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

tourists in a bamboo raft

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

By plane

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.

By boat

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.

 

 

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

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. 

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?

Why is it the Little Niagara Falls of the Philippines?

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. 

What’s inside this blog?

Tinuy an Falls History

tinuy-an falls

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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, the 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

Here are some of the best things to do in and out of Tinuy-an Falls:

1. Ride a bamboo raft

tinuy-an falls rainbow

To make your trip to there 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

tinuy an falls

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 the 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

It 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tinuy-An Falls

Q: What is the Little Niagara Falls of the Philippines?

A: Tinuy an Falls is called by many 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. 

Q: What is the meaning of Tinuy-an?

A: 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.

Q: What is there to do in Tinuy-an Falls?

A: Here are some of the best things to do in and out of the falls:

  1. Ride a bamboo raft
  2. Swimming
  3. Visit the Hinatuan Enchanted River

Q: Where is Tinuy-an Falls located?

A: Tinuy-an Falls is situated in Borboanan, Bislig City. From Mangagoy, the travel time is just one hour going to the falls. 

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.