Sunday, 4 December 2011

Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City

Posted by admin at 1:27 am
Maria Cristina Falls is a waterfall of the Agus River on the island of Mindanao. It is sometimes called the "twin falls" as the flow is separated by a rock at the brink of the waterfall.[1] It is a landmark of Iligan City, nicknamed the City of Majestic Waterfalls, because of the presence of more than 20 waterfalls in the city.[2] It is located 9.3 kilometers away southwest of the city proper at the boundaries of Barangays Maria Cristina, Ditucalan, and Buru-un.[2] Well-known for its natural beauty and grandeur, the 320 - feet (98 meters) high waterfall[3] is also the primary source of electric power for the city's industries, being harnessed by the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.

Agus VI hydroelectric plant

Maria Cristina Falls powers the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant, one of the several hydroelectric plants that harness Agus River. The power plant has a 200 MW potential capacity[4] supplied by a water flow of about 130 cubic meters per second.[2]
Agus VI is operated by the National Power Corporation and was commissioned on May 31, 1953.[5] Under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Mindanao Super Region development plan, the Agus VI is planned to undergo a 1.856-billion-peso upgrading project.

Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City is the second highest falls in the Philippines. It is a waterfall of the Agus River on the Island of Mindanao and is a landmark of Iligan City. Because of the presence of more than 20 waterfalls, Iligan City is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls.

Maria Cristina Falls is situated 9.3 kilometers away southwest of the Iligan City proper in the boundaries of Barangay Maria Cristina, Ditucalan and Buru-un. It’s a 320 feet high waterfall and the main source of power in the city’s industries which is brought under control by the Agus VI Hydroelectric plant operated by National Power Corporation. It’s not just supplying Iligan City’s power but it goes beyond other provinces generating 70% of Mindanao’s electricity. This means that during these days of El Niño, Mindanao is greatly affected with rotating brownout.

There are several names associated with Maria Cristina Falls. Some would call it “Twin Falls” because the flow is separated by a rock at the threshold of the waterfall. Other people tagged it as “now-you-see-now-you-don’t falls”. Wondering why? That’s because National Power Corporation operates the man-made controls of the waterfall which is important for producing electricity. 90% of the water from the falls is being utilized for hydropower plant but in spite of that its cascades are still alluring and splendid, attracting both the local and foreign tourists.

Maria Cristina Falls is open for public viewing during Sundays and other special occasions as these are the days the plant closes for one hour, allowing the river to run free and return to its natural split-double waterfall. Lisa and I together with our friends went to see the falls. We went up to NPC’s viewing deck at the 3rd floor of the building. All of us were amazed of the falls despite the fact that it has decrease the flow of the waterfall because of El Niño. It continues to mesmerize us as it reach to the pool plunging some of its water to the people in the viewing deck. Swimming in Maria Cristina Falls is strictly prohibited because of the uncontrollable strong current of the water.

At the NPC viewing deck, you could also find a small glass room full of pictures of Maria Cristina Falls and the hydroelectric plant as it evolved through the years. It also has an interesting story on how Maria Cristina Falls got its name. It all started because of the two sisters named Maria and Cristina who lived near the falls. Below is the whole story:

The Legend of Maria Cristina Falls
Once a upon a time, Lake Lanao in hands of Omaca-An, A giant monster, eating human beings and animals and even fishes in the water. There were thus a few people around the lake because of the monster that ate everything he saw. Many years passed when Rajah Indarapatra came with his beloved brother Rajah Solaiman. Rajah Solaiman was the first to come and he fought the giant but was killed. Rajah Indarapatra followed, looking for his brother Solaiman. Indarapatra encountered the giant Omaca-an and killed the giant man eater. On land, he looked for the ring of his brother by asking the small and b ig animals he met. On water, however, he went swwimming everyday and gathered both big and small stones beneath the water. He stayed for several years along the shores of the lake, but still he did not find the ring. He constructed an irrigation system that went very far and covered a big distance which later became a river (now the Agus River). The river had a portion which dropped down a deep ravine now the Maria Cristina Falls.

Many years passed, and there lived in Maria Cristina Falls two loving sisters, namely : Maria the younger and Cristina the elder. These two beautful ladies loved each other very much. Maria gace everything she had to Cristina, her beloved sister. Many People knew they were the ones living near the falls. They also loved their neighbor as they loved themselves. Datus and Sultans came to ask for their hands in marraige but the sister refused. There was a man, however, son of a prominent Sultan living somewhere beside the Lake Lanao. For many years he was unhappy because he could not find a suitable partner. He romaed around the lake until he saw the two maidens of the falls. He fell in love with the two sisters but the two sisters did not know whom he really loved. Many days passed and Maria dicovered that she loved him very much, which made her very sad and she went to the top of the falls and jumped. When Cristina found out the Maria was dead, she likewise went to the top of the falls and threw herself down the deep ravine. When the handsome young man discovered the situation and found the bodies, he burried them carefully under the falls. After the death of the two sisters, he never married until also died. He also named the falls, Maria Cristina after the two sister he loved.

National Power Corporation has just recently developed the National Power Nature Park. They now offer zipline adventure and rock climbing. There are also tables and chairs for those who want to have some picnic while viewing the falls. There’s also a souvenir area where you can find printed t-shirts and other items of Maria Cristina Falls. Other proposed amenities are still in progress.

Getting to Maria Cristina Falls is easy. You can take a Buru-un line jeepney for P12.00 from the Iligan City port area to Agus Bridge and from there you can walk the rest of the way for about half an hour. It’s a good opportunity for brisk walking. Or you can take a cab which will cost you P100.00 to P150.00.


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