LANAO DEL NORTE | The Maria Cristina Falls at the NPC Nature’s Park

Monday, October 07, 2013

Agus River at Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

As far as grade school students are concerned, there are only two waterfalls in the Philippines—Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna and the more impressive Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. I wasn’t even aware back when my Sibika at Kultura teacher taught us about it that the latter is located in Iligan City. You can just imagine my delight when I saw the itinerary for the Waterfalling Adventure 1.0, we’re gonna visit one of the two Philippine waterfalls that really matter.

A Dam at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

Unlike most waterfalls in the country where arduous trekking is usually involved, visiting Maria Cristina Falls has none of that drama at all. But a stopover to the NPC Nature’s Park also entails a bit of work, make sure you call first before visiting, else you might not see any cascading falls at all. But coordinating with the NPC peeps is basically all the work you needed to do. Nice eh?


Nature Trail at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

The National Power Corporation (NPC) Nature’s Park is an eight-hectare hydro-electric power plant complex dedicated to the production of electricity for seventy percent of Mindanao. But besides its power-generating aspect, there are also a host of things to visit and see along its sprawling grounds. And what’s nice about it is that entrance is absolutely affordable; ₱35.00 for the kids / senior citizen / students, ₱45.00 for adults.

Live Crocs at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

Together with the Iligan Bloggers Society, we got to visit their mini zoo. The place is situated in a naturally landscaped area, which is I guess is good for the captive animals. They have ostriches, swans, lizards, peacocks, Japanese kois, monkeys, and of course, the requisite crocodiles.


Butterfly Sanctuary at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

A butterfly sanctuary is also located on one of the corners of the zoo. The greenhouse-like structure is netted to keep the frail beauties inside. And like most butterfly sanctuaries, the place is replete with colorful flowers; cameras went click-crazy.

Natural Cave at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

A popular activity inside the NPC Nature’s Park is their Tree Top Canopy Tour and Zipline Adventure. It’s an excellent pursuit for adrenaline junkies and those wanting to conquer their fear of heights. I’ve tried a similar activity at the Subic Tree Top Adventure before and was curious if it can equal or even surpass my experiences there.

Tree Top Adventure at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

After buckling up a ton of safety gear, we proceeded to the switchyard stairways. Climbing time.

Still panting and legs still shaking, we were herded to the treetop walk. One by one, we traversed the rope bridge; it was actually quite easy and not scary at all. Well, I guess it would be a different story if there were no safety harnesses attached to a cable above just in case we slip and fall hundreds of feet below.

Zipline at Iligan's NPC Nature's Park

The group then converged on a tree platform nestled on a trunk of a very very very tall tree—looking down is vertigo-inducing. Again, one at a time, we hooked our harnesses and went whooping across not one, but three ziplines; the last of which even crossed the raging rapids of Agus River.

Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed during the treetop walk except for the GoPro attached to a co-traveler’s protective helmet. That explains the lack of photos taken during the activity.


The Walls of Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

And then it was finally time to see the mighty Maria Cristina Falls of my Sibika at Kultura books.

Although it’s not considered as the highest waterfall in the Philippines (which during my childhood I thought it was), it still stands at an impressive height of 321 feet. It is almost two times higher than Sagada’s Bomod-Ok Falls, which is the highest waterfall I’ve seen before facing the raw beauty of Iligan City’s Maria Cristina Falls.

At Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

One thing my Sibika at Kultura teacher failed to tell us is that the Maria Cristina is a twin falls; a huge boulder along the top edge of the falls divides the cascades into two drops. Unfortunately, the second drop was nowhere to be seen during our visit. An Iliganon friend jokingly told me, we can only see Maria today.

The Walls of Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

And how is it possible that there are times when only a single drop of Maria Cristina is visible?

Well, they simply turn the water off. Turn a huge waterfall off? Yep, like a faucet they can turn both the cascades of the Maria Cristina on and off at will.

The Walls of Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

Apparently, NPC needs to control the waters of the Maria Cristina to harness its power-generating potentials. The waterfall is one of the main suppliers of electricity in Iligan City and they said that if they turn both drops of Maria Cristina on, a power shortage will occur throughout the city—hence the scheduled viewing time.

At Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

The Agus River rampages along Maria Cristina’s foot and makes it impossible to see the iconic waterfall up close. Good thing the guys at NPC allows visitors to access the viewing deck surrounding the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant. It’s not a close up, but at least we can see the whole majestic waterfalls in all its powerful glory.

Picnic at Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

Picnic tables and covered sheds are located near the banks of Agus River. And after being hypnotized by the Maria Cristina, the group decided to have our lunch there. Courtesy of Jacko’s Kan-Anan; tender pork barbeques, grilled tilapias laid on banana leaves, and kinilaw’ were promptly feasted upon.

Picnic at Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

And what better way to finish off our tour of the NPC Nature’s Park than with a plate of Filipino dishes on our hands, the gushing waters of the Agus River on our left, and the majestic view of the Maria Cristina Falls straight ahead.

At Iligan's Maria Cristina Falls

Was I mistaken in my assumption as a kid that there are only two waterfalls in the Philippines? Indeed I was, but my Sibika at Kultura book was not mistaken in including it as one of the magagandang tanawin sa Pilipinas. Iligan City’s Maria Cristina Falls is nothing short of stunning.


Iligan City Location MapMaria Cristina Falls
Address: NPC Nature’s Park, Iligan City
Contact Number: (063) 221-3988, (063) 221-9032 to 33 | E-mail:
Opening Hours: 9:00AM to 4:00PM, Daily
Entrance Fee: ₱25.00 Kids | ₱35.00 Adult
Zip Line Fee: ₱200.00 | Shuttle Ride: ₱10.00
GPS Coordinates Map: 8.183349, 124.194256


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  1. Ang gandaaaaa ng shots ng falls. Nga-nga! O_O

    1. Thank you Kath, would've been better if I could've gone closer to Maria Cristina but it's impossible :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hopefully, para makita ko na rin yung two drops ng maria cristina :)

  3. Basta maganda pa din. Mahirap din lumapit kase mababasa camera.

  4. Hi! Is Jacko's Kan-anan near the Agus River Bank? Thanks!

    1. Hi, you may check it's location map here:

  5. Hi! Can I use your photos for a blog? I will put your name on the photo credits. :)

    1. Hi Tin, I checked your blog and I like it! Sure, go ahead :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! The Maria Cristina Falls is very photogenic!