"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Focus: Iligan City, Her Lures, and More

"If I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, 
I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water." 
-- Chapter 23 of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Every time I get asked where I am from, my quick reply is “Iligan City” --  the name of my birthplace, the name of my home. After I provide that information, the follow-up question I almost always get, if it's not a sheepish "Where's that?" from the geographically-challenged travel enthusiast, is this: “What’s in Iligan?”

Where is Iligan?
(image source: google maps)

Iligan City, a highly urbanized industrial city in the northern part of Mindanao, is approximately 795 kilometers southeast of the Philippine capital, Manila. 

Iligan's geographic location is strategically interesting in itself and puts her total territory of 81,337 hectares at the central part of the Visayas-Mindanao domestic economic growth area. The city defines her northern boundaries with the municipalities of  Lugait and Manticao of Misamis Oriental, her southern boundaries with the municipalities of Balo-i and Linamon of Lanao del Norte as well as the municipalities of Kapai and Tagoloan of Lanao del Sur. To her northeast is Cagayan de Oro City, to her east is the municipality of Talakag, Bukidnon, and to her west is Iligan Bay, which connects to the Visayas' Bohol Sea. These boundaries make Iligan the blessed crossroad of the diverse cultures of the Christian settlers & migrants, the Maranaos of Lanao del Sur, and the Higaonons of Bukidnon.

Iligan City in the Map of Northern Mindanao 
(image source: http://oftraveling.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/hello-world/)

Iligan City is not just my home. She is also home of the other 300,000+ Iliganons who identify with her rich cultural mix which, through the years, has allowed Christians, Muslims, and indigenous groups like the Higaonons to live harmoniously in one territory. Our Iligan is also home of Mindanao's major hydroelectric power source, various metal & steel-related industries, cement factories, and food processing mills -- all of which make her the country's Industrial Center of the South.   

Aside from being an industrial hub, Iligan is also blessed with natural waterscapes and is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. You see, one of the things that Iligan can really boast of is the abundance of water. On one side, she is bounded by lush mountains where cold springs and cascades of freshwater come from and, on the other side, she is bounded by a body of seawater. The city is blessed with more than 20 waterfalls and I will introduce you to four of them.

In Full Grandeur: The Maria Cristina Falls

Maria Cristina Falls, a stunning 98-meter high cascade of water, is the most popular among the many waterfalls of Iligan City. It is a major city landmark located in the Agus VI Complex of the National Power Corporation (NPC) found in the borders of Barangays Maria Cristina, Buru-un, and Ditucalan -- just about 9 kilometers southwest of the city proper.

Maria Cristina Falls perfectly represents both beauty and the veritable power of nature. At full grandeur, water flows generously from the top of a sheer cliff where a natural wall of jutting rock splits the water flow, creating a beautiful image of twin falls.

Maria Cristina's strong and voluminous water flow allows hydroelectric power generation by NPC's Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant, which utilizes 90% of the water of the Maria Cristina to generate power for Iligan and neighboring parts of Mindanao. The twin falls may not be visible all the time due to NPC's man-made controls on the water flow but Maria Cristina Falls remains photogenic and a mesmerizing symbol of nature's might.

The 98-m high Maria Cristina Falls under very controlled waterflow conditions. 

Maria Cristina Falls is best seen from the viewing deck at the third floor of the Agus VI Hydroelectric Power Plant during Sundays at 11 o'clock in the morning when waters are allowed to freely flow from the top of the drop to reveal the natural twin cascades.

Part of the pool several meters away from the foot of Maria Cristina Falls.
The booming sound of water and the a-swirling and a-foaming rapids at the foot of the drop should be enough to convince anyone that swimming in Maria Cristina's natural pool is not allowed.

Not very far from the jump-off to Maria Cristina Falls is Mimbalut Falls. It is located about 11 kilometers away from the city proper and is just a walking distance from the School of Fisheries in Brgy. Buru-un. 

Mimbalut Falls

Like Maria Cristina, Mimbalut Falls is also visually striking. In contrast to Maria Cristina, Mimbalut Falls is not so high at only 27 meters from the top of the drop to the bottom. The beauty of the falls is in the way the water creates an approximately 5-meter wide curtain as it cascades along rocky slopes. The sight is very soothing. The water flows gentle enough for one to enjoy getting wet and taking a dip.

Well-hidden 13.8 kilometers away from the city proper and also accessible via Brgy. Buru-un and existing truly to its name is Tinago Falls, a captivating well-known scenic spot in Iligan City.

Tinago (translation: hidden) is so named because of its location and accessibility. It is hidden deep in a ravine and, to see the cascading waters, one has to go a long, long way down first -- like 350+ steps. This means that anyone who wishes to see Tinago must be physically fit to make the energy-zapping trip to and back from the falls. The wonderful sight of Tinago's cascading waters and the 55-foot deep turquoise lagoon is a lure worth pursuing and "toiling" for.

Tinago Falls
Ain't Tinago a marvelous sight? Cool, clean and clear water, as freshwater should be! It's fun to swim to the foot of the 73-m high falls and meet the waterdrops there. Actually, they're more like jets of water beating down on your head and body -- free natural massage with cool ouch factor! 

Located some 14.5 kilometers north of the city proper, between Barangays Bonbonon and Digkilaan, is a 20-meter high picturesque waterfalls called Dodiongan. Getting to the waterfalls involves riding a habal-habal (motorcycle) from Brgy. Barina-ut to get to the jump-off and a trek along uneven paths and rocky trails surrounded by very countryside scenery.

Dodiongan Falls

Dodiongan Falls is an interesting sight to behold. The volume of water splits into two at the start of the drop and each section slides along concrete-like boulders. The water on the left section cascades more gently like a fast moving veil, while water on the right section falls down more strongly like an angry rush of water. The plunge pool of clear, cold water is good for swimming.

For those who do not want to go trekking but still want to enjoy swimming in water that's flowing, icy cold, and crystal clear, Iligan City has an array of resorts with free-flowing freshwater pools in Timoga, Brgy. Buru-un. 

Enjoy water that's free flowing, icy cold, non-chlorinated, and crystal clear!

Visit Iligan, explore and experience the place to satisfy your curiosity and your longing!

This is an official entry to the Iligan Blogging Contest 2012.


  1. Hi! I'm just leaving this comment to keep the details right, friends! The abbreviation, "Brgy." before Barina-ut should have not been there. According to a friend, Barina-ut is a sitio of Brgy. San Roque. I stand corrected. Thank you very much for the callout.

  2. Ah, Iligan. I grew up most of my childhood here before we moved to Bohol. Looking forward to visit the city soon. Iligan will always be my first home.

    1. hi earl! iligan, she beckons, she'll always lure us back. we who grew up as iliganon remain iliganon -- we may not be in iligan now but, take heart, we never really left home! (",)


      "You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right." (Maya Angelou)

  3. Congratulations on your " Award Winning " blog about Iligan City. I have traveled half way around the world to visit this amazing place not once, but 5 times and I look forward to future visits ! People often ask why I keep returning to Iligan and you have provided some of the answers here in your blog.

    Iligan CIty

    Simply Amazing !

    1. thank you for stopping by and for taking time to leave a comment, bob. i am glad you gave iligan your time and attention when she first beckoned to you from halfway around the world and i'm mighty glad that you still continue to allow her lures to draw you and keep you coming back. out of the many other places in the world you could go to, you chose iligan -- your choice inspires even us iliganons.

      best regards,
      valynn :)

  4. 1989...My heavy footsteps were taking me to a journey 24 years in the making. 2013...Lookout dear ol' Rosario Heights, a son is coming home!

    1. all the best for you, sir! the rosario heights landscape already changed a lot in the 24 years that you have been gone.


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