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!
Manila to Iligan City
My entry point was Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. A newly opened airport that serves both Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro being sandwiched in both regions. I had an early 5:20am flight and got in 20 minutes earlier in Laguindingan. The airport was impressively handsome and feels international-worthy. I got my bags in no time and boarded a CDO Transco Multi-cab to Iligan City. It was fairly easy to get a ride as I got out of the arrival area and the multi-cab wasn’t even filled with passengers. The ride took longer than an hour. The multi-cab ride was okay but the morning sun made the interiors a lot warmer even with the aircon turned on. The advantage of the multi-cab is that it can get inside the city streets. I found my stop easily and alighted to my lodging for the next 5 nights.
Lodging at Jasmine’s Pension Home
The multi-cab driver did not know about Jasmine’s Pension Home but they do know it was the hotel formerly known as Casa Royal Inn. It was a good thing the place was easy to spot on the main Andres Bonifacio Ave. Despite arriving early I was able to check in to our room. We have a group room with 2 queen-sized bed and 3 single beds, a huge make-up room that can fit 2 more beds, a walk in closet and the toilet and bath. Not bad I may say. The place is bundled together with the Kopi Luwak Cafe, one of the places in Iligan known for serving Civet Coffee, the very nice Bonsai Garden at back and the Jasmine’s Spa up front. This is also where I met the rest of the travel bloggers from Mindanao participating in the tour.
Iligan City Tour
Iligan is part of Lanao del Norte and is one of the 10 largest cities in the country with an area of 314 sq mi and a population of at least 323,000. From the downtown, the main street is a bustling with relatively few high rises. Jeeps and multi-cabs are the main transport. I like that provincial buses are not allowed to drop or take in passengers in the city except for the terminal. There’s a thriving coffee culture here and food has plenty of choices and relatively cheaper than that of Manila. I think Iliganons are easy going people. They have night life but they are more sociable so they would rather talk and share stories over food and drinks while a live band or music is playing.
The afternoon was spent getting to know the city. From the courtesy call with the Mayor Regencia at their top-of-the-hill municipal, we found the Anahaw Amphitheater (named from the trees in the area) and the city plaza where people and contingents seem busy preparing and rehearsing for the Dyandi Streetdance happening in a couple of days. The walk to the St Michael’s Cathedral, with its eye-catching pink walls, gave me an interesting glimpse of the street life in Iligan. From the vendors, to the people passing time on chess and some of the homeless people on the streets. I could say it’s like any other city, I didn’t get a feeling of being watched or on heightened alert unlike when I was walking in the streets of Basilan.
Jacko’s Kan-anan and the Bloggers
Dinner and night-cap was at Jacko’s Kan-anan, a very Filipino and festive ambiance restaurant with walls and furnitures made of bamboo. Aside from having tasted one of the best Crispy Squids and seafood platter (and oh those cute mini rice cauldrons), we also got to know more about Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS), The Waterfalling Adventure Tour 2 (WAT 2.0) and our fellow travel bloggers from Manila and Mindanao. It was just amazing to be surrounded with people who had the same zest for waterfalls and travel. So here’s some link love to my cool companions during the waterfalling adventure.
- Glen (Escape Manila)
- Doi (The Travelling Feet)
- Marky (Nomadic Experiences)
- Fredda (Trekking in the Tropics)
- Shugah (Wander Shugah)
- Leia (Technicolor Waves of Rhapsody)
- Yobz (Ayosa Oi)
- Clement (Best Spots in the Phillippines)
- Tzaddi (Buttered Toast)
Getting in and out of Laguindingan Airport (LIA) from Iligan City
CDO Transco Php 130/pax. At LIA they are just outside the arrival area. In Iligan they are located at Petron Tibanga (near H30). First trip from Iligan is 3:00am. What I liked about this multi-cab service is they don’t wait to fill the vehicle with passengers and can drop off people in the city. Travel time is much slower compared to the bus. Contact numbers 0942.447.555 / 0923694.6442 / 0942.280.0004
Super 5 Airport Shuttle and Transport Php 85 Bus fare + Php 50 for the shuttle to LIA. Also found at LIA arrival area. In Iligan, they are at the bus terminal. The Super 5 Buses are usually bound for Cagayan de Oro but drops off passengers at the junction to LIA where the airport shuttle is waiting. The airport shuttle gives priority to Super 5 passengers. What I liked about the Super 5 Bus is it’s very comfortable and the bus is very nice. Travel time is also faster.
You can also refer to PinayTravelista’s LIA Transportation Guide here for more details.
Many Thanks to our Sponsors
Jasmine Pension Home
Andres Bonifacio Avenue, Barangay Tibanga,
National Highway, Iligan City
Contact: (063) 221.7363 / 0932.888.9122
National Highway, Hinaplanon, Iligan City
Contact: (063) 222.4610 / 0917.716.8773
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.