In the suburbs of Iligan City lies the Philippines’ second-highest waterfall, the Maria Cristina Falls. This waterfall is fed by the River Agus and is found on Mindanao Island. It is often used as a landmark, or representation, of the host city – Iligan, which is also renowned as ‘City of Majestic Waterfalls’, as it possesses over 20 waterfalls in all.
Geographically, the waterfall is located about 9.3km southwest of Iligan City proper, and is bounded by Ditucalan, Buru-un and Barangay Maria Cristina. Falling 98 metres, it serves as the main source of power for the industries situated in and around the city. The National Power Corporation of Philippines is responsible for the operation of Agus VI hydroelectric plant, which constitutes one of the multiple projects that harness the Agus River, and also helps in the production of 70% of Mindanao’s electricity, besides supplying power to Iligan City. The plant, with a potential capacity of 200MW, harnesses electricity and power by utilizing 130 cubic meters of flowing water, every second.
Highlights and Features
Maria Cristina Falls is often referred to as the ‘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-now-you-don’t falls’, as often times 90% of the flowing water is utilized for the generation of hydroelectricity by the power plants. Still, the grandeur and natural beauty associated with 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 other days of special occasions, when the power plant is shut for an hour or so, allowing the river to return to its full flow. There is also a viewing deck on the third floor of the NPC building, from which tourists can catch a great view of the falls, even if they are not in full flow. Also one can find lots of pictures of the Maria Cristina Falls in an adjacent glass room, in the same building. Swimming here is strictly prohibited, due to the fact that currents can become unexpectedly and uncontrollably strong.
The National Power Corporation has recently taken the initiative to develop the National Power Nature Park in the adjoining area of the waterfall, so that tourists and visitors can enjoy adventure sports like rock climbing and trekking. Also, there are seating arrangements and a souvenir shop where one can purchase painted T-shirts and other items related to Maria Cristina Falls. Other amenities are still being installed. In fact, under the President’s Mindanao Super region development plan, the entire area has been subjected to a 1.856 billion peso upgrade.
- How to get there: Getting here is easy, as there is an unending supply of jeepneys from the port area of Iligan City. They’ll take you to the Agus Bridge, which is almost half an hour away from the falls by foot. You can also hire a cab.