Tourists riding a bamboo raft at Tinuy-An Falls

Tinuy-an Falls: The Little Niagara of the Philippines

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Mindanao is home to many pristine beaches, unspoiled natural attractions and beautiful waterfalls that will keep you coming back. One of its gems is the Tinuy an Falls. It is dubbed as the Crown Jewel of  Surigao del Sur for its breathtaking beauty. 

Many people describe Tinuy an Falls as the “Little Niagara Falls of the Philippines” because of its curtain of water cascading down a four-tier drop. The waterfall is 95 meters wide and 180 feet high. 

Unlike other waterfalls, Tinuy-an has natural pools where one can take a plunge. The natural pool of the second waterfall—the tallest of the three layers⁠—is the biggest. It is wide enough to accommodate bamboo rafts to take guests closer to the falls where the waters drop.

Not as commercialized and popular as destinations like Cebu, Boracay, and Siargao, visiting this place may mean that there are only a few tourists. Sounds like a good thing, huh?

Tinuy an Falls History

Tinuy-an comes from the word Tinuyo-an, a Cebuano word which means “intentional act or performance to attain an objective or goal.” It can also mean babalik-balikan or “a place you’ll keep going back to” in the Filipino context. So, the question here is how did the people come up with such a name? Let’s find out the Tinuy an Falls history!

Legend says, the Magdiwata Mountain settlers were enslaved by cruel masters coming from the hinterlands of Agusan. They were mistreated and were forced to do hard manual labor.

Tired of the maltreatment, the brave natives gathered among themselves and created a plan to end the cruelty. So, one day, while rowing the bamboo raft boarded by their masters, the slaves jumped off and intentionally shoved the bamboo raft towards the cliff of the waterfalls killing all their vicious masters. This was how they got the freedom they’ve been longing for so long.

From then on, the high falling waters are called Tinuy-an Falls to commemorate the bravery of the heroic natives.

In 2018, Tinuy-an Falls was proclaimed as one of the three protected areas in Caraga region under the Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System  Act of 2018.

The area is home to 91 species of animals consisting of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish and crustaceans; and 144 species of flora, 33 of which belong to species considered to be nearing extinction.

Things to do in Tinuy-An Falls

1. Ride a bamboo raft

Tourists riding a bamboo raft at Tinuy-An Falls

To make your trip to Tinuy an Falls more fun, make sure to ride a bamboo raft to get closer to the base and enjoy the plunge of water. Then, you can go to the second and third level of Tinuy-an where you can sit or lean on the rock and let the water massage your back. You only have to take 200 steps to reach them. You can ask your guide to give you a Tinuy an falls brochure for more information.

2. Swimming

Photo courtesy of @kikimbap

Enjoy the refreshing and soothing waters of Tinuy-an by swimming! The natural pool is wide enough to perform your hidden talent for swimming strokes or just float around. Just make sure to read your Tinuy an falls brochure to keep safe while having fun.

3. Visit the Hinatuan Enchanted River

Although this isn’t exactly located where Tinuy an Falls is, it’s still worth a visit. From Bislig City, you can ride a habal-habal (motorbike) from Tinuy an Falls going to Hinatuan Enchanted River which will take about 2 hours. This river is very popular because of its clear blue water which allows you to see the bottom from the river bank.

Tinuy an Falls Map

Tinuy-an Falls is situated in Borboanan, Bislig City. From Mangagoy, the travel time is just one hour going to the falls. To keep you guided, check out this Tinuy an Falls map below.

How to get there

From Manila, you can reach Bislig City by riding a plane going to Davao City, Butuan City, or Surigao City. From there, you can ride a bus going to Mangagoy, part of Bislig City. the fare costs P250 to P300 one way.

The travel time depends on where you’re coming from. From Butuan City, the trip takes about 3 to 4 hours; while from Davao City, it takes 5 to 6 hours. 

Upon reaching Mangagoy, go to the terminal and ride a jeep going to Barangay Borboanan, the location of Tinuy-an Falls. Motorcycles are also available, which can be paid 100-150 pesos per person.

The best time to visit the place is in the morning, around 9am to 11am because a rainbow can be seen on a sunny day. Entrance fee at Tinuy-an Falls is P50.

The beauty of Mindanao is covered by the fear of people who have never been there. But once you see it for yourself, the region’s gems, like the Tinuy an Falls, will inspire a sense of wonder for those willing to go on an adventure.

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