There is always an air of mystery on something which is hidden. And to name a waterfalls “Tinago” which is a tagalog word which means hidden is just an invitation begging to be found. Next to our visit at Maria Cristina Falls, Tinago Falls in Iligan City is was on top of my list of curiosities in the region having seen some captivating footage shot on this location. But as always, how much as we see in pictures in video, seeing the real thing can be either good or bad. And as Tinago Falls finally unveiled before my bare eyes, I could delightfully say the experience was the former.
425 Steps to Paradise
While it took us only a few minutes drive from Maria Cristina Falls, the site of Tinago Falls is 13.8km away from the Iligan City proper, located in between Iligan City and Linamon Municipality of Lanao del Norte. From our jeepney drop off near a small sari-sari store and a shed with a buko (fresh coconut juice) vendor, we walked through the ruins of an abandoned resort for about 10 minutes until we reached the descending stairs. Going down this winding staircase beside the rock walls of a ravine is quite manageable really since it is already paved and have makeshift handrails. What would really test the endurance is going up this steep stairs. I do like that the vegetation gets denser with many trees as we descend the ravine. But do take my word, all the huffing, puffing and the sweating is all worth it.
Beguiling Tinago Falls
Hearing the sound grew louder filled me with excitement and alas I saw the basin, a huge natural pool of turquoise waters was so calling like a siren. The waterfalls run through the expansive ravine rocky walls and lush vegetation like a curtain. The huge one off-center from the middle was drops at 240 feet. The cascades on the sides offers gentle flow of water for those who just want to sit by the rocks and cool down. Everything was like nature’s gigantic cinema, a wallpaper come to life.
Fun with the Falls
There are tables provided at the area where visitors can set up their picnics. Restrooms are also available. Life-vest can also be rented so people can swim towards the legendary cave where it was believed the cursed ugly child Tin-ag from the selfish sultanate couple grew up before she became this beautiful falls. There’s also a bamboo raft where visitors
Aside from the falls itself there are downstream with shallow water people can swim and bathe on if they are afraid of the basin. It also provides a beautiful backdrop for photographers to play around with. Tinago Falls was really wonderful, if ever I could come back here I would allot a half-day to a whole day just enjoying the place.
Going to Tinago Falls, there are two route access the Buru-un Route from Iligan City and Linamon Route. From Iligan City take a public jeep bound for Buru-un for Php 15 per pax. In Buru-un hire a habal-habal for Tinago Falls. Fare is Php 35 per way. Cottages and tables can be rented for Php 50. Life vest for Php 25. Bamboo raft is Php 10 per pax.
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.