2nd Stop: Imposing Beauty of Maria Cristina Falls and the Secret of Tinago Falls, Iligan City
Returning to my hotel room after my trip to the Sacred Heart Shrine, I was thinking where to go to the following day. I managed to catch some zzz's first before planning on my next destination. I was considering on going back to Camiguin as it would be easier for me as I am already familiar with the place plus the fact that I really fell in love with the island when I set my feet there last October 2010 as my first Solo Trip. But then, I was also hoping to explore new places and adventure so I went to a nearby internet cafe to check on information on tourist attractions near CDO. After reading some blogs and checking on logistics and budget, I have decided to visit Maria Cristina Falls and hopefully to Tinago Falls should there be a spare time.
I woke up at around 4:30 AM the following day. After packing the things that I need, I grabbed few loaves of bread to fill an empty stomach and headed towards Bulua Terminal, the West Bound Terminal in CDO where buses bound for Iligan are stationed. I was lucky not to wait when I got at the terminal as there was Rural Bus that is about to leave in 5 minutes. I jumped in and made myself comfortable as we headed towards Iligan City. From the itinerary I read on the Internet, I should be expecting a two hour ride but since we left early in the morning and avoided the traffic, it was only a one and half hour ride from CDO.
|Entrance Gate of NPC|
I have the copy of my itinerary and the needed information with me so that I would not get lost. Still, I find more confidence in asking the locals to make sure that I am headed on the right direction. Upon alighting in Iligan Terminal, I asked for some people on how to go to Maria Cristina Falls. I was instructed to ride a jeep outside of the terminal and alight in the public market where I could find jeepneys with a signage Buru-un and then tell the driver to drop me off at the entrance going to Maria Cristina Falls. Their instructions are exactly the same as what I have on my itinerary so I followed it and I successfully arrived at NPC, the gateway to Maria Cristina Falls.
|Ticket Booth at NPC|
I arrived at the gate at 8 AM and I was an hour earlier before it opens at 9 AM. That doesn't look like I'm excited right? With an hour to spare, I called in Sheng and informed her that I successfully arrived in Maria Cristina Falls and how i wished she was there with me to share the experience. I did also take some photos at the gate, had some conversations with the guard to learn more about the place and observed the strong current of water on the river beside it which gave me a hint on what a mighty force this Maria Cristina Falls is. When the booth opened, I paid the corresponding fees and rode the service vehicle inside.
When service vehicle's engine started, I can feel my heart leap as I am already about to see the falls but when I noticed that it was heading on a different direction, I asked the driver if we are heading to the falls. He replied that I will have to visit the Botanical and Zoological Garden first. The excitement was delayed but was anticipating on what to see on the said park.
|Entrance to the Park|
The featherless ostrich greeted me as I entered the park. I asked the guard why it was on its condition and he said that its because of the weather and they pricked on its fellow ostriches inside the cage.
There were also crocodiles, monkey, duck - like creatures as I dont know the exact name and the snakes, my favorite of all animals ( and I mean the opposite).
After spending 30 minutes inside the park, I informed the guard to call the driver who advised me to do so when I am done roaming around the park and when I am ready to go to the falls. When he arrived to fetch me, the excitement that I had at the entrance gate went back and as we moved closer, I can feel the falls calling my name.
Arriving at the gate, I was instructed that there is a viewing deck inside the plant where I can see it closely. I followed it instantly and after some few minutes, there it was right in front of me - the majestic Maria Cristina Waterfalls. I couldn't believe it at first. What was just an answer to my quizzes and exams during my SIBIKA in my Elementary Years was already a reality that I was seeing with my naked eyes. I was the only person in the viewing deck so I just stood there in silence and just breathe in the awesomeness it brought upon me. When other visitors started to flock the area, I started to go down and my mission was to find someone to take a picture of me. Luckily, there was an NPC employee who was having his yosi break when I went down and when I requested if he could take a picture of me, he agreed without hesitation.
|Me at Maria Cristina Falls|
|The strong current of water from the falls|
|Last look before heading the exit|
I spent almost an hour in the area and every minute of it was magical. I headed for the gate where the driver awaited me and he drove me back to the entrance gate. It was hard to say goodbye to Maria Cristina Falls but I am hoping to be back someday but this time with friends and loved ones.
As I headed towards the highway, I was contemplating whether I would push through going to Tinago Falls or not. Time was not a constraint but what made me undecided was the fact that it rained every afternoon in the area for the past days. The adventurous part of me still reigned so I decided to give it a go. When I arrived at the highway a habal habal driver offered to take me to Tinago Falls at a reasonable amount. It was indeed a sign that I have to visit Tinago Falls.
|Me at Tinago Falls|
The ride was approximately 20 minutes. When I arrived at the jumpoff point, some kids offered to be my guide and I agreed. I noticed that there used to be a resort in the area but it was closed down already. I hope that they can restore the resort but still preserving the natural beauty of the area. I was warned that going to the falls would be a series of steps going down which would also mean the same series of steps going up when heading home. If you are not used to hiking, you would surely catch your breath from time to time but the reward that awaits below is promising - the hidden beauty of Tinago Falls.
The water was so green. I asked a local in the area as to how deep it was and said that it could not be measured because when a group of divers explored the depth of the waters, they were not able to reach the bottom of it. I dont know how to swim but if I did, i would never hesitate to also dive just like what the local children are doing. There are life jackets for rent so for those who are afraid of the water like me but would like to take a plunge, you can still be assured of your safety. There is also a bamboo made raft that can take you to the falls itself but since I am alone and I have no one to leave my belongings, I said to myself that there would be next time.
Iligan City is living up to its name as the city of Majestic Waterfalls. As I headed back home in CDO, I can't help but smile of the perfect adventure I had in Iligan that day.
Next: Flying High in Bukidnon