Iligan: Maria Cristina Falls, Hydroelectrifyingly Beautiful
One of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines, the Maria Cristina Falls is a natural landmark which Iligan City is very proud of. Its water flows from the Agus River and it is also harnessed as a source of electricity. It is also dubbed as the “twin falls” due to a large rock at the waterfall’s brink dividing the water flow. Its grandeur beauty is so captivating that it is a must-see attraction in Mindanao, especially if you’re in Iligan.
It is located in the National Power Corporation (Napocor) Nature Park at the boundaries of Barangays Maria Cristina, Buru-un, and Dicutalan. It is 9.3 kilometers from the town proper and unlike the other falls, no trekking is required to see its beauty.
With a PhP30 entrance fee, you can enjoy this awesome landmark of Iligan. But for now, you have to make sure the site is open because it is often under Red Alert status and admission is being limited.
Upon entrance, you will be immediately greeted by a 320-feet high waterfall. Its majestic beauty is one of the reasons why it is being a staple in the school textbooks.
At the bottom of the falls where the river flows, a large viewing deck and a row of cottages were constructed. You can bring your own food and have a picnic while enjoying the view, ambiance by the rustling of water and the chirping of birds.
RED ALERT STATUS
The nature park is under red alert status when the flock visited the site, and thus the tour has to be limited. Other features such as the hanging bridge, Botanical garden, and the mini zoological park are off-limits. Even the usual adventure activities like the Tree-top canopy and the ziplines are closed. We weren’t able to go near the falls because it’s already under restricted area.
The park was placed under Red Alert status due to the horrific incidents that plagued Mindanao recently such as the Davao bombing and the war in Marawi (we’re just 30 km. from Marawi). Though the war has long been over, for the sake of security heavy restrictions are still in place. The site is open to the public only during Saturdays and Sundays.
NPC’S HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
Aside from its natural grandeur, the Maria Cristina Falls is also a primary source of electric power. The waters that flowed here at about 130 cubic meters per second are harnessed by Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant and can supply up to 200 MW of electricity. At the bottom of the falls is a complex of large structures that are part of the power plant. The plant was commissioned on May 31, 1953.
Though we just stayed for a couple of hours and our tour severely limited, our stay is still a worthwhile experience. The most important thing here is, we saw the fall’s beauty. If you are already amazed by its beauty through the textbook photos, you will surely be captivated when you see it in person.
Entrance – Php35
Parking Fee – free
From the town proper, ride a jeep bound to Buru-an/Linamon (Php12 fare) and inform the driver to unload you to a corner going to Ma. Cristina Falls. From there, ride a habal-habal (Php30 per person, Php60 roundtrip).
From CDO: Ride a bus going to Iligan (Php100 fare on Rural Bus). Upon disembarking to the terminal, ride a jeep going to the town proper.
From Manila/Cebu: Flights to Cagayan De Oro are available daily. Upon landing to Lagundingan Airport, ride a shuttle to Lagundingan Bus Terminal. Then, ride a bus or van going to Iligan (Php85 fare, transportation available until 10 PM).
From the town proper of Iligan, travel to Buru-un. You’ll see a gate to Ma. Cristina Falls upon crossing the bridge. Caution is advised while traversing the narrow and steep road with a sharp curve.
- Coordinate first to NPC to make sure the place is open for visitation.
- Floodgates are most open every Saturday and Sunday at 11 AM.