FTF / #MindaNOWorNever: Iligan City

12:00:00 AM

Hannah and I took a bus in CDO bound for Iligan City. Dubbed the "City of Majestic Waterfalls," Iligan is home to 23 different waterfalls, including Maria Cristina, one of the tallest in the country and the source of hydroelectric power that sustains 70% of Mindanao. Majestic is the right word for it; the sheer force of the water rushing from Agus River and down the 98-meter drop truly was a sight to behold.
Majestic, indeed
Maria Cristina Falls is also called "Twin Falls" by some, as it looks like two waterfalls because a rock right at the brink of the drop diverts the flow. We took a few photos, and then we both just sat on a bench and quietly marveled at the sight. We were overwhelmed with awe, and we just let the image get seared in our memories.
To the Botanical & Zoological Garden at NPC Nature's Park
After a while, we took a tour around NPC Nature's Park, a facility built by the National Power Corporation in 2010 to increase the tourism potential. We didn't get to try the Zipline because it's closed for maintenance at the time we went, so we just hung out at the Botanical and Zoological Gardens before heading off to buy lechon for lunch.
Ancestral Home of Gloria Arroyo
Our next stop was the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House, where former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo grew up. Declared a heritage house by the National Historial Institute, the well-preserved house gave me a look into the life of the young Gloria. Instead of a dollhouse, she actually had a life-size playhouse in the property. Since she didn't exactly grow tall, I'm sure she could still stand upright in the playhouse.
Most of the original furniture were still there, including those in the office of Diosdado Macapagal, Gloria's father and also a former president of the Philippines. There were a lot of pictures of Gloria growing up, and when you look at them, you will see that from a very young age, she was already being groomed for a career in politics.
No swim, look only HAHA
We headed to Mimbalut Falls but we didn't stay long; we just took a few photos and let our eyeballs absorb the sight for our memories to retrieve later. There were a lot of boulders and not much space for actual swimming, so we asked our habal-habal (motorcycle) driver, Kuya Cocoy, to bring us to Tinago Falls.
It was HIDDEN, alright.
He could only drop us off at the entrance to Tinago Falls, so Hannah and I had to take a 30-minute hike to actually get to the water. Every drop of sweat was worth the breathtaking view. We briefly feasted on our lechon and puso lunch, and then we jumped in. The water was cold and refreshing, and we had a spa treatment of sorts, too! We rode a bamboo raft to take us right at the drop of the waterfalls, and our backs were treated to a natural hydro-massage.
But we found it. HAHA

According to our guide, Tinago Falls used to be in a luxurious resort property built by a former congressman of Iligan who borrowed money from the bank to fund the construction of the hotel and the other facilities. When he lost the election, he wasn't able to pay the bank, so the property was foreclosed.
I'm really NOT a foodie.
When we were done, we hiked back up to where Kuya Cocoy dropped us off, because that's where he was picking us up, too. On our way to Paseo Santiago, we stopped by the road to try marang, a native fruit. It tasted okay, but the okra-like texture really bothered me, so I stopped after two bites.
I saw the sign
A beautiful country
Paseo de Santiago is a park by the sea. I read from a blog that it's a great place to watch the sunset, but we had to get back to CDO so we couldn't wait for it. We had our photos taken at the iconic Iligan City and Philippines signs, because Hannah and I are trying to do the tourist thing right (we have to learn to include US in our photos, haha!).
Right before we headed to the bus terminal, we made one last stop - Cheding's! To the unfamiliar, Cheding's sells peanuts, the yummiest in all the land! My Tito Zaldy, who was based in Iligan for a while, used to bring us bags and bags of the roasted peanuts when I was younger.

I mentioned earlier that the city has 23 waterfalls. Kuya Cocoy said that one of those is not safe to go to because there are rebels in the vicinity. So I guess I have to come back to Iligan for a tour of the other 19. :)


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