Mimbalot Falls in Iligan

Before I talked more about Hong Kong, let me continue with my stories about summer (that’s how much I am so delayed with blog posts). The last time I mentioned about our trip in Iligan. If you can read the post, it says part 1. Obviously, this is part 2. 🙂

To recap, Manong Driver gave us two options. Because his services were getting more expensive, we chose the waterfalls closer to the city, which was Mimbalot. This was roughly 10 to 15 minutes away from NPC Park, and we didn’t have to ride a motorcycle anymore. Instead, we hailed a jeepney, which cost only 14 pesos (7 pesos each).

How to Reach There

Tell the driver you want to be dropped off at Iligan City National School of Fisheries. Actually you wouldn’t see the sign (which you can see below) near the road. Rather, you’ll find the school with a lot of habal-habal drivers resting or waiting for passengers at the shed right outside the school. You can choose to either ride one if you don’t like walking for about 20 minutes, especially when it’s extremely hot, or save yourself some money. We picked the latter, much to the dismay of the drivers.

You’re on the right track when after 5 to 10 minutes, you’ll see this sign:


Continue walking on the left. The right side leads to the school and its huge grounds. It’s a true-blue residential area, so don’t be surprised if you’ll pass by homes like this.


Just follow the straight path. It wouldn’t be long before you can hear strong sounds of running water.


And tada! You’re now at the waterfalls. It’s how accessible it is. In fact, it’s just beside a road. There’s no nearby store, though, so buy your food supplies ahead. There are many sari-sari stores along the way.

The use of the waterfalls is completely for free, and the barangay or the LGU was kind enough to provide concrete tables and benches if you want to relax, have a picnic, or simply watch Mimbalot waterfalls.


The waterfalls looks like this:


But if you want to see the water from its source, you can try riding the cable car offered by an eco-tourism park found right beside the waterfalls. I forgot how much it’s worth, probably around 60 pesos. You can also do other things there like ziplining.

Since we had no intention of taking a dip, Bernard and I busied ourselves wading across the shallow parts of the falls or doing this:



After about an hour, we decided to go back to the city center. A jeepney was waiting right outside the school, but you had to be patient. It wouldn’t leave until it’s filled.

There you have it! Our very short but fun, no-frills, “we don’t have a lot of budget” half-day Iligan trip.


Austin Inn: A Thorough Review

It’s been two weeks since I arrived from Hong Kong, and I remained quiet. I got sick, really: acute tonsillitis. It was terrible I couldn’t swallow well, and I had high fever for a couple of days.

But everything is bright and happy once again, so her I am. Besides, my husband’s been bugging me to write something about the trip. I’ll just begin with a review of our accommodation.

I already talked slightly about it here. I’ll simply tell you my real impressions about it.

There are a lot of things I like about Austin Inn. One, the room and inn descriptions are accurate. In fact, what you saw in the previous blog post, that’s basically how the room looked like!

Second, the location is awesome. Only a few steps away is Austin Station. Around 5 to 8 minutes’ walk is Jordan Station. Along the way, you can pass by Temple Street, which is famous for its night market. On the right side of the building is a bus station to and from the airport. Groceries, bakeries, money changers, subways, more bus stations, eateries, restaurants, and even fancy jewelry shops are within the vicinity.

Third, the manager was simply cool. When we arrived, the room wasn’t available yet (we arrived early than the checkout time), but he allowed us to leave our things so we can start our tour. When we came back, the room needed some cleaning, though he let us relax and freshen up in the room. We officially came home around 9, and by then, all our things were already brought inside the room, and the unit was squeaky clean. He left us with slippers, and the bathroom had its own shampoo and towel. He was incredibly easy to talk to, and he made sure his guests were all satisfied.

The Room

The room is pretty small, and yet it’s common among a lot of Hong Kong accommodations. After all, space is at a premium in the country. Austin Inn’s units are nevertheless, clean, comfortable, and strategic, which all make up for the room size.

The Price

One of my foremost considerations in choosing this is price, and I think it’s practical and sensible. For two nights, I paid only 5,000+ for a three-person bedroom, and that already included AirBnB and cleaning fees.

Will I Stay Here Again?

Definitely. I also recommend it to anyone who’s planning to visit HK soon.




Back Home

It feels sooo good to be back home! Back here in Cordova and in the Philippines, though I also welcomed the disconnect the past few weeks. I wish to tell you more about what I’ve been up to in the next few blog posts. In the meantime, I leave you with these:

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My sister, Bernard, and I are off to Hong Kong next week (excited!). We’re supposed to fly in the late evening of August 16 and come back on August 19, early morning. But no, Cebu Pacific is full of surprises. They just decided to cancel our first reservations and moved us to the next dates. So we’ll be spending 3 days and 2 nights there.

Sounds great, right? Well, we’re on a tight budget, and accommodation isn’t very cheap there. Even hostels can cost more than 10,000 pesos for the three of us. That’s basically what happened after I had booked a great room in Hop Inn HK–Carnarvon. It already cost me more than 5,000 for one night. If I add one more, it would throw our budget way off course, and I wasn’t really sure if they could accommodate us for another day. I just canceled it.

The other options I had were great but a bit off from Kowloon, where most of the good things are. Moreover, as hostels, the rooms can be pretty cramped with a lot of people fighting over a small bathroom. I needed another choice, something that’s within Kowloon and my budget.

So I went to Airbnb. This is very much like Roomorama (and I can’t really spell their huge differences), except that I found cheaper prices in the former. Some of the listings are full apartments and homes, so they cost a lot of money, but the others were private rooms in hostels and inns.

I liked the fact that I can browse according to how many a room can accommodate, the kinds of amenities they offer, their location, and, of course, price. I can also read reviews.

Anyway, after 30 minutes, I spotted this.

austin inn hk

Obviously the room isn’t huge, as most HK units are, but it’s enough for us three. And we get to have our own bathroom and free Internet access.

austin inn hk jordan

It’s within Jordan, which is also in Kowloon. Since we’re planning to go to Macau, the ferry terminal is only a few minutes’ walk away. Outside are small dining shops that I’m hoping are cheap. The host sounds like a really great, friendly person; and he’s actually very prompt in replying to my messages.

We get all these for about 5,500 pesos–for 2 nights’ stay! It already included the website and cleaning fees.

Right now I feel it’s such a great steal. My only hope is that it’s as good as it appears.

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.”

Manila Days

A couple of days from now, Bernard and I will be turning 13. Yes, almost half of my life he’s there. You can definitely say we’ve been through A LOT of things. One of those that stand out is my Manila memories with him.

I think it was around 2010 when Bernard got a job that required 2 months’ training in Manila. For us, that’s the longest we’ll be away from each other (not counting the months we briefly broke up). Anyway, to make the long story short, I missed him a few weeks after he was gone that on the second month, I flew to live with him.

Bernard had to move out of a multi-room apartment, and together we squeezed into a very narrow unit that was around half the size of an average condo studio units in Cebu. It was that small. In fact, we didn’t have any kitchen, living room, and dining area, but only a bathroom and a standard-sized double deck. We slept below while our things were on top. There was only one white monoblock chair and a small desk, which worked as my teeny-weeny office. Most of the time, when it’s dinnertime, we’d squat on the floor.  As almost everything in Manila is expensive, ours cost 8,000 a month, excluding water and electricity. By the time we left, we paid almost 15,000 pesos. Honestly, there were only two things that made me stay there: Internet and location.

We were far away from our parents–well, most of our family members–and friends. We had to rely on each other, on ourselves, and on meager human interactions with his colleagues, my brother, and a handful of Manila-based friends. I experienced eating lunches alone and being totally out of place as noisy college kids occupied the rest of the restaurant. I was really a tiny speck anyone can easily miss out.

Our short Manila living wasn’t the most comfortable, but for me it was the sweetest. I’d wake Bernard up at around 11:00 p.m. so we could catch the last full show in Greenbelt 3. Then we’ll head to Seattle’s Best for a nice warm cup of coffee for him and a delicious iced choco for me. Or if we started running out of budget, we’d simply walk and watch the time and people go by.

For dinners, we’d walk a few meters out of the gate and order a pair of silog that cost 50 pesos each. During the weekends, most of our lunches were spent on this cute Japanese-cuisine fast food restaurant called Sumibiyakid. We loved it a lot not just because of the food but the people who had become our friends as well.

We hadn’t traveled to other provinces such as Laguna, but we had a grand time around Makati and Quezon City. Sometimes we’d spend hours in Rockwell checking out celebrities. Or we’d listen to our next-door neighbor fight at different times of the day.

Those were our most care-free days. It’s not like we didn’t have any more responsibilities back home. We were still paying for our mortgage and other bills. I still had to work. But it never worried me because we’re experiencing new things together.

As we’re nearing our fifth year as a married couple, I still hope we can continue on with our mini adventures and relive our “happy Manila days” over and over.

Gabii sa Kabilin 2013


There are only a handful of things I look forward to this year. It’s not that I’m less open to wonderful things. I just prefer to be surprised these days. It makes this life’s journey so much easier and less stressful for me. But one of the things that I’m always excited about is the Gabii Sa Kabilin.

Gabii sa Kabilin is inspired by the Long Night of Museums in Berlin, Germany. Around this time, all participating museums in the area open their doors to the public, who carry one universal pass–a ticket that grants them entrance to all the sights.

The cultural event itself has grown immensely it also covers churches, and participating groups provide special exhibits and performances, among others, to the public. Other countries have followed suit as well, including the Philippines.

Gabii sa Kabilin, nevertheless, is the first historical activity of such kind in the Asia-Pacific region. How’s that for pride? Most of all, over the years, more cities and establishments decide to join. For example, for May 31, 2013, visitors can go to any of the 33 destinations:

1. Casa Gorordo Museum
2. Cathedral Museum of Cebu
3. Cebu City Museum
4. Cebu Cultural Center
5. Colegio del Santo Niño
6. Don Sergio Osmeña and CAP Art Gallery
7. Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple
8. Fort San Pedro
9. Iglesia Filipina Independiente
10. Cathedral of the Holy Child
11. Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum
12. Museo Parian sa Sugbo
13. Museo Sugbo
14. Plaza Independencia
15. Plaza Parian-AboitizLand Heritage Pocket
16. Sacred Heart Parish Church-Alternative Contemporary Art Studio
17. San Nicolas Parish Church
18. Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum
19. United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Bradford Memorial Chapel
20. University of Southern Philippines-Rizaliana Museum
21. University of the Philippines Cebu College
22. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House.

1. Mactan Shrine
2. Muelle Osmeña
3. Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla Parish Church
4. Plaza Poblacion

1. Mandaue City Presidencia
2. Bantayan sa Hari
3. Plaza Complex
4. National Shrine of St. Joseph Parish Church

1. American World War II Landing Site
2. Museo de Talisay
3. Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish Church

Bradford Church, in celebration of its 100th founding anniversary in the city, is going to host the opening at 5:30 p.m. From there, visitors can take a walk and explore the highlighted art deco buildings, go in to any of the determined landmarks, or ride a bus that takes you to your other preferred destinations.

From 5:30 p.m. all the way to midnight, you can:

1. Watch a demonstration of Rizal’s favorite food in USPF, performed a la Kitchen Musical.

2. Listen to balitaw in Casa Gorordo.

3. Play Filipino games in Plaza Independencia.

4. Take the Old Opon Walk starting from Muelle Osmena.

5. Watch the Kadaugan reenactment in Mactan Shrine.

6. Dine on Asian food cuisines and see very old photos of the province (from Lucy Urgello) in Cebu City Museum.

7. Learn Chinese calligraphy and Buddhist etiquette in Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple.

8. Listen to classic Visayan songs in JRG Halad Museum.

9. Watch arnis demonstration in San Nicolas Parish.

10. Ride e-cars in Mandaue City.

Above is a very short list, however. View the e-guide for complete information. You can also buy the ticket or get updates straight to your FB feed here.

The ticket costs 150 pesos, and it gives you access to all featured and participating sites, as well as unlimited rides on buses. You can also ride the tartanilla once with it.

I hope to see you this May 31.