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Tinago Falls – The Hidden Falls of Iligan

Tinago Falls

When I got to Iligan City I had absolutely no other plan than the agenda (conduct a safety seminar) I have already set for the next day. So I contacted one of my friends @wanderingteddybear who is from around here and told him: “surprise me!” Initially he started with a quick city tour to get me a feel of the local city vibes and how to get around and then he decided to take me to one place that would quickly give me the iconic idea of what Iligan City is known for: waterfalls!

True enough, Iligan is known as the City of Waterfalls due to the numerous accessible and inaccessible waterfalls in the city!  In Cebu, if you want to reach one of the waterfalls (referring to Mantayupan and Kawasan), it’s a couple of hours drive or trek to even get to one that you could enjoy. Here, it’s just less than an hour away and it’s not very expensive to get there!

Just one thing though, this particular waterfall we visited actually requires some endurance because it takes 500 steps to get down there and another 500 steps to get back up! I’m not talking about simple steps that are standard and like that of the mall or other buildings. I’m talking about irregularly placed steps with different levels of steepness but also with a beautiful view of Mother Nature!

Fees paid, steps conquered and breath recovered, we finally arrive at the base of Tinago Falls!

Legend has it that Tinago Falls was actually a child that was cursed to be ugly because her parents were greedy and cruel to an enchantress who was disguised as a better. Yes I know it sounds like a Philippine version of Beauty and the Beast. The child’s name was Tin-ag, which means “hidden face” and she was kept in a cave due to the embarrassment of the shallow-minded, face-shaming royal couple. When the child grew up and saw the beautiful world outside the cave, the enchantress offered Tin-ag the chance to be splendid and beautiful. And so she became the Tinago Falls!

The name seems only apt as this waterfall is actually hidden from plain sight in a thick forage of trees and rock formations. The only way to see its beauty is to walk down the steep array of man-made steps. In good days where it hasn’t rained much, the water can turn into a beautiful turquoise. But during rainy season the water tends to be anywhere from greenish to brown.

Its pool is wide and spacious enough to accommodate a lot of people but they have “lifeguards” or watchers who reprimand those who swim in the restricted areas. You can find some people climbing up the rigid wall and then jumping down to what looks like a 25-30feet jump.

Two young men hang out at the cliff before taking a plunge back into the water

Though Maria Cristina is more massive and this does not compare to the towering “Maria” and “Cristina” falls, the Ma. Cristina falls is mainly used for hydropower and is not swimmable as opposed to Tinago falls which provides a cool pool for wading around. Since the falls has enough distance from the shore of the pool, you can actually stay dry while taking photos of the scenery. That’s exactly what I did, I did not swim.

The steps leading to the base of the falls

Eventually Ted and I leave the vicinity and slowly made our way back up. If you’re fond of mountain scenery and beautiful views, I suggest taking the new road in Linamon which is very spacious and fun to run through.

one last look at Tinago’s beauty before we stark walking up the steps again

Tinago falls is around 30-40 minutes from the city proper in Iligan City. If you want to get a glimpse of at least one thing in Iligan and you have around 3 hours to spare, this is your place!

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