will find an eco-adventure site -Iligan Paradise Resort and Eco-Park at the upper portion of this falls. It has a cable car that crosses over the gorge of Mimbalut Falls offering tourists a panoramic view of its cascades. Also situated just a few minutes away from Maria Cristina Falls is the famed Timoga Spring Pool. It boasts of refreshing springs that flow freely to swimming pools of different sizes.

(Tinago Falls)

Unlike the easy to reach Maria Cristina Falls, exploring the awesome Tinago Falls is quite straining. Nevertheless, this 73-meter high waterfall is a highly recommended stop after touring Maria Cristina Falls.  For commuters, you can just hop on the jeep bound to Buru-un. At Buru-un, motorcycles are available to take you Tinago Falls for about Php 100. Be prepared for a tiring hike when going back from the falls because you have to climb the stairs which (according to the locals) is approximately 400+ steps.  Tinago Falls is by far one of the most beautiful falls I have seen in the country.  It flows into a sparkling basin of  deep turquoise water which is perfect for a refreshing swim. The lush green surroundings of  Tinago Falls  make the scenery feels right for a natural attraction such as this.