Iligan is a highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. Dubbed as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”. There is no doubt that chasing waterfalls (literally not figuratively) would be the best thing to do in this city with a land area of 81,337 hectares and a population of 342,618 people according to the 2015 census.
There are 39 waterfalls located in its lush green forest area but only 23 are promoted. Maria Cristina Falls is the most popular on the list and is the pride of the city. Parted by a rock at the verge of the waterfall, this stunner is also known as “twin falls” and its flowing water is routinely diverted for the generation of hydroelectricity by the powerplants.
The second most popular waterfalls is this charm hidden in a deep ravine with the name, Tinago Falls. In order to reach this hidden gem, one must trek an approximately 500 descending steps and definitely not an adventure for the faint hearted. Once you reach the bottom of the ravine and see the breathtaking view of Tinago’s cascading waters thundering down, all your exhaustion will begin to sink into oblivion. It’s a place that would make you promise not to return only to have that promise broken every time.
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Timoga Springs is well known for its icy-cool and crystal-clear water and it never ceases to amaze and lure both locals and tourists alike. In fact, your Iligan tour will never be complete without visiting Timoga. There are multiple beautiful resorts that you can select from in the area and choosing which one to enter would be a difficult decision to make. Expect these resorts to be jampacked with people especially during summer when the weather is extremely hot and less in rainy season. Safe to say, this place is everyone’s favorite.
Paseo de Santiago which in English translates to Santiago Walk is a great place to stroll and unwind. This place is located near the seashore and was developed by a private individual who aimed to provide the Iliganons a new location for relaxation that they can be proud of. One of the attractions in this walk is the big signage of the city itself – ILIGAN CITY which became popular instantly right after it was erected.
It has now become a favorite place for families that would want to bond and enjoy picnics on a weekend. For solo individuals or backpackers who would want to enjoy a day tour, there are mini restaurants where you can dine and they offer different activities for you to enjoy. You can rent a bicycle to go around the place or rent a carriage if you prefer something fancier. The best time to stroll would be in the afternoon so that you will not miss the beautiful sunset over the water while enjoying the sea breeze and the calming sound of waves. At night, live bands will start playing their music to entertain everyone who opts to stay longer to enjoy the night.
Marianos Home Cooked Specialties is the best restaurant in Iligan. It is a cozy restaurant in a private location where you can enjoy sumptuous meals. They have a well trained and courteous staff and the place is owned and managed by the chef’s family. People who have experienced fine dining in this place have nothing to say but praises.
Aruma Coffee Lounge is a perfect place for coffee lovers and is situated in the heart of the city. It has a pleasant ambiance and a great place for short business meetings, for friends who would like to catch up with each other or even for those who needs a relaxing place to study.
Enang’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant is a family restaurant that offers a variety of delightful dishes in a spacious and airy location. This restaurant is normally very busy every Friday and Saturday because that’s the time that most people would have dinner and stay longer at night to drink and enjoy the live music.
The Diyandi Festival is an annual month long celebration in honor of the city’s patron saint, St. Michael The Archangel. According to legends, the city remains untouched and safe from the rebel and pirate attacks because of the miracles of St. Michael and this lore continues to intensify the devotion of the locals up to this day. The best highlight of this festival is the street dancing competition. It is the much-awaited event where you will witness the mind-blowing transformation of the streets of Iligan from its normal state into a vibrant moving theatre packed with dancers and a huge crowd of revelers in psychedelic costumes.
This may be a small city but the locals definitely know how to enjoy beautiful evenings with friends and finding a place to experience night life in this part of the world would not be a very difficult task. However, the best nightlife happens every October in the annual celebration of the city’s version of Octoberfest. This is a monthlong celebration that starts from afternoon until dawn and lures people from the neighboring areas of Iligan.
Best Day Trip Out of the City
Initao is a municipality that’s 34 km away from Iligan and taking a day trip there would be an amazing venture. You can go to Initao National Park and marvel in its different wildlife and geological features. Nearby is a white sand beach resort that offers a selection of water activities that you can enjoy.
Something that not many travelers would know about Iligan
Lawis Spring is an amazing place that not many travelers or even locals would know about for this resort is located in the middle of nowhere. In order to get to this place, you need to walk for about 30 minutes from the highway, up to the hill and into the woods with no trail. Going there is like a daring adventure that is worthy of your undertaking. In the middle of nowhere, you can indulge in the beauty of a serene surrounding, swim in the sweet water fresh from the spring and immerse in a nature untouched by man.