While the Philippines is reputable for its pristine beaches, there’s nothing like discovering its best-kept secrets and unspoiled beauty. Tinago Falls is one of the many hidden natural treasures that the county has.
Tucked within a ravine in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte, this majestic waterfall is the main tourist attraction of the province and also serves as a water source for residents near the area. Its name—Tinago Falls in tagalog—means “hidden” that perfectly fits its location that one can only reach by descending some 500 steps.
The 240 feet high Tinago Falls will evoke oohs and aahs and so much awe from anyone who will visit it for the first time. It is surrounded by colossal rock structures dotted by thick masses of trees and natural foliage. Despite this towering scene, what lies at the bottom of the falls leaves visitors in even greater astonishment.
Its basin features a stunning blue-green pool of cold water perfect for swimming, similar to Palawan’s jaw-dropping lagoons. The water comes from the outflow of the man-made Lanao Lake flowing to the Agus River that cuts into two channels before going to Iligan Bay. One channel goes to Tinago while the other goes to the famous Maria Cristina Falls, also in Iligan City.
Tinago Falls Legend
For sure travelers who have visited have already known the Tinago Falls description. And to keep you in the loop, we’ll tell you what we know so far.
Legend has it that there once lived a powerful Sultan Agok and his wife who were appointed by their people as their king and queen. However, as time passed, they became too proud and selfish rulers. When the sultan’s wife was pregnant, an enchantress, disguised as a beggar, asked for help but they exiled and rejected her. Because of this, the enchantress cursed the couple and told them that their child would become ugly but they did not take it seriously.
The curse came true and the child turned out ugly. The couple was disappointed, expecting the baby will be as lovely as her mother. To avoid embarrassment, they hid the child in a cave and named her Tin-ag, which means “hidden face” hence, the name Tinago Falls tagalog that is “hidden” in English. The couple never abandoned their child as they continued to take care of Tin-ag in the cave.
When Tin-ag grew up, she came out of the cave and was amazed at what she saw. The enchantress, who cursed her parents, saw her and offered to transform her into something of great beauty and splendor. She accepted the offer and became the Tinago Falls.
Tinago Falls Location
The waterfall is located in Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.
How to get to Tinago Falls location
From Manila, book a flight to Laguindingan International Airport in Cagayan de Oro. It is the nearest airport to Iligan City. Travel time is approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
From the airport, get a taxi to take you directly to Iligan, or ask to drop you off at Bulua Bus Terminal (Cagayan). At Bulua Bus Terminal, you can find buses going to Iligan. Travel time from Cagayan de Oro to Iligan is approximately one and a half hours.
From Manila, you can take a boat going to Cagayan de Oro seaport, and then take a taxi or bus to Iligan City.
From Iligan City to Tinago Falls, you have two routes to choose from. The Buruun route and the Linamon route. The latter is more convenient since streets are entirely paved. The resort there also has a more secured parking space for vehicles.
Buruun Route (Iligan City): From Iligan City, take a jeepney that leads to Buruun. Inform the driver to drop you off in an intersection to Tinago Falls. From crossing, hire a motorcycle or habal habal heading to the jump off point of Tinago Falls. Fare is around P50 to P80 per way depending on how you haggle with the driver.
Linamon Route: From Iligan City, ride a jeep that leads to Buruan. Notify the driver to drop you off at the border of Linamon and Buruan. From talipapa, ask the motorcycle driver to take you to the Highland Resort, the jump off point of Tinago. Fare is also around P50 to P80 per way.
Tinago Falls entrance fee
The Tinago Falls entrance fee is very cheap. Tourists will have to pay P50 to enter the area. You can also bring as much food as you can because there’s no corkage fee there.