Maria Cristina Falls
Located in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte
A primary source of hydroelectric power, the Maria Cristina Falls is an inspiring example of sustainable and regenerable energy because it does not use up any petroleum or have a need for machinery to operate. All it actually needs is rain.. a regular occurrence of it. In fact, when water level in the Lanao Lake is low, the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant in Iligan must dam one of the twin falls (usually the one on the right) in order to conserve energy. Incidentally, about 50% of the power that is supplied to the mainland island of Mindanao comes from this power plant complex. Which brings us to the downside of this achievement – if a circuit trips, the whole power grid that supplies the northern half of Mindanao goes dark.
How did Maria Cristina Falls get its name? There are many legends. My favorite is about the two sisters, Princess Maria and Princess Cristina, who loved each other dearly and did everything together. One day, a prince who came to ask for Maria’s (the older one) hand in marriage. When she saw him, Maria fell instantly in love and was happy to accept. Princess Cristina saw their love blossom and felt happy for her sister, yet sad that she was going to be alone. But she did not want Maria to feel guilty. So she hiked to the top of the tallest waterfalls and jumped to her death. When Maria learned of her sister’s act, she, too, climbed to the waterfalls and jumped. The prince went in search for his betrothed but could not find her. He came to rest at the top of the waterfalls and waited. He waited for so long that he became a rock, dividing the river into two. The people have come to call the twin waterfalls Maria and Cristina.
With this, it is no wonder why Iligan is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls!
How to Take a Tour There:
By Public Means (DIY) – From the Iligan City Bus Terminal, take several rides on local public transportation (jeepneys and/or multicabs) until you reach the Maria Cristina River. From there, walk the rest of the way (about a hundred meters) to the NPC Nature’s Park Gate and register your name(s) and intentions to visit the waterfalls.
Tour Guide’s Note: It’s more fun in the Philippines, even in the New Normal! All my photos were taken before the pandemic, so if you want updated ones, come and travel with me next time!