It is probably one of the waterfalls I’ve been familiar with even as a child. I’ve read and heard about Maria Cristina Falls in grade school textbooks and even some educational TV shows then. All I know is that it is one of the most beautiful falls in the country and it supplies electricity to the major areas in Mindanao. Part of my reason for joining the Waterfalling Adventure Tour (WAT 2.0) organized by the Illigan Bloggers Society was to see this falls. Fourth day of the tour, I finally get to see the falls.
NPC Natures Park
The Maria Cristina Falls is situated within the National Power Corporation (NPC) Nature Park in Iligan City. Much of the surrounding area leading to the falls have been developed to add recreational activities for the visitors. And everything seems well maintained here from the manicured parks with lined up cottages. Walkways and stairs. There’s also a mini-zoo with ostriches, monkeys and crocodiles. There’s also a zipline but it wasn’t operational when we went there.
The Maria Cristina Falls
The highlight of the park of course is the Maria Cristina Falls. Our friends from the tour jokes that the falls was named so because of the twin falls, one is named Maria and the other Cristina and they don’t always show up at the same time. There’s a dam that controls the flow of water going towards its brink so most of the times only one of the falls flows.
The 98-meter high waterfall was indeed majestic. We may not be able to get really close and have to be contented with the view from the platforms of the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant, but we could feel the waterfall spray reaching us. That’s how powerful this falls is and that’s half of it. We got a special treat though since we have Jollibee with us, we were able to request to have the dam open for five minutes and see the twin falls in all its glory. We all just went “Woah!” as the Maria Cristina Falls doubled its might and more spray spread out from the ground creating mini-waterfalls on the rock walls. Finally Maria Cristina Falls is no longer just an image in my head. I did hear that opening the dam for 5-minutes caused a 1-2 hour brownout somewhere in Mindanao. Ooops! I guess the best time to go here is during the rainy season when water really flows vigorously.
The National Power Corporation Nature Park is located at Agus 6/7 HEP Complex, Tourism Triangle Boundary, Maria Cristina, Buru-un, Iligan City. From Iligan City, catch a jeep bound for Buru-un. Fare is Php 10. Ask the driver to drop you off at NPC. Walk 15 minutes to the main entrance of the park. The park has an entrance fee of Php 30 (Php 20 for Seniors and Students).
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.