Maria Cristina Falls: A Sojourn To The Majestic And Famous Waterfall In The Philippines


My excitement and energy is still that high after exploring the stunning Tinago Falls. I was running like I was in a hurry on my way up from Tinago Falls. It’s not because I run out of time, but I was so excited to finally see the proud beauty of Maria Cristina Falls.

Maria Cristina Falls has long been fanning its name around and outside the Philippines because of its majestic beauty. It has been written in a book, and I saw several pictures of it since I was in grade school. And to finally traipse my feet to the stunning beauty of Maria Cristina waterfalls would be part of my greatest achievement. A memory suddenly sprouted like a bean and I was so right when I told myself 17 years ago that someday, I can travel and see the magical beauty of Maria Cristina Falls.

Going to Maria Cristina Falls from Tinago Falls is very easy. It only took us around 15 minutes drive. As we reached the National Power Corporation (NPC) Nature Park. We were greeted with a bad news telling us that Maria Cristina Falls is temporarily closed because of the Martial Law. I was so sad when I heard about the news. But since I sound like a child begging for food and because I have an infectious smile, the guard allows me to get inside. I told the guards that I travel all the way from Cebu just to see the majestic beauty of Maria Cristina Falls because this has long been my dream. They were so kind that they consider my dream of seeing the Falls. My sad face suddenly turned into a grateful face. We immediately paid the necessary entrance fee and they allow our car to get to the foot of Maria Cristina Falls.

Maria Cristina Falls, is peacefully situated in Iligan City, it is considered to be one of the top tourist destinations in the country. And sometimes referred to as the “twin falls” because of the sturdy rock at its brink, which breaks up the water’s flow, especially if the water flow is not that strong. It also reaches like around 98-meter high with a 320-meter drop making it so stunning and majestic. The water comes from the country’s largest fresh water lake, Lake Lanao. This immense body of water also supplies the other waterfalls in Iligan City like in Tinago Falls.

Also, Maria Cristina Falls is where the Agus Hydro Electric Plant gets its strong force as a primary source of electricity that supplies not only the nearby Provinces in Lanao Del Norte and Iligan, but also for the whole region of Mindanao.

There is also an NPC Nature Park, located just before the Maria Cristina Falls. It houses a crocodile farm, a couple of ostriches, kois and a great collection of birds. There’s also a butterfly sanctuary and an orchidarium, which makes your Maria Cristina Falls visit extra special. What good news about it is that, all of these attractions are already included in the entrance fee. But since it was closed during our visit, we didn’t able to experience the Mini Zoo.

Going to the falls’ viewing deck after parking our car, made me more excited because I can hear the gushing water and I already see it from afar. The view deck is approximately a hundred meters away from the falls. Theres also a park’s tree top and zipline adventure that serves as your marker, which means that you’re near at the viewing deck. But if you plan to ride the Zip Line, make sure to pay at the entrance before heading to the Falls. You might probably hungry during your visit, and that’s not a problem since they have a mini beanery just located close on the viewing deck where you can relish your food while enjoying the majestic beauty of Maria Cristina Falls.

We too see an underground river cave and Green Iguanas, which is known to be a docile species of lizard. Iguanas are said to possess an excellent sense, which allows them to detect movement from incredibly long distances. This innate skill of Iguana is being employed to seek out prey and be aware of approaching predators often before the predators has even noticed the iguana.

After taking a bunch of photos and truly enjoying the place, we decided to leave because we need to catch a boat bound for Cebu at 7:00 PM.

 

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HOW TO GET TO MARIA CRISTINA FALLS

There are daily flights from Manila and Cebu via major Airlines to Cagayan De Oro City. From Laguindingan International Airport, you can take a bus bound for Iligan City, fare is around Php 150. You can also take the Super 5 Bus, their airport shuttle will drop you off at the National Highway where you will transfer to a Superstar Bus bound for Iligan City. Transit Bus also have trips from CDO to Iligan, available 24 hours a day.

You can as well ride a van bound for Iligan City from Laguindingan International Airport such CDO Transco and Lord’s Transport.

There are also yellow taxis (Alphat Airport Taxi) and metered taxis, which are also available at the Laguindingan International Airport.

From the City proper, ride a tricycle to take you to the terminal of jeeps bound for Buru-un. Make sure you remind the driver that you will get off at Maria Cristina Falls. Fare is around Php 15.00, and travel time is less than 20 minutes. Make sure to stop after the steel bridge and cross the road to the entrance of the NPC Nature Park. Take an uphill walk for less than 10 minutes.

At the NPC Nature Park, pay the necessary fees. Entrance fee is Php 35.00 for adults, Php 25.00 for kids and seniors. Add Php 10.00 for the round trip shuttle fare.

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.
  • You can also visit other nearby waterfalls such as Mimbalut Falls and Tinago Falls through hiring a motorcycle or Habal-Habal.
  • Don’t forget to check the NPC Nature Park if you get the chance.
  • Above all PRAY before going to the waterfalls for God’s guidance and protection.

 

ITINERARY FOR THE WHOLE TRIP
Cebu-Cagayan-Naawan-Manticao-Iligan-Cagayan-Tagbilaran-Cebu

DAY 1 New Year’s Eve Preparation

07:00 AM ETA Cagayan De Oro City
08:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Depart for Manticao
11:30 AM ETA Manticao
12:30 PM Rest (Sleep)
03:00 PM Prepare for New Year’s Eve
07:00 PM Dinner
12:01 AM New Year’s Celebration

DAY 2 Mambuntan Falls & Rito Farm

01:00 PM Depart for Naawan
01:30 PM ETA Naawan
01:35 PM Depart for Mambuntan Falls
02:25 PM ETA Mambuntan Jump Off area
02:30 PM Trek to Mambuntan Falls
02:40 PM ETA Mambuntan Falls (Picture taking & Swimming)
03:30 PM Natural Pool (Picture taking & Swimming)
04:30 PM Depart for Rito’s Farm
05:10 PM ETA Rito’s Farm
05:15 PM Fish Spa
05:45 PM Depart for Manticao
06:00 PM ETA Manticao
08:00 PM Dinner
10:00 PM Lights off (Sleep)

DAY 3 Tinago Falls & Maria Cristina Falls

08:00 AM Depart for Tinago Falls
09:30 AM ETA Tinago Falls (Swimming & Picture taking)
10:40 AM Depart for Maria Cristina Falls
11:10 AM ETA Maria Cristina Falls (Swimming & Picture taking)
11:50 AM Depart for Iligan Proper
12:10 PM Iligan City
12:30 PM Buying Pastel for take out & Pasalubong
01:00 PM Depart for Manticao
02:00 PM ETA Manticao
02:30 PM Late Lunch
03:00 PM Depart for Cagayan De Oro City
05:00 PM ETA Cagayan De Oro City
06:00 PM Dinner
07:00 PM Depart for Tagbilaran, Bohol

DAY 4 Tagbilaran City, Bohol

05:00 AM ETA Tagbilaran City, Bohol
07:00 AM Breakfast
09:00 AM Ambling around Tagbilaran City
02:00 PM Late Lunch
03:30 PM Depart for Cebu
05:30 PM ETA Cebu
06:30 PM Home sweet Home
10:00 PM Rest (Sleep)

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27 comments

  1. National Power Corporation and Nature Park don’t seem to go together but that doesn’t take away from the natural beauty of the Maria Cristina Falls. Hopefully this ecosystem will continue to be protected. You went all out to get there on day 3, looks really busy. Thanks for all the information.

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  2. I have been wondering what all can be added to my bucket list if I plan to visit Philippines. Your blog post has definitely helped me to add one attraction. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a shame you didn’t get to see all of the attractions there, but you were lucky to get inside at all! Imagine going all that way and not being able to see it! I’m glad you could fulfill your dream 🙂 The Hydro Electric Plant takes a little away from the beautiful nature, but it is much better than burning fuels to make electricity!

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  4. Love your shots, especially the one of the lizard 😀 So cute. This is truly a majestic waterfall, I am sure it is too powerful to swim in? You should check out Pailon del Diablo in Ecuador 😀 also a huge waterfall. I would have so many waterfalls to visit when I go to the Philippines thanks to you. Thank you for sharing 😀

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  5. Beautiful! This reminds me of my honeymoon. 🙂 Instead of just staying in a poah hotel or go abroad, my wife and I decided to go backpacking to Northern Mindanao and this place is one of the places we have visited.

    I hooe you also got to visit Tinago Falls. 🙂

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  6. Wow, this lizard is super cute! 😀
    You’re so lucky the guard let you go through! I wish the hydroelectric plant wasn’t that close to the falls, but well… can’t be perfect! At least, it gives an idea of how big and powerful these falls are. Impressive!

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  7. Never been to this part of Mindanao. And just like you, I also knew about Maria Christina Falls since grade school and I always want to see this Majestic Falls myself. I will surely read this post again for reference and travel tips when I have the chance to visit. Thank you for this Lai!

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  8. The falls look breathtaking. I admire your tenacity, managing to visit the falls even in the face of martial law, and your smile, must really be something to have melted the resolve of guards at the falls.

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  9. We’ll be having our media coverage in Iligan City and I hope they will include Maria Christina in our itinerary. I only read about it through books when I was still in high school but I haven’t got the chance to see it in person. Im surprised you can also see iguanas in the underground river. Your photos are totally inviting. Thanks too for the detailed itinerary.

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  10. Ah! I can relate to your initial feel, when a guard is really sympathetic to you and lets you in. In my case, sympathetic guards have let me click pics.
    I’m glad that you managed to visit the place that you’ve been wanting to visit since ages. That’s one place off your wishlist. Haha!
    Doing zipline here would be definitely an awesome experience. Does it give a view of the falls?

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  11. You are one lucky person to have been allowed to enter despite it being closed. I wish I could pull off tricks like that when I travel. Anyhoo, Maria Cristina falls is indeed an iconic part of our grade school education and seeing it in real life must be truly magical. Thanks for sharing your experience. Good to see an itinerary at the end.too. Will check back for reference.

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  12. Oh wow you are really lucky the guard allowed you in. Maria Cristina falls is indeed so majestic and beautiful. I wouldn’t want to miss a sight like that either. I’m glad you got the chance. ZIpline sound like fun too!

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  13. Amazing! Looks so beautiful. Another waterfall in the Philippines I need to add on my “Chasing Waterfalls Bucketlist” hehe. Might have a book a trip here next Summer, waiting on seat sales hehe

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  14. Philippines seems to be really blessed with majestic waterfalls. The Maria Cristina waterfall is really a huge one, and I love the greenery around. I also fell in love with your tip about not leaving any trace behind so that we don’t cause any damage to this lovely place..so thoughtful!

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  15. Ooh Maria Cristina Falls, I’ve known about this since grade school, it is part of the well-known Philippine landmarks being taught in Sibika at Kultura. And I have never seen it in person and the only picture that I saw in the reference books are drawings. Seeing your pictures here, I didn’t know that Maria Cristina is quite majestic. Wow, it’s quite beautiful, I should really make a trip to Iligan soon to see it for myself.

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