Chasing Waterfalls in Iligan
by Desiree Rose Ramoso
Can you believe that one city alone can have a total of 53 waterfalls in it? Born and raised in the majestic city of waterfalls, even I have to admit that I have not seen and visited all 53. Some of them are located just on the side of the national highway. It’s a common sight in the outskirts of the city and just a view we pass by every day. Waterfalls are always a sight to behold even from afar and as you get closer, you can’t help but marvel and love the sound of water rushing down from the heavens. It’s like music to a nature lover’s ears. Here are the top four waterfalls that you should not miss when you find yourself in the vicinity of my hometown, Iligan City.
Maria Cristina Falls
This body of water is probably one of the most famous ones in the Philippines. Decidedly, it provides electric power to almost all of the entire island of Mindanao. The city even bears the image of the falls in its logo. The name Maria Cristina was taken from the folklore of two maidens, Maria and Cristina, who jumped off a cliff because of unrequited love. In the wake of their deaths emerged the great Maria Cristina Falls. It’s so enormous and thunderous that it has been closed off to swimmers and made an electric power plant. Only professional divers can explore its waters. But tourists can still visit the falls and take pictures from a viewing deck. From the deck, you will feel a cool mist of water that sprays onto the face. Since it has become one of the main attractions when coming to Iligan, a zoo and a wide array of plants have also been placed inside the premises of the power plant.
Tinago falls is the most breathtaking of all the waterfalls in Iligan. It was once said to be a home to fairies and if you just listen closely, you might hear them in the place still. The locals in the area always caution the tourists not to create too much noise and commotion so as not to disturb the sleeping fairies. Before reaching the falls, you have to take a long hike going down. It’s approximately about five hundred steps. An entrance fee is collected by the barangay community to help maintain the cleanliness of the place. And if you can’t for the life of you have the energy and stamina to make the five hundred steps down, you can always hire the locals to carry you for a little fee. At the bottom of the falls, you will find a few huts and grills to cook your food. Adrenaline junkies often enjoy cliff diving in the rocks surrounding the falls. There is also a bunch of bamboos all strapped in to make a ferry that carries people from the shore to the foot of the waterfalls. The nearer you get, the more difficult it is to hear each other. One should not miss this activity when going swimming there.
On the other hand, Mimbalot Falls is famous for the man-made mini pools created at the foot of the waterfalls. There is a pool for the kids and a wider pool for the adults. Inside the biggest pool are huts where people can sit and experience the cold waters as they rush past while enjoying their beers. Tourists also enjoy climbing the formation of rocks found at the bottom of the waterfalls and have their backs massaged with the steady force of water tumbling down. It’s an altogether soothing and relaxing experience. Mimbalot Falls is a great place to take the family for the weekend.
If you are up for a little hike in the mountainside then Dodiongan Falls must be in your checklist. This beautiful structure of cascading water remains to be undisturbed yet by the stream of tourists that come in and out of the city. When I had the chance to see it for the first time, we had the waterfalls all to ourselves. It was so quiet and peaceful that it was not hard to imagine fairies calling it home. You have to be there to experience the mystical feeling that resonates in the sounds that surround the body of water. It is open for swimming, however, caution must always be observed. There are no locals that guard the entrance of the waterfalls so it is best to clean up when going home. Some do a photo shoot in the area since it is mostly secluded. Chances are, you will also have the entire waterfalls to yourself when you get there.
Other Must See Places in Iligan
Iligan is also known for Timoga, the famous spring pools. It a group of pool attractions that boast the overflowing spring waters of Burun- un. It is hard to miss since it’s found very near outside of the city and on the national road. You haven’t been to Iligan if you haven’t been to Timoga. When passing by, you always hear the squeals of laughter from the people enjoying the ice cold waters of Timoga. A few people have asked me time and time again how cold the water really is. Well, the water is so cold that you will find yourself shivering even under the sun’s scorching heat. It is also recommended to try the delicious and crunchy Lechon that is sold in front of the various establishments in Timoga. After a day of visiting the impressive waterfalls and topping it off with a swim in the Timoga spring pools, one should pass by Cheding’s Toasted Peanuts located in the heart of the city and buy from a variety of home-cooked peanuts ranging from toasted, hot and spicy and sugarcoated peanuts to name a few. The place is always packed with tourists wanting to purchase the local delicacy. In a world full of skyscrapers and industrial innovations, my hometown is a good place to contemplate and appreciate the natural wonders of this earth. After all, you can always go chasing waterfalls in Iligan.