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JR Lopez Gonzales 2:59 PM 1

would never forget that summer of 2005.


I boarded the 5 A.M. bus from our little town of Tupi, in South Cotabato, and embarked on an arduous 12-hour land travel to single-handedly move to a new city. I could still vividly remember that weepy moment with my parents as I, their youngest child, left the house and finally headed off to college.

I was one of those frail teenagers who were both anxious and eager to enter the rite of passage called, “College Life”. Mustering my courage, I followed the footsteps of my siblings who also studied at the prestigious Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology. It was my turn in honoring the "family's IITian tradition" for both of my parents are products of the university in the eighties.

This blog post sprung up from my passion towards Iligan City; and why I consider it to be 'interestingly illustrious’. In this locality where there’s no sense of urgency, far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, I personally attest to the city's grandiosity and beauty.
An aerial view of Iligan City.
[Photo Courtesy of Iligan City Government Website]
Iligan City is about 480 miles southeast of Manila and could be reached by taking a plane to Cagayan de Oro City. Claiming its independence as a chartered city in 1950, it is a young but highly industrialized, bearing the trademarks of a progressive urban center in Northern Mindanao.

Here's the part where Iliganons shout: Viva, SeƱor San Miguel!
[Photo Courtesy of Iligan City Government Website]
Despite the touches of modernity, a lot of history is attached to the city. The locals, called Iliganons, believed that Iligan remained safe because of the miracles of St. Michael the Archangel. With a great predilection towards festivities, the city declared a month-long cultural celebration called the “Diyandi Festival” (diyandi means 'to celebrate'). It is concluded with the feast day of St. Michael's Pagkanaug (‘descent’) on September 29. Today, the festivities developed into a much bigger celebration with pageants, singing and dance contests, street parties, marathons, frisbee competitions, medical missions, free lechons (roasted pigs), rock concerts, and more.
Iligan's famed Tartanilla (horse-drawn carriage). An apparent remnant of the city's rich Spanish past.
[Picture taken at Pala-o with my girlfriend and the kutsero].
The city is home to 322,821 people (2010 estimate) and has a cultural mix of the Maranaos of Lanao del Sur, Higaonons of Bukidnon, and the ‘Christian’ migrant settlers from other parts of the archipelago. Cebuano is the major dialect spoken by 94% of the populace.
Iligan's tri-people are best reflected in Iligan's cultural festivities.
[Photo Courtesy of Iligan City Government Website]
You see, I was born and raised in an Ilonggo-speaking community and it was here that I learned to speak Cebuano. After days of chit-chats, I learned to incorporate the distinct Iliganon words ‘jud’ (added in affirmations) and ‘hulos’ (borrow) to my vocabulary; not to mention aurally eliminating my Ilonggo's melodious accent. Thanks to the friendliness of the Iliganons, I was able to gain new friends in no time.
Timoga have pools where every Olympian can be happy about.
[Photo Courtesy of Iligan City Government Website]
To beat the heat, me and my friends would dip to the pristine waters of the Timoga Springs at Barangay Buru-un. Sometimes, we would jog from our boardinghouses to Barangay Pala-o. We would walk on to the reflexology walk and hike up for our early morning exercise. The Buhanginan Hill is where the City Hall is, and nearby's the marvelous Anahaw Open Amphitheater.
Anahaw Amphitheater. One of the biggest open amphitheaters
in Mindanao, reminds me of the Roman Colosseum.
[Photo Courtesy of Iligan City Government Website]
The city offers a lot of things to do. If you’re keen and daring climber, you may trek up Iligan City’s towering Mount Agad-agad. The lofty mountain offers a panoramic view of the city reachable by a three-hour hike from its base. You may also head off to Iligan City's First Zipline which is located just few kilometers outside the city. Spelunkers, on the other hand, should visit the eight-cluster caves at Barangay Hindang. It also has a 40-foot falls perfect after the tedious cave explorations.
The Iliganon Discipline.
Iliganon pedestrians strictly follow the 'no jaywalking' policy in the city premises.
[Photo courtesy of Jed Reyes; used with permisison]
Ultimately, any post about Iligan City is not complete without mentioning the its claim to fame: the 23 various waterfalls. The most famous Iligan City landmark is the Maria Cristina Falls which provides electricity for the entire Mindanao Island. For a heads-up, the picturesque 320-feet waterfalls can best be viewed on Saturdays and Sundays at about 11 A.M.

The Tinago Falls is nestled in a deep gorge, cascading beautifully into the azure basin. Miniature falls also trickle alongside the main falls which create a wall of feathery waters. Another personal favorite is the 90-foot Mimbalut falls at Barangay Buru-un.

For recent developments, the local government is pushing for the promotion of Iligan's tourism. Indeed, a laudable move in order to counter the bad press portrayals of Mindanao in the dailies.
Tinago Falls, Maria Cristina Falls, and Mimbalut Falls.
If you still don't like these three, you can still choose from the other TWENTY waterfalls.
Nonetheless, my experiences for the past seven years (and counting) will never be enough to explain the city's beauty, mystery, and natural wonders. So I suggest you take the soonest trip to my illustrious Iligan... for its magnificence awaits you.




Photo Credits:

All photos without citation are personally taken by me.

"No Jaywalking". Lomo image courtesy of Jed Reyes Photography.
"Iligan City Port", "Diyandi Festival","Timoga Spring Pool", and "Anahaw Amphitheater". Photos taken from the Iligan City Website's Photo Gallery.

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1 comments Interestingly Illustrious Iligan!

  1. Great promotional article for Iligan City! Nice work. :)

    ReplyDelete

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