A Half-day Tour in Iligan Part 1

This post is long overdue. It’s been more than a month since we’d set foot in Mindanao. But I hope that’s okay. 🙂

In one of my previous posts, I talked about our very short stop in Butuan and our long journey to Cagayan de Oro. If you’d ask us what we did in the latter, well, nothing worth noting. By the time we arrived, I was already too hungry we took our late lunch; then after 30 minutes, I slept for around two hours. When I woke up, it was already 5, so we had to take our dinner–no, Bernard went to Centrio, which was a walk away from where we stayed, and bought me Chowking. So I ate in the cramped room.

The next day was a bit different and way better. We traveled to Iligan. Based on my research, the beautiful city has more than 20 waterfalls! We surely didn’t have the time to check most of them, so we settled for two: Maria Cristina Falls and Mimbalot (or is it Mimbalut?) Falls.

Iligan is supposed to be one to two hours away from Cagayan de Oro, but it felt longer. I don’t know why really. It’s okay, though. The bus we rode had a free WiFi, and Bernard mildly enjoyed the on-board film, which starred Mark Wahlberg. It’s about a burned spy or CIA. The bus, by the way, is located in Bulua Terminal, which is around 20 minutes from the city proper.

This is a very nice bus--comfortable, with a lot of leg room. It has steady WiFi as well.

This is a very nice bus–comfortable, with a lot of leg room. It has steady WiFi as well.

How to Get to Maria Cristina Falls

Maria Cristina Falls is located in Buru-un. From CDO, the bus stopped at Iligan’s integrated bus terminal. We ate breakfast then rode a jeepney to the public market.

Inside Iligan City's bus terminal. Bernard loved the seats!

Inside Iligan City’s bus terminal. Bernard loved the seats!

But even before we reached it, I already saw a jeepney with Buru-un sign. So when traffic stopped, we moved to the latter. Well, it still went around the public market, but it’s all right. It felt we’re having a field trip. Haha!

Buru-un was roughly 20 to 30 minutes, and the fare was about 12 pesos, I think. You’ll know you’re already near the falls if you pass by this bridge:

maria cristina bridge

I think they call it Maria Cristina Bridge. See the gorgeous waters? Amazing.

Right next to it is the NPC Park. We had to go in there if we wanted to see the waterfalls. A habal-habal driver approached us and offered his service for 30 pesos each. That’s for a one-way trip. I thought it was too much and that we’d rather walk. But I changed my mind, which was all good since the NPC shuttle service that cost 10 pesos for every ride was still under repair.

Before we could get in, we had to pay for the entrance fee of 60 pesos (that’s the for-adult rate). Manong Driver then drove us all the way to the falls.

NPC Park

I know that many had described the falls as gorgeous, majestic, and brilliant–but it really is and so much more. It was fiery, raging, overflowing, yet gently cascading from the mountains.

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The waterfalls was proud that day, and it ought to be.

The people behind its maintenance was considerate enough to build an equally pretty shed where you can eat and watch the falls without burning your skin from the scorching heat.

I didn’t do anything else in NPC besides eat ice cream. There’s supposed to be an aviary, a garden, and a zoo, but it’s a long hot walk for us, and we had another falls to go to. The sight of the Maria Cristina Falls was more than enough for me too.

Around 10:30 a.m., we opted to move to another. I asked around, which one is better: Tinago or Mimbalot? The lady guard insisted on the former. “KC shot a movie there,” she giggled. Manong Driver also wanted us to go to Tinago, but I felt he had an ulterior motive. It was a long drive, so we had to pay more. Besides, I was hard-headed, so I said, “No, let’s go to Mimbalot.”

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