The Maria Cristina Falls is the second-highest waterfall in the Philippines, as is found in the suburbs of Iligan City on Mindanao Island. It’s the star landmark of the host city, which is part of the reason why it’s known as ‘the City of Majestic Waterfalls’. There are over 20 waterfalls in the area, but the Maria Cristina Falls is the grandest.
The waterfall is located about 9.3 km southwest of Iligan City, and is ringed by Ditucalan, Buru-un and Barangay Maria Cristina. It’s fed by the River Agus and the water falls 98 metres before supplying the Agus VI hydroelectric plant. Besides supplying power it Iligan City, it helps in the production of 70% of Mindanao’s electricity.
Highlights and Features
The Maria Cristina Falls are often referred to as ‘twin falls’ as the flow of water is separated by a rock at the brink of the fall. Some describe it as the ‘now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t falls’, as 90% of the flowing water is often diverted for the generation of hydroelectricity by the powerplants. Still, the grandeur and natural beauty of the cascading torrents is splendid and alluring enough to draw the attention of many visitors.
The fall is open to public viewing only on Sundays and special holidays, when the powerplant is shut for an hour or so, allowing the river to return to its full flow. There’s a viewing deck on the 3rd floor of the National Power Corporation building, from which you can catch a great view of the falls, even if they are not in full flow. You can also find lots of pictures of the Maria Cristina Falls in an adjacent glass room of the same building. Swimming here is strictly prohibited because the currents can become unexpectedly and uncontrollably strong.
The National Power Corporation has taken the initiative to develop the National Power Nature Park in the adjoining area of the waterfall, so you can enjoy adventure sports like rock climbing and trekking. Also, there are seating arrangements and a souvenir shop where you can buy painted T-shirts and other items related to Maria Cristina Falls.
Getting here is easy, as there’s an unending supply of jeepneys from the port area of Iligan City. They’ll take you to the Agus Bridge, which is about a 30-minute walk from the falls. You can also hire a cab.