Mindanao—the second largest island in, down south of the republic…very far yet so close to my heart. For most of the urbanites, it is a place that most should avoid because of adjectives associated with it: war-torn, poverty-stricken and home of the “terrorists.” Indeed, the notion of the island has evaded so many people to visit this great island in the south. However, in my own perspective, we have to take a second look onto this island. Mindanao has so much to offer, so much to see, so much to experience yet so neglected and feared by many.
Mindanao was (and for some, still is) “The Wild West” of the Philippines, as what they said–a tapestry of stories of three seemingly opposite cultures, vastly still unexplored and full of potential.
On December 15-16, Tropical Storm “Sendong/Washi” gave Mindanao its first major typhoon in decades. The island and its residents were not used to such phenomena that usually devastates parts of Luzon and the Visayas. Sendong was one of a kind this year, and it has devastated lives in the cities of Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, the Province of Compostela Valley and other provinces. Iligan was caught by a surprise as flood and muck rushed towards the city, 200 missing and 100+ dead so far. In Cagayan de Oro, 20,000 families were affected–this major city in Northern Mindanao has tasted the worse flooding in its recent history.
While Maria Christina Falls wasn’t enough, there’s another cascade that was set to be as one of Iligan’s finest. True to its name, Tinago Falls is a turquoise gem hidden in the lush verdant greens of the highlands of Lanao del Norte. Getting here is an effort, but totally rewarding.
Tinago Falls is located more or less 15 kilometers south-east of downtown Iligan City, near the Timoga cold springs. The first time I saw it was somewhere in a television show, about a white curtain of water falling into a crystal blue pool beneath and surrounded by lush vegetation. It seems so tempting to go there.
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!