Embarking On The 1st & 2nd Day Of 2018 Somewhere In The Midst Of Nature

Exactly like how our birthday, it only comes once and so, the New Year. At the time where the spirit of resolutions and new starts are always present. The best way to start out my calendar year is fribbling and commune with nature’s innate beauty. And hence, I decided to seize the opportunity for an eye opening trip to Misamis Oriental and Lanao Del Norte as my way of welcoming my 2018.

Traveling on the very first day of a new year has really been my dream and I was lucky enough to unlock this dream just this year. I bought a boat ticket via Cokaliong shipping lines bound for Cagayan De Oro City a day before the 31st of December 2017. I don’t know precisely what kind of adventure I have as I was really sick that night while fighting for the heavy waves sturdily smashing our boat as we bound for Cagayan De Oro City. That night was scary, I couldn’t sleep, but I arrived at the port of Cagayan De Oro City safe and sound.

Things I’ve done and Places I’ve been on the 1st and 2nd day of 2018.

Enjoying the innate beauty of Mambuntan Falls in Brgy. Lubilan, Naawan, Misamis Oriental

The adventure begins in the afternoon, I was with Aloysius and his brothers and friends. We drove from Manticao going to Naawan, which is another Municipality in Misamis Oriental that owns beautiful waterfalls. And one of the many waterfalls we visited was Mambuntan Falls. I have not heard about this waterfall before, and I don’t know how it looks like. I was supposed to ask Aloysius about it, but I preferred not to, so I would be surprised when I get there. Going there from the National Road of Naawan is not easy. The first road leading to the falls is concreted, and after that, you’ll be challenged with jouncy road before you can get to Mambuntan Falls. There are also accessible waterfalls along the road, but we didn’t get there, since I was told that the Mambuntan Falls is the most stunning compare to other waterfalls. After 40 minutes of ride, we finally reached the entrance of the Mabuntan Falls.

The Mambuntan Falls is located in Brgy. Lubilan, Naawan, Misamis Oriental. It is alleged to be one of those less popular natural destinations in the province where you can experience nature at its best. As we arrived at the entryway of the waterfalls, we paid a 20 pesos entrance fee, which goes to the maintenance of the place. And to my surprised, It is actually a resort, where there is a cool and nature friendly accommodation.

Shortly enough, we arrived at the gushing Mambuntan falls. There were big rocks around, and the catching basin seems deep enough to swim. The water is very enticing since it was very cold, maybe because of big trees that surrounds the place. The falls weren’t really that astonishing compare to other waterfalls that I’ve been to, but it is nonetheless perfect for those that love to commune with nature. The place was really peaceful, it wasn’t touristy at all, in fact, it was only us when get there and we truly have enjoyed the place. I took several pictures, until the rain suddenly poured, and we had no choice, but to leave the beautiful Mambuntan Falls.

A relaxing fish spa at Rito’s Farm to end my very first day in 2018.

While on the road as we travel back to Manticao from Mambuntan Falls in Naawan. We were at the back of Mitsubishi Strada, since we were all wet. We all have seen the fogs covering the road and the mountain range of Naawan while enjoying the jouncy ride. In the middle of our busy chit-chat, one of Aloysius friends suggested to drop by at the fish farm to experience fish spa. I instantly agree with the suggestion and made me really excited.

True enough, we made it to the fish farm. The place wasn’t really that big and wide, but they have fish ponds, which is the perfect place for fishing and of course a perfect paradise for the tiring feet to experience fish spa.

As we continue soaking our feet in the tub with hundreds of fish, we slowly experience the relaxing feeling. I could just douse my feet for an hour and probably would fall into a deep slumber. The moment I was used to to the tickling feeling made by the small fishes, I transferred to the other tub that has a medium size fish. At first, it was scary, I was imagining that the fish might eat my whole feet. But as I continue soaking my feet, I feel so relaxed and I genuinely have enjoyed it.

A morning walk around the Public Beach in Manticao, Misamis Oriental with a lovely dog named Jepoy.

I whisper something to myself the moment I woke up on the 2nd day of 2018. I have made my dream into a reality as I was able to commune with nature yesterday. My Mambuntan Falls experience was brilliant, and experiencing the relaxing fish spa at Rito’s Farm was such a memorable way to end my 1st day in 2018. I was woken up from a cold fresh air hugging me tight. I heard the wave kissing the coast, since the house where I stayed was just close to the ocean. I drag myself out of the house and got straight to the public beach while walking with an adorable dog. That morning was really serene and beautiful, away from the bustling city.

Chasing the breathtaking view of Tinago Falls, in Linamon Lanao Del Norte.

On our way to Tinago Falls, I heard that heavy rain was trying to extirpate the innate beauty of Tinago Falls a day before we went there. But didn’t stop me from going there, since I have long been dreaming to traipse my two little itchy feet in the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”.

As we almost reach Tinago Falls, we were passing on the road with full of green trees. It was refreshing and I genuinely enjoy the provincial vibes.

Shortly enough, we made it at the entrance of Tinago Falls. We were required to pay for the entrance fee and pay for a lifebuoy if we wish to swim. I was supposed to pay for lifebuoy, but I was told that the water was not as pristine as compared to previous days because it was raining hard the other night. I told myself that I might not be experiencing the real beauty of Tinago Falls, just like what I read in other blogs and also on Facebook. Nonetheless, I was still excited to get down and see what Tinago Falls has to offer.
Tinago Falls is peacefully situated in the Municipality of Linamon, Lanao Del Norte, and very close to the City of Iligan. This waterfall might have been fanning out its name around and outside the Philippines, but still left in its innate state. Its name is inferred from the Filipino word “tinago”, which means “hidden”, because the falls is hidden in a deep ravine and surrounded by lush scenery green forest. The cold water plunges from a 240-foot high cliff into a rich blue-green catching basin, but we weren’t able to witness its natural beauty because as I have said, it was raining hard a day before our visit.

But before you can finally see its astounding beauty, you have to go down by treading on the 500-steps winding staircase, which made it easy, but going back would be a real challenge. As we reach down, I was amazed because it is naturally destitute of any sign of commercialization, which made me happy. There were a bunch of travelers during our visit, some went swimming and some just took some photos of the Falls and leave. There are also cottages built near the waterfalls to accommodate visitors.

Since I resolved not to swim and so my travel buddies because the water lost the cool blue water due to heavy rain and floods a day before our visit. We just took some photos and stay there for a moment while staring to the innate beauty of Tinago Falls.

Fulfilling my childhood dream to visit the Majestic 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.

As we reached the entrance, 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.

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. 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.

Trying out the delectable Pater and Palapa as known to be an Iligan’s Best at Pater Al-Kuwait.

As we reached Iligan City proper from Maria Cristina Falls and Tinago Falls, it was already too late to have our lunch. Then I followed Aloysius as we were heading going to Pater Al-Kuwait. Shortly enough, he opened a small doorway and we entered. The place was actually not that big, but during our visit it was crowded since it was a late lunch. We got to the counter and ordered a beef and Tuna Pater, which we didn’t able to eat inside the beanery because we were in a hurry, instead, we just take it out.
As we had our orders, Pater seems to be very delicious, since this is really a must try when you visit Iligan. It is definitely one dish wrapped in goodness.

A perfect wrapping material for Pater is the banana leaf, which is meticulously cut and wilted in fire to soften and make it as a supple wrapper. A scoop of cooked rice is being shaped by folding the banana, and before you can finally wrap the rice, it is crowned with sautéed shredded meat, usually a braised beef, fish and chicken. Then the leaf is finally rolled around the topped rice, then sealed by folding both ends. Pater is also considered as affordable combo meal not only for our Muslim brothers in Mindanao, but also for Christians, especially for budget travelers like me.

We also bought a special Palapa. It is known to be a perfect appetizer for all seasons. It is a spicy side dish or sauce made of a concoction of chopped shallots, chili peppers, and ginger. The Palapa is also used as a garnish that has a boatload of secret spices to add more flavor to a cooked food.

Since we didn’t able to dine in at Pater Al-Kuwait. We still truly enjoy our Pater for lunch as we reached Manticao. Truly, it is one of the most inexpensive and satisfying lunch meal I ever had after devouring two wraps of Pater for only PHP 25.00 each. I tried the Tuna Pater and Beef and it was truly a mouth watering food I ever had that day.


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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’s 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)


  1. I really appreciate how you bring all the lesser known places in the Philipppines in to the limelight. I also enjoy waterfalls, but am yet to meet anyone who chases them with as much passion as you do.


  2. Wow!!! Your photographs of these waterfalls are truly absolutely gorgeous and beautiful!!!!They are simply stunning and what a joy it would be to see them in person!


  3. I am a nature lover and therefore loved reading your post. All waterfalls look stunning in your pictures and I would love to visit this when in Philippines. Great, you have shared some offbeat destinations.


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