Tinago Falls. Waterfall in Mindanao, Philippines

Tinago Falls

Waterfall in Mindanao, Philippines

20130515-DSC_4605.jpg Photo © jojo nicdao

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Tinago Falls

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20130515-DSC_4543-Edit.jpg - Tinago Falls
20130515-DSC_4543-Edit.jpg - Tinago Falls. Photo by jojo nicdao
Tinago Falls is one of the main tourist attractions in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (Wikipedia
	Article) in Mindanao. Currently, there are 23 waterfalls within Iligan, dubbing it the City of Majestic Waterfalls by the people. The name of the falls was derived from the Tagalog word “Tinago”, which means “hidden.” This was the word locals used to describe how the breathtaking, natural wonder was hidden in a deep ravine within the forest of the province. The water flowing down Tinago Falls comes from one main source, the Lanao Lake in Baloi. The lake also supplies water to the 320-feet Maria Christina Falls, which is where the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant gets its power.

Legend and Folklore

There is a popular legend in Iligan about how Tinago Falls came to be. A very long time ago, Sultan Agok and his wife ruled the land with greed and usurped power. While the queen was pregnant, she was visited by a beggar asking for help. The queen refused and exiled the beggar, who turned out to be an enchantress in disguise. The enchantress cursed the unborn child, she told the sultan and his wife that the baby will be born ugly, but the couple didn't believe it.
When the baby was born, they found out that the enchantress’ curse was true. The couple named their child “Tin-ag”, or “hidden face” and hid their baby in a cave to avoid ridicule from people. Eventually, the child grew up and wandered out of her cave. She was simply amazed by everything she saw outside.

The enchantress saw Tin-ag and made her an offer. She said that she can transform her into something of great beauty. Tin-ag accepted the offer without hesitation and became the beautiful Tinago Falls.

 - Tinago Falls
Tinago Falls. . Photo by jojo nicdao


Tourists who get to see Tinago Falls for the first time will be mesmerized by how magnificently the waters cascade down through a huge freshwater lagoon. The waterfalls also runs through the cliffs and lush vegetation like a fresh white curtain. The height of the highest waterfalls in Tinago is about 73 meter, with several smaller falls around it. The water drops into a deep blue-green natural basin pool, which is perfect for swimming and cliff jumping. The entrance fee is only ₱10 ($0.22), and these fees are used for the maintenance of the attraction.
Cottages and tables for picnics can be rented for only ₱100 ($2.20) to ₱300 ($6.60). Life Jackets are also available at ₱20 ($0.44) per piece.
A bamboo raft is also available for only ₱10 ($0.22) per person, these raft can take tourists to the small cavern tucked beneath the waterfalls.

Getting There

20130515-DSC_4587 -
	Tinago Falls
20130515-DSC_4587 - Tinago Falls. Photo by jojo nicdao
If you are travelling to Tinago Falls from other parts of the Philippines, the first step is by reaching Cagayan de Oro City by plane. Upon arriving at the Laguindingan International Airport (the primary airport that caters to both Cagayan de Oro City residents and Iligan City residents), you can ride a van to Iligan City. The distance from the airport to Iligan City is approximately 62 kilometers, or about an hour of travel time.

When you reach Iligan City (or your hotel), take a taxi ride to the Southbound Bus and Jeepney Terminal. Since TInago Falls is situated between Iligan City and the municipality of Linamon, you can take a bus ride to Ozamis City and have the driver drop you off at the intersection to Tinago Falls in Barangay Buru-un (there will be a big sign beside the highway indicating that you are in the right place). When you get off the bus, ride a habal-habal (rental motorbike) to the main entrance of the falls. The fare for the habal-habal is about ₱75 ($1.65).

From the entrance, tourists have to walk down 500 steps to the main area of Tinago Falls. People are advised to take their time when going down, especially the fainthearted. There are also no railings on some parts of the descent so tourists should be extra careful.


Although some parts of Mindanao, especially the southwest region and the Sulu archipelago are still red zones for foreigners, the northern region of Mindanao and Iligan are safe for travel.

Travel Tips

  • There are no restaurants in the main area of the falls, be sure to bring enough food to last your entire stay in Tinago Falls. Although there are vendors in the area, the stuff they sell to tourists are limited to snacks and refreshments only.
  • There are also no accommodations and electricity in the main area so the ideal time to visit Tinago is during the morning. It is also important that you leave before sundown to avoid any inconveniences.
  • Since there is a steep, 500-steps staircase between the entrance and the waterfalls, be sure to pack light to avoid exhaustion.
  • Iligan City is also well-known for its delicious delicacies and its other landmarks, such as the Maria Christina Falls. You can visit all of the attractions in the city by getting a day tour at your hotel or at a local travel agency.

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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Oct 25, 2014

Pictures of Tinago Falls

20130515-DSC_4651 - Tinago Falls
20130515-DSC_4651 - Tinago Falls. Photo by jojo nicdao


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