Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you.”

Iligan City is bounded on the north by the 3 municipalities of Misamis Oriental. Iligan is known as the Industrial Center of the South and its economy is largely based on heavy industries. It produces hydroelectric power for the Mindanao region through the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), the site of the Mindanao Regional Center (MRC) housing Agus IV, VI and VII hydroelectric plants. It also houses industries like steel, tinplate, cement and flour mills.

Iligan is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area. There are about 24 waterfalls in the city. The most famous as well as the city’s major landmark, is the Maria Cristina Falls. It is also the primary source of electric power of the city, harnessed by Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.

How to get to Iligan City

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour and 45 minutes. When you are arrive in Laguindingan International Airport, there are already vans waiting outside going to Iligan City or buses from Super 5 and Rural Transit for php120.

Rural Transit (RTMI) and Super 5 Transport are the dominant public bus companies with daily trips from Laguindingan to Iligan.

Where to Stay in Iligan City

There are a lot of hotels in Iligan City. The room rates vary from php200 to php1, 500 per night depending on the hours of stay, location and room amenities. Most of the budget friendly hotels do not accept phone reservations and would rather advise their customers to go directly to the hotel to book a room.

Where to Eat in Iligan City

Jaime’s Lechon Bayug has been existing in Iligan City for years serving quality food. Their lechon or roasted pig cooked over charcoal is their best-seller. The pig is placed over the charcoal, and the stick or rod it is attached to is turned in a rotisserie action. The process of cooking and basting usually results in making the pork skin crisp and is a distinctive feature of the dish. You may contact them at 09063045464 or 091779668011. They also have a store across Gaisano Mall. The store was also featured in one of the episodes of Bihaye ni Drew, a travel show in the Philippines.

You can also try B-Bu-Q Barbeque Haus located near the city post office and another branch in Pala-o. Their barbeques are delicious for only php13 per stick. They are open daily until 12mn daily. This is one of must try food when you are in the city.

 Where to have Coffee & Desserts in Iligan City

Lola G Café is one of the best coffee shops in Iligan City. They serve hot and cold drinks, whole-bean coffee, espresso, caffe latte, tea products, cakes and pastries. It is the very first Coffee Library in Mindanao. It is owned and managed by Joseph Raymond Purganan. The owner of Lola G Café is also the founder of Guild of Iligan Young Artist and an advocate of education that is why the concept of his store is library- type conducive for group studies and any literacy related activities. You may contact them at 09177161149 and is located Door 8, Chelina Arcade, Tibanga Highway. Store hours is from 11am to 10pm daily.

Frapella Crib Iligan is one newest desserts shops in Iligan City. They also offer desserts, milkshakes, fruits juices and their best sellers are their Frappuccino drinks. They have two branches, one in Tibanga and the other in Poblacion. The price ranges from php99- php239.

Tinago Falls

Tinago Falls is a waterfall in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Iligan, a city known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. The name Tinago is a filipino term meaning “hidden”, the falls being hidden in a deep ravine. Trekking to the falls requires approximately 365 descending steps called the winding staircase and you will witness a 120ft water falls.

How to get to Tinago Falls

From the city proper, you will need to ride a jeep going to Buru-un for php14. Just inform the driver that you will be going to the falls. The motorcycle ride from the baranggay proper to falls is php25 per head or if solo php50. Ms. Barbara Viray is the caretaker of an abandoned resort which is the main entry to the falls. Since there is no entrance fee, you can at least give donations in any amount for maintenance or might as well buy souvenir items from her.

Please make sure to be ready because you will need to trek 365 steps going to the falls. I also suggest to bring food if you are planning to stay there longer.

If you are not a swimmer, you can rent the life jackets for php25 from Neil Morales (09267609750). He also has a souvenir shop where in you can buy items such as keys chains, fridge magnets and shirts.

If you wanted to go near the falls, you can ride their bamboo raft for only php15 per ride. You will experience the thrill and excitement under the waterfalls. There are also tourist guides that will assist you during the ride. This is definitely a must try “chasing waterfalls” experience and just one of the 23 waterfalls in the city.

Make sure to clean as you go. Since there is no entrance fee, the visitors are also responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the area.

Iligan City Hydroelectric Power Plants

Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. Hydropower or water power is derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity.

I had a chance to have a tour from Agus 5, Agus 6 and Agus 7. Unfortunately, Maria Cristina Falls was closed for public viewing due after the bombing in Davao. Underneath the waterfall is gigantic turbine that converts kinetic to electrical energy which is the main source of power of many provinces in Mindanao.

Good thing, I was able to meet a local and gave me a tour. Below are the sample shots of the hydroelectric plant.

Breakdown of Expenses:

  • Laguindingan to Iligan Bus Fare – Php120 including van transfer from the airport.
  • Iligan City Proper to Buru-un –  Php14 (php24 round trip)
  • Buru-un to Tinago Falls – Php50 (100 round trip) or  Php25 per pax for group.
  • Tinago Entrance Fee- Free
  • Bamboo Raft Fee- Php15
  • Life Jacket – Php25

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