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Iligan Travel Guide: City of Majestic Waterfalls and the Must-try Iligan Lechon

CITY OF MAJESTIC WATERFALLS
Tinago Falls, perfect afternoon seim

Iligan City is one of the best cities to go waterfall chasing in the Philippines. It is one of urban centers of Northern Mindanao. lligan, known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls, is home to 24 waterfalls, including the famous Maria Cristina, located only 9 kilometers away southwest of the city center. If you want to go waterfalls chasing, Iligan should definitely be on your list!

GETTING THERE

The best way to get to Iligan City is via Laguindingan Airport, which is the most convenient entry point for both cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Laguindingan Airport is not really located in CDO but in the municipality of Laguindingan between Iligan and CDO. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily direct flights to Laguindingan Airport from Manila. They also have flights to Laguindingan coming from cities of Cebu and Davao.

  1. Book a flight to Laguindingan Airport. Travel time is 1.5 hours.
  2. From Laguindingan Airport. Get a shuttle service to Iligan City. Outside the arrival area, you will see a lot of booths offering shuttle and bus services to Iligan City. You may also ride the Super 5 bus which is a van-bus service to the city. Travel time 1-1.5 hours.
  3. From the bus terminal you may ride a taxi or jeep to the city center. Shuttle and bus services coming from the airport will stop at Iligan’s Integrated Bus Terminal in Tambo. From there, you may ride a cab or taxi to the city.

If you’re coming from CDO city proper, just head to the Westbound Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal. Ride a bus to Iligan City. We recommend riding the Super Five non-stop bus for only P100. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. The non-stop bus will only stop at the airport and Iligan City.

GOING AROUND the city is quite easy.
  • Jeepneys have routes posted on their side with a minimum fare of P7.50/person.
  • Taxis on the other hand is quite new in the city. In Iligan, they do not have metered rates but a minimum rate of P100/ride. It’s best to negotiate with the driver first before riding one. Some taxis are also not properly labeled. To be safe, ride the ones that are properly labeled with the taxi company on the side.

Police presence is also noticeable in Iligan. There’s probably a pair of policemen and women in every block in the city center. Aside from feeling secured, these policemen are also helpful to tourists. You can ask them for info on how to reach your destination, what and where to ride.

ACCOMMODATION

Staying the night in Iligan is not a problem. There are a lot of inns and hotels within the city proper catering from budget inns to hotels. Here’s a list of hotels in Iligan City.

WHAT TO DO

Waterfalls chasing is the most famous activity when visiting Iligan. Home to over 20 waterfalls, you will definitely have your favorites. If you’re new to the city, to traveling or have a very limited time to spend in Iligan, it’s best to start exploring Iligan’s tourism triangle composed of the trio: Maria Cristina Falls (Read More: Maria Cristina Falls Iligan: Grandest Falls in the Philippines), Mimbalut Falls (Read More: Mimbalut Falls Iligan: Enchanting and Underrated) and Tinago Falls (Read More: Tinago Falls Iligan: A Secluded Paradise).

The powerful Maria Cristina Falls

Traveling to these three waterfalls is ideal, especially if you have a very limited time, because you would just need to ride one jeepney route to visit all three and a day is enough to explore and enjoy all three.

Mimbalut Falls
ITINERARY: ILIGAN

Our recommended route and itinerary for a day-trip to Iligan: Maria Cristina Falls – Mimbalut Falls – Tinago falls.

  • 08:00 Depart for Iligan City from Laguindingan Airport. Travel time 1 hour.
  • 09:00 Arrival at Iligan Integrated Bus Terminal in Tambo.
  • 09:15 Depart for Jaime’s Lechon Bayug Extension Branch across Gaisano Mall.
  • 09:30 Arrival at Jamie’s Lechon Bayug. Eat Lechon.
  • 10:40 Ride Buru-un bound jeepney from Gaisano Mall intersection to Maria Cristina Falls (Inside NPC Nature’s Park). Travel time 30 minutes
  • 11:15 Arrival at NPC Nature’s Park. Explore Zoo and Maria Cristina Falls. (Read More: Maria Cristina Falls Iligan: Grandest Falls in the Philippines)
  • 12:30 Ride habal-habal to Mimbalut Falls. Travel time 15 minutes
  • 12:45 Arrival at Mimbalut Falls. Explore and quick dip. (Read More: Mimbalut Falls Iligan: Enchanting and Underrated)
  • 13:30 Depart for Tinago Falls. Travel time: 15-20 minutes.
  • 14:00 Arrival at Tinago Falls jump-off. Hike to the falls. Hike duration: 15-30 minutes. Only a flight of stairs down to the waterfall.
  • 14:30 Arrival at Tinago Falls. Explore. Swim. Raft ride. (Read More: Tinago Falls Iligan: A Secluded Paradise).
  • 16:30 Depart for Dacer’s Lechon and Gloria’s Lechon. Travel time: 15 minutes.
  • 16:45 Early dinner at Dacer’s and Gloria’s.
  • 17:30 Ride Jeepney to City Proper. Go down at Gaisano Mall. Travel time: 30 minutes.
  • 18:00 Arrival at Gaisano Mall. Ride a jeep to Integrated Bus Terminal in Tambo. Travel time: 15 minutes
  • 18:30 Arrival at Integrated Bus Terminal.

Ride a jeepney to Buru-un. There’s a big intersection near Gaisano Mall where you may wait for one. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Maria Cristina Falls past the steel orange bridge. After Maria Cristina Falls, at the main road, someone offered us a habal-habal ride to the two remaining falls. This is easier and will save you time but it will definitely cost more.


If you’re on a strict budget, from Maria Cristina Falls, ride another Buru-un bound jeepney. Tell the driver to drop you off at Miguel Canohoy Memorial School marked by an pedestrian overpass, then walk to Mimbalut Falls. If you’re going to Tinago Falls after Mimbalut, just walk to the main highway and hire a habal-habal going to Tinago Falls. We recommend hiring one since the jump-off is quite far from the main road.

MUST-TRY ILIGAN LECHON

We are not food bloggers but Iligan’s lechon deserves a highlight! Cebu is not the only place in the country to find good lechon. The City of Iligan is famous for it as well. On our one-day trip to Iligan, we ate nothing but their lechon from breakfast to dinner. It’s that good!

We recommend trying out Jaime’s Lechon Bayug for starters since it’s located in the city proper. They have a stall near the public plaza at Aguinaldo St. They also have an extension branch right across Gaisano Mall at Roxas Avenue. We ordered a kilo of lechon from them for breakfast. The skin was crispy. The meat was flavorful as well.

Lechon for breakfast!

After exploring the three waterfalls, we recommend dropping by Dacer’s Lechon right across Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral house and Timoga Cold Spring. This is where you will wait for jeepneys back to the city proper, so tasting their lechon is definitely the perfect ending to your Iligan adventure. It’s a line of stalls selling lechon and ihaw-ihaw.  Our driver also recommended to try out the lechon at Gloria’s Ihaw-Ihaw (another famous lechon based on blogs online) just beside Dacer’s.

Dacer’s Lechon is the best among the three and arguably the best in the country. Given that it was already 5pm, its skin was still very crispy and flavorful. Their meat was very delicious as well. Gloria’s lechon was disappointing. The skin was not crispy at all, close to chewy and its meat tastes normal.

Tip: Dine there. They have outside seating areas facing the sea where you could watch the sunset. It’s also best to order lechon in the morning.

BUDGET
  • Transportation: Super Five Bus from CDO-Iligan P100, Taxi to Jaime’s Lecho P100, Jeepney to Buru-un P12.50, Jeepney to Mimbalut jump-off from Maria Cristina P7.50, Habal-habal to Tinago P50. For us we paid P400 to bring us to Mimbalut and Tinago and back to Dacer’s. Jeep from Gaisano Mall to Bus Terminal P7.50
  • Food: 1 kilo of Lechon ranges from P150-P200
  • Entrance Fees: Maria Cristina Entrance P45/head P35/senior/student, Mimbalut entrance P40, Tinago Raft Entrance fee – Donation only, Tinago raft ride P10/head, Tinago life jacket rental P25/head, Tinago table rental P75.
  • Other fees: Maria Cristina Shuttle service P10/head, Maria Cristina Zipline P200/head


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