For us Filipinos, we must have heard of Maria Cristina Falls for the first time during the Civics and Culture days of our grade school years. Even after many years, it remained an enigma of a place – attracting the interest of even travelers from all parts of the globe, as it becomes a popular item to tick off from one’s travel bucket list. So imagine the surrealism of it all, when one finally set eyes on this marvel of nature – all 320 feet high of cascading waters, powerful enough to supply the adjacent Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant with 200 MW electricity capacity. To witness up and close and personal, this spectacular grandeur of nature, here is a short travel guide to help you plot your way to Maria Cristina Falls and other surrounding attractions in Iligan City, Philippines.
How to Get to Maria Cristina Falls:
The nearest airport to Iligan City is Laguindingan Airport which is an hour and a half away. Leading local airlines like Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly daily flights to Laguindingan – which is also the nearest airport to Cagayan de Oro City.
After landing at Laguindingan Airport, you can hail a cab or ride either a van or a public bus going to downtown Iligan City. From the city proper, take a short tricycle ride to the main jeepney terminal. From there, ride a Buru-un bound jeepney and tell the driver to drop you at the Maria Cristina Falls. Fare is PHP 12/USD 0.23/EURO 0.19/SGD 0.30 and takes almost 20 minutes. After getting off from the jeepney, walk towards the gate of NPC Nature Park where there is a shuttle service (for PHP 50/ USD 1/EURO 1/SGD 1.26) that will take you uphill near the Maria Cristina Falls. Entrance fee is PHP 35 / USD 0.66/ EURO 0.56/SGD 0.88 ).
Where to Stay in Maria Cristina Falls:
Maria Cristina Hotel
Address: General Aguinaldo Street corner Mabini Street, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Philippines, 9200
Situated 6 kilometers from Maria Cristina Falls and 9 kilometers from Tinago Falls, this hotel is ideal for travelers wanting to chase the waterfalls of Iligan. It offers single rooms for 800.00 and twin and double rooms for 1,100 pesos up to triple sharing rooms pegged at 1,300 pesos. It has a restaurant, spacious lobby, 24 hour front desk and parking slots.
Jeffrey Road, Purok 3, Pala-o, Lanao del Niorte, Pala-o, Iligan City
Alan Sr. Residences
61 Venus Street, Rabago Subdivision, Barangay Villaverde, Villa Verde, Iligan City
Benison Residential Homes Apartment
Pala-o, Iligan City, Philippines
Maria Cristina Falls Side Trips:
Iligan isn’t known as City of Majestic Fallsfor nothing. Because, surrounding its sharp volcanic and mountain precipices, are a stunning number of waterfalls whose never-ending torrents of fresh water inject life to the city’s tourism industry. A couple of days of exploring Iligan shall bring you to a number of waterfalls for a memorable set of side trips around Maria Cristina Falls.
While Maria Cristina Falls is a main attraction in itself, one cannot miss visiting Tinago Falls when traveling in Iligan City. It instantly invites you for a dive into its expansive basin of natural pool, filled with dark blue waters flowing from the massive 240 feet rock wall above. Be ready to go down 500 steps to reach this place, don’t fret because a setting reminiscent of the Brooke Shield’s movie Blue Lagoon awaits you.
Situated inside the Iligan Paradise Resort and Eco Park, this is another can’t miss waterfalls with a zip line ride to boot. Ride it to get a better view of the waterfalls.
(photo by Marky of Nomadic Experiences)
A 65 feet waterfall that appears like a rock star’s long hair parted in the middle, is just a half hour habal-habal ride away from the city center. A short trek will lead you to a refreshing dip at its cool and fresh cascading waters.
A smaller waterfalls dwarfing in comparison to Tinago and Maria Cristina Falls, but going here will gift you with a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The path to Kalubihon falls will require you to swim through a small cave filled with gleaming green waters and bounded with magnificent rock formations. Alighting on the other side, the shower-like drops of the falls provides a perfect place to chill and relax.
The other easy to explore waterfalls include Pampam Falls and the 870 feet Limunsudan Falls –which is considered as the second highest in the country next to Aliwagwag falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental. There are many other waterfalls in Iligan, ask your guide from the local tourism office for any updates on newly explored waterfalls and maybe you can add up to this list.
Maria Cristina Falls Travel Tips:
- If you think Cebu and Ormoc City have the best lechon in the country? You might want to rethink that after you get a taste of Ilagan’s lechon – which many says, to be one of, if not, the best lechon in the Philippines. So, don’t leave Iligan City without trying the city’s lechon.
- Cap your day with a lovely stroll at the Centennial Park and the wonderful view of the sunset.
- Iligan is also a thriving foodie destination with many restaurants, cafes and hole-in-the-walls in existence today. Food joints such as; Epay’s Chicken, Iliganon (try their Durian Shake), Jackos Kan-anan, Amigos, B-Bu-Q and Gina’s Barbecue are just some of the must-eat places.
- Visit the ancestral house of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; the Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral House and then take a refreshing dip and have lunch at the adjacent Timoga Cold Springs.
- Public transportation is very easy to avail in Iligan City going to Maria Cristina Falls and the other attractions. Jeepneys, vans and habal-habal are readily available. Super Five buses plies the route from the city to Laguindingan airport daily.
About the Blogger: Marky Ramone Go is a regular contributor at Inside Southeast Asia.