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.
Mid-day in Iligan City. The sun was blaring, the wind feels humid and after walking around the city streets to chase the Dyandi festival performers, it was a day begging for some nice cool dip. I guess the people at Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS) had foresight of what participants want for that day as we were scheduled to visit the Timoga Cold Springs in Buru-un. Iliganons seem so enthusiastic whenever I mention we’re going there. They said it’s a place of “flowing swimming pools”.
Maybe we got a little too comfortable when we visited the Cathedral Falls. Going to Sta Cruz Falls, also in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, was an unexpected contrast yet still a welcome adventure. Since most of us haven’t been there (except for Alex of Bagdok on the Road) and we had no idea what the trail is like. We only knew that from the highway, the falls is at the tail end of a 1.5 – 2km trek along the river. We got two guides with us after meeting with the Mayor of Kapatagan Mr Lagura and Sta Cruz Barangay Captain Neceas Booc, just to assure our safety. I think they had a good idea of what lay beyond the peeling and undistinguishable signage “This way to Sta Cruz Falls” by the road-side and letting us discover it for ourselves what’s ahead.
Usually when I talk about waterfalls, I talk about the great lengths on how to reach a good one, the extensive hikes, the stair climbs and the sweat you have to invest. Well Cathedral Falls, found in Baranggay Waterfalls in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte defies the norms. After a 15-minute habal-habal ride from the main bus terminal in Kapatagan, we pulled off on the road and there it was in all its glory.