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Country > Philippines > Lanao del Norte > Iligan City
Date > 2013 > April
Activity > Traveling


Visiting Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan Apr 24, 2013

Visiting Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan

Location Google Map: Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan City, Philippines

Tinago Falls
Given my last remaining days in CDO, I was on overdrive to experience whatever touristy offering it had. One thing on my cross-hair was Ma. Cristina Falls. I was in Iligan in 2009 but only had enough time to see one waterfall. It was a choice of seeing Maria Cristina Falls, the most famous waterfall in the Philippines, or see the more beautiful Tinago Falls. I chose the latter. And to this date, Tinago Falls is the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen in the Philippines. From what I've seen outside the country, it ranks second only to Niagara Falls.

Visiting Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan
the grandeur of Ma. Cristina Falls

Quick Visit to Iligan
Now in Cagayan de Oro, I originally planned to moving to Iligan and not leave that place until I see all its 23 waterfalls. But on a phone conversation with Major Gimena who heads the operations of Ma. Cristina Falls' hygroelectric plant, only seven falls have water during the summer months. Furthermore, not all the falls are accessible. Some are tucked deep in the interior of the forest where brushing it means encounters with pythons, and others are ruled by tribal clans where entry is only by special permit. That put my Iligan move on an indefinite hold. However, that didn't keep me from making a quick visit to see Maria Cristina Falls. With my 3 months in CDO, it would be a shame not to see it.

Road Trip
I left my hotel at 9:45 am and didn't arrive at the falls until 1:15 pm. That was 3.5 hours on the road boarding 4 public utility vehicles - quite a long trip for a waterfall.

Major Gimena
Upon arrival, I made a courtesy call to Major Gimena whom I've only spoken with on the phone. I thought it would be a quick Hi and Hello, but he was nice enough to give me an actual tour of the hydroelectric plant.

Sighting the Falls
After the kilometer long shuttle ride, we came upon the main building that housed the power plant. That's where I saw the first glimpse of the elusive falls. It is usually referred to as the Twin Falls since there is a rock at the brink, splitting the waterflow into 2. Since it's the summer months, only one side had the water running. Modestly put, Ma. Cristina Falls was not at her finest...not in these hot months.

Plunge Pool
The plunge pool looked very inviting. I was told by Maj. Gimena that some scuba divers measured it at 50 feet, much like that of Tinago Falls. Unfortunately, since Ma. Cristina Falls is sensitive to the well-being of Mindanao's electric grid, there is a lot of security within the area. For that reason, you can only go so far to see the falls.

Ending Thoughts

Plant Tour
It's a good thing that Maj. Gimena gave me an educational tour of the plant. It added dimension to my experience and knowledge. It would be a good idea if a walking educational tour would be a regular offering to the public. That way, the viewing public don't just get to see a waterfall, but come away appreciating what this wonderful waterfall is doing to keep the Mindanao grid supplied with much needed power.

Out of Reach
Not being able to get up close and personal to the falls, and not being able to swim in its plunge pool, somehow anaesthisized the experience. But yes, the security measure is understandable.

Management has ambitious plans for the park system. They plan on adding a white water rafting feature on the short rapids, and there is talk of putting a zipline from the top of the falls all the way down to Agus 7, roughly a kilometer away. Whoa! Ziplining from the top of Ma. Cristina Falls? That one's for the books!

Trivia - while Iliganons claim that Limunsudan Falls is the highest in the Philippines at 870 feet, I came upon a site claiming the highest is Aliwagwag Falls in Davao Oriental at 1,100 feet.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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ps - If you want me to objectively cover the features of your city or municipality or barangay for this website (fiesta, waterfall, mountain trail, lake, river, cave, food, islands, beach, etc.), email me.

How to Get to Maria Cristina Falls from Cagayan de Oro

  1. within Cagayan de Oro, take a jeep to Bulua Market (Cogon Market to Bulua Market is P7, 30 mins [at night, they charge P13!])
  2. at the Bulua Market bus terminal, take any bus plying the Iligan route. P95, a/c, 1 hour 50 mins. (at night, going back to CDO, they can charge as high as P145!)
  3. get off at the Iligan bus terminal and ride a jeep going to Iligan City proper, Tell the jeep driver to drop you off where you can board the Buru-un bound jeep. P7, 15 mins.
  4. take the Buru-un bound jeep and ask to be dropped off at Agus River, P12, 30 mins
  5. get off after Agus River and follow the sign to NPC Nature's Park. It's only a 50-meter walk - no need to take a habal-habal (they might tell you its a 200 meter walk).

Fees at the Maria Cristina Falls

  1. P35/pax entrance fee
  2. P10/pax shuttle. If you're the only one, they'll ask you if you will pay the P50 fee and they won't wait for the shuttle to fill. But you don't have the option to walk the 1 km stretch to Maria Cristina Falls.
  3. P200 to avail of the canopy walk and the 3 ziplines

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More on Iligan City:

Waterfalls of Iligan

Not all of Iligan's waterfalls are accessible to the public. Some are ancestral domains and outsiders are not welcome. Some are located into the interior of the forest where you risk pythons and brushy trails along the way. The 2 most popular are linked below.

  1. Maria Christina Falls - the country's tallest waterfall
  2. Mimbalot Falls
  3. Limunsudan Falls - at 870 feet, it's the country's 2nd highest waterfall
  4. Dodiongan Falls
  5. Tinagao Falls - the most beautiful I have seen so far in the Philippines
  6. Hindang Falls
  7. Kalubihon Falls
  8. Langilanon Falls
  9. Dalipuga Falls
Iligan City Map
Iligan >> Lazi, Siquijor by bus
  1. Iligan Port - Kho Shipping Lines will take you to Lazi Port, Siquijor. 6 hours, PHP 800

  2. Iligan to Lazi

  3. Lazi Port - you will arrive around 11 pm
Iligan >> CDO >> Davao City by bus
  1. Iligan Port - upon arrival, take Tambo/Hirona jeep just outside the port gate, to the Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal, 20 mins, PHP 15
  2. Tambo Integrated Bus Terminal - take the bus to CDO West Terminal (Bulua), 2 hours, PHP 200. In CDO there are 2 bus terminals.
  3. CDO West Terminal (Bulua) - take another jeep to East Terminal (Agora Terminal), 20 mins, PHP 20
  4. CDO East Terminal (Agora) - take bus going to Davao City, 8 hours, PHP 875. This terminal is open 24 hours and there is always a bus going to Davao - no need to pre-purchase tickets
  5. Davao Bus Terminal - you'll arrive at the Davao Bus Terminal, close to SM City. From there you can take a cab ride to your hotel. There are many jeeps that will also take you to the Poblacion town center, 15 mins, PHP 12


Iligan City ILIGAN
  • Iligan City: Passing Through Aug 12/19, 2023
  • Visiting Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan Apr 24, 2013
  • Tinago Falls of Iligan City Mar 16, 2009

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