The Awakening of Maria Cristina Falls
Iligan City was supposed to be just a brief stopover for me for my trip for Marawi. However, it became one of my destinations, thanks to the Iligan Bloggers who convinced me to stop and relax a while in the “City of Majestic Waterfalls,” before coming back to the crazy urban jungle. Well, when you are in Iligan, it’s literally “chasing waterfalls.” Who wouldn’t be? Ever since elementary days, when someone say Iligan, it’s that picture of twin powerful waterfalls cascading into the ravine—Maria Cristina Falls. Iligan is not complete with these mighty cascades that not only it is a tourist attraction, but it empowers almost all of Mindanao!
I’ve been to Iligan City several times but I haven’t been to Maria Cristina Falls. I only see it in postcards and text book pictures. But luckily, the Iligan Bloggers (c/o Sir Pat Noel, also a blogger) set me on a tour to the great cascades, not too far from downtown.
Maria Cristina Falls is Agus River’s most famous cataract. It is famed for being a “twin falls” with such raw power. The outcrop in the middle of the river gives an awe-inspiring “twinning” effect when Maria Cristina Falls is in full blast. Being the sole outlet of Philippines’ second largest lake (Lanao Lake), it’s not hard to imagine how many cubic tons of water passses by the river every day. Given also the fact that Lanao Lake is like a highland bowl and Iligan is at the sea level, you can see how water rushes itself to the city by gravity.
To harness its power, in the 1960s, the government constructed hydroelectric power plants along Agus River. However it is in the 6th power plant that gives it a more “dramatic” effect on the rivers’ prowess—hence Maria Cristina Falls.
It was a humid Monday morning when we went there. I was already expecting that only Maria will show up, since the power corporation controls the flow of water to prevent overcapacity which may lead to—well, blown fuses and transformers and that means—blackout all throughout Mindanao. NAPOCOR only opens the full Maria Cristina several times of the week, usually weekends, depending on the water level in Lake Lanao.
Indeed, it was only Maria when I first saw. I felt satisfied, since finally—after a long time, I saw Maria Cristina…Yet half-dismayed since it’s not the falls that I saw in the postcards.
Then like magic, like a faucet, from just a narrow cascade, Cristina awakens gradually. The process was all too real. For visitors like I, it was a rare chance to see her gradually unravel her majestic beauty. I’m quite far from her, but I can hear her thunder—of water pounding the earth below it. And the mighty white rapids of Agus River applauded the sisters on their full splendor. Iba talaga pag nakita mong unting unting lumalakas ang waterfalls!
Maria Cristina Falls embodies majesty and power. A sight to behold as she demonstrates her sheer might as Mindanao’s provider of prosperity. All hail the Queens!
Maria Cristina Falls is not too far away from downtown Iligan City. Just take a jeepney ride bound for “Timoga” and have the driver stop at Agus 6 gate.
View Maria Cristina Falls in a larger map