In the central region of Mindanao, neighboring Cagayan de Oro is the city of Iligan, dubbed as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. In fact, it is where the city got its name Iliganderived from the root word “Ilig” that means “to go downstream” in the native Iligan dialect.
How to go there? From Manila, you can ride the airplane that flies to Cagayan de Oro (Cagayan de Oro Airport), and from there, take the public transportation going to Iligan. If you’re from Davao, ride the public bus going to Cagayan de Oro that will take approximately 10 to 14 hours.
Iligan City proves it has the majestic waterfalls that have shallow water banks with cold, pristine water. This listicle will feature the famous waterfalls of Iligan City and other places to enjoy in the city.
Venture the Maria Cristina Falls
Maria Cristina Falls is Iligan’s famous landmark. This majestic waterfall has strong current that it can actually supply electric energy to the entire town through the hydroelectric power plant. Also known as the Twin Falls, the flow in the humungous cascade of this falls is separated by a stone in the brink. Maria Cristina Falls is considered to be the grandest and most spectacular waterfall among the other waterfalls of the city. Typically, to reach a waterfall, you have to trek and experience arduous walking to rocky steeps and rough pathways. Happily, the Maria Cristina Falls is not a fan of such drama. Enter the NPC Nature Park and a just a few stroll, you will reach the Maria Cristina Falls.
Explore Mimbalut Falls
Mimbalut Falls is another enchanting waterfall in Iligan City with cold water streaming from the gigantic rough cascade. According to the locals, the water source of this falls is just the same with Maria Cristina’s. The water basin is not really as shallow as typical falls, or, should I say, not really a nice pool for swimming, but you can dip into the pool and just enjoy the cold, cold water. You can also go shower yourself to the rushing water that falls from the brink. Tables are available, that means, you can bring your packed lunch or just purchase your meal to the nearby resort.
Find the Tinago Falls
Tinago Falls is another tourist destination apart from the grandeur Maria Cristina Falls. Tinago is a Filipino word that, when translated, means “hidden; concealed.” And it seems like the natives weren’t wrong naming this falls “Tinago,” because you need to search the falls by trekking a long downhill to reach the magnificent waterfall. The turquoise water pool of the falls is surrounded by massive rocks with verdant foliage that adds up serenity and calmness to this mecca.
Be brave to enter the Hindang Cave
Think you’re brave enough to get into a cave? Challenge yourself by entering the realm of Hindang Cave! Pointing stalagmites and stalactites populated inside the cave so make sure you wear your toughest footwear and avoid slipping, because, boy, you don’t want to leave the cave injured.
To enter the cave is already a challenge. You have to go through the forest and pass through the grassy trek with various plants. Don’t worry, no snakes will bite you, to say the least. The entrance to the entry of the cave (yes, the cave is quite shy to show its portal) is approximately just a couple meters wide. When you enter the small opening with vines as a curtain, you will be ported to the actual entrance of the cave, this time, a wider, broader one. Entering the cave, you will be amused slash enticed slash charmed with the wall of rocks and stalagmites in odd shapes! And also, bats – lots of them – inhibit inside the cave so consider closing your mouth to avoid swallowing their wee. *gross* (unless if it’s a yum for you).
Just keep swimming in Dodiongan Falls
Another stunning waterfall is the Dodiongan Falls. To reach this hidden precious gem of Iligan, you have to ride the jeepney and habal habal from the city proper and trek the 30-minute trail. You will pass through tall grasses and lofty proud trees. You will cross small rivers and rough steeps. You’ll know you are near when you start to hear the soothing sound of the water splash as it rushes down the cascade of the waterfall. The water bank is not as shallow or deep as Maria Cristina’s, but it sure is perfect for a quick dip. There is no store nor restaurant available in the area so make sure to pack your food before going to this waterfall. Also, expect no networks available in this area (no texting, no social media!). Optimistically, it’s a great place to detoxify from gadgets and reconnect with nature! No lights nor lampshades in the trail and in the surrounding of the waterfall so make sure to go home before twilight.
Witness the sun go shy in Centennial Park
Personally, I’ve always been so deeply in love with sunsets. I love how the sun sinks down to the horizon and turn the bright blue sky into a fusion of scarlet and orange. And if you’re like me, who is obsess with sunsets, then you might want to halt in Centennial Park. But before entering the park, consider buying knickknacks just outside the entrance, so you’ll have something to munch while enjoying the majestic view of the scarlet horizon.
The park faces an ocean and has a seawall to push back the strong waves. And since it faces an open sea, you will be devoured with a mild breeze and cold air. Sadly, the sea is not open for swimmers because it is actually a marine sanctuary. So just enjoy the view and take few snaps with the heaven backdrop and the blinding sea line.
Relax your muscles at Timoga Cold Springs
Developed pools are usually maintained with chemicals to ensure sanitation, but not in Timoga Cold Springs. Don’t fret. That doesn’t mean that their pool is invisibly “gross.” The water that fills the 16-feet deep pool is from the flowing water from the mountain source. The pool is being drained every night and is replaced with fresh water from the source. Hence, you’ll have a new, crisp, clear, and clean water every day! The pool floor is sloping from 4-feet deep up to 16-feet deep. The Olympic size pool is perfect for the swimming buffs!
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