September in Iligan City is the month-long celebration of the Dyandi Festival. Originally a rite performed by the Dumagats, Maranaos and the Higaonons to pay homage to their patron saint, Saint Michael. It’s a multi-cultural celebration passed through generations now practiced by Christians, Muslims and the natives. It was in 2004 when the city established the Dyandi Festival as their tourism identity. Among the highlight of this month-long revelry is the Kasadya Streetdancing Competition.
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.
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.
And off we go following the river. It was the third day of our waterfalling adventure in Iligan City organized by Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS) and we only have one falls to visit today. Boy this must be a good one, I thought. The first day was packed with three falls – Pampam, Kalubihon and Dalipuga Falls. Day two, while not really a falls was a satisfying immersion at the Timoga Cold Springs. This time we’re heading to Dodiongan Falls in Barangay Bonbonon in Iligan City.
We’re still mid-way from a day of waterfalling in Iligan City and Iligan Bloggers Society still has a couple more in store for us. Satiated from lunch at Pampam Falls, the group was ready to move to the nearby Kalubihon Falls. It took us about a quarter of an hour’s hike, from gradual ascending hills to steep rock walls with some natural pools coming from a stream above. From the looks of the trail, this promises to be an interesting one.
“Let’s call this one Junakis Falls!” I remember Shugah telling the group as we were trying to recall the name of the first 2 falls we visited in Barangay Dalipuga. Well they don’t really have a name so locals consider it as part of the nearby Pampam Falls. There may be 23 falls in Iligan City but those are documented ones, this one had no name, but the crystal clear basin was calling and the cool cascades inviting. Oh what a start for our “waterfalling” adventure.
I must admit, Iligan City is one of those cities in Mindanao that sees little tourist because of its smeared reputation from past “bombing” incidents in the city. I even remember a friend telling me that “I have to dodge bombs there before I can visit the waterfalls”. But I learned many times already from past visits to Tawi-tawi, Basilan and even Cotabato to not hastily judge a place by how media perceives it. One thing I know for a fact, Iligan City has plenty of waterfalls, 23 of them documented, and for a waterfall chaser like me, I know I’m gonna have a field day in this city. More apt this time is that Iligan Bloggers Society, organised a Waterfalling Adventure Tour event, where in 5 days, we get to explore 7 waterfalls, experience the festivities and culture of Iligan. I only have to shell out a minimum amount, my flight ticket and I don’t have to trouble myself in logistics . How can I resist that? I signed up immediately and was lucky to be one of the participants to this year’s tour. It’s time to experience Iligan!