In Iligan City, falls hopping is the only thing to do. Really. I was told that there are more than 20 waterfalls in this city, and that one needs to stay for two weeks in able to see most of it. It was hard to doubt it, as much of Iligan’s landscape is mountainous. I don’t know of any place in Mindanao – or even in the Philippines – that is gifted with this unique natural feature.
Some of the country’s most gorgeous cascades can be found here. As a matter of fact, Barangay Buru-un is lucky to have three falls that are close to each other, namely Maria Christina, Tinago and Mimbalut Falls.
Maria Christina is one of the few twin falls in the country. A hydroelectric plant harnesses its water for electric power, which is why visitors must be there on weekends from 11 AM to 11:30 AM in able to see the 320-foot falls in full blast. Locals and tourists alike would surely be hooked to its majestic view.
A river or lake is the source of most waterfalls. Tinago is an exception. Hidden in a deep ravine, water seeps out from a rocky wall that is about 420 feet high. Visitors will be challenged to climb down and up the 340-step staircase. The rewards are a spectacular view of this one-of-a-kind-falls, and a chance to frolic on the basin-like pool below.
Mimbalut is another unique waterfalls. Parallel lines of water cascade down a 90-foot slope, which can be an arresting sight if one is standing close to it. This falls looks best at morning, when the sun’s rays make the scenery captivating.
These three falls can be visited in a day. A few more days are needed to see the others, which is a good enough reason to return to Iligan.
HOW TO GET THERE :
1. Philippine Airlines (www.philippineairlines.com) and Cebu Pacific (cebupacificair.com) have daily flights to Cagayan de Oro. Visit their websites for their list of flight schedules.
2. Take a taxi to Cagayan de Oro’s bus terminal. Once there, hop in a Rural Transit bus that goes to Iligan. The journey is about one and a half hours long.
3. Upon reaching Iligan, go to Monterey/Masonic Temple where there are taxis and jeeps that travel to Barangay Buru-un. It’s less than 10 kilometers away from the city proper.
4. In case you’ll take a jeep, it’s advisable to go to the talipapa (stalls selling fishes) where there are habal-habal (motorcycles used as public transport) in line. Hire one to take you to the three waterfalls.