Address: Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City, Mindanao, Philippines
Tinago Falls is a waterfall on the Agus River, located in between the town of Linamon and Iligan City, Lanao del Norte in the northern Philippine island of Mindanao. It is one of the main tourist attractions of Iligan, a city known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls.
Tinago is a Filipino term meaning “hidden”, the falls being hidden in a deep ravine. Trekking to the falls requires approximately 500 descending steps called the winding staircase.
The falls is high, it’s very cold waters cascading beautifully into a deep and calm basin-like pool which appears like a blue-colored lagoon. Under the falls is a small cave where people can enter and listen to the rumbling waters.
Legend has it that there once lived an influential and powerful Sultan Agok and his wife. They were appointed by their people as their king and queen. But they became too proud of themselves and became selfish rulers of their kingdom. When the sultan’s wife was pregnant, an enchantress, disguised as a beggar, begged for their help but instead, they exiled and rejected her. Because of this, the enchantress cursed the couple that the child will become ugly but they did not take it seriously and permanently banished the enchantress.
The child did become ugly. The couple was sad and disappointed, expecting the baby to be as lovely as her mother. They hid the child in a cave to avoid embarrassment and named the baby Tin-ag, which means “hidden face”. They visited and took care of the baby in the cave.
When the child grew up, she came out of the cave and became amazed at what she saw. The enchantress, who cursed her parents, saw her and made an offer to transform her into something of great beauty and splendor. She accepted the offer and became the Tinago Falls.
How to get there?
Manila – Cagayan de Oro
Buy a ticket from Cebu Pacific or Philippines Airlines. Look for seat sales ahead of time. Those who practice DIYs and thrifty traveling are the happiest travelers I’ve ever known.
Cebu/Davao City – Cagayan de Oro
You can take a direct flight from Davao to CDO, or you can opt to ride a bus via Rural Transit or Bachelor Express going to Butuan. From Butuan, take a bus ride going to CDO. Both travel expenses cost P600 pesos. (Php300 each)
Cagayan de Oro – Iligan City
If you took a plane trip, you could ride a taxi going to Balua Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal. From there, take the Iligan City route bus. On the other hand, if you travel by land, ride a tricycle going to the terminal with the same instruction.
Iligan City – Tinago Falls
a. Habal-habal – this may be the most convenient among other rides, but the fare is pricy, which starts from Php 600. If it’s not affordable for you, you can take the second option.
b. Jeep to Habal–habal (motorcycle) – After getting off from the bus, take a jeep going to the Iligan city proper, then ride another jeepney via Maria Christina or Purakan route. Advise the driver to take you to Purakan crossing. From there, ride a habal-habal to take you directly to Tinago Falls.