There are 2 bus terminals in Cagayan de Oro and if I wanted to go to Iligan I have to get to Bulua terminal, jeepneys heading to "Patag" in the corner of Jollibee is where I waited, I hesitated at first taking jeepney as I have a big backpack and don't want to be an inconvenience to the other passengers, but they actually help me pull the pack all the way in and it's cheap, only 15 pesos I think. We made it there and found a deluxe bus to Pagadian stopping in Iligan, I saw an a/c bus but I know it's more expensive and you can't open the windows, 85 pesos to Iligan, bargain! It was a sunny day and we followed the coastline it got cloudy when we approached Iligan but quickly turned to bright sun again later in the day. At the terminal I hired a taxi, 80 pesos to Rene's Pension house on Roxas Ave. My taxi is airconditioned and the driver has a very bad b.o.! I suffocated through the trip, I tried to open the windows but the handle is broken!
I took an a/c room for 580 pesos, way out of my
the small but beautiful "Dalipuga falls"
budget but they have wifi in those rooms so I will suck it up for now maybe couple days then move to the cheaper fan room with no tv for 350 pesos. Immediately I asked the staff how to get to Tinago falls, she told me a jeepney just outside the pension house that says Buru-un should stop at the junction/crossing for Tinago. It was maybe a 30 minute trip only because the driver is looking for fare and is rather slow, he dropped me off at the junction and I saw the motorbikes to hire, I bought some snacks, lanzones, junk food and some seaweed salad! Well that's what they have there so.. I balked when one driver told me 50 pesos for the one way trip, told him the lady vendor said did try hard but the swim is excellent despite the cold water. Odd thing is there is a footbridge that to get across you have to pay another 5 pesos cause it's privately owned! so the Waterfall pool is actually divided in 2! Jonas told me there's a way around it, literally, if you swim over to the other side you don't pay! This is one
of my favorite waterfalls, the swimming pool is massive and it would have been more fun if you come here with friends. We chilled there for 2 hours or so then we headed to the other falls. Hike up is a challenge.
To Mimbalut falls is the same, we go through a village, we arrived at a stream fed by the waterfall. There's kids playing around, a woman doing laundry and a guy washing his motorbike in the stream. There are cement table on the water and so it will be cool to have a picnic there, the water cooling off your feet. i followed the stream until i see the waterfall hidden on the side of a hill, beautiful! only 90 feet high but is located in a lush jungle setting. Then we went to see where the stream continues on, a 10 minute ride brought us to Iruna river, hardly anyone lives here but there is a dirt road to get there maybe people come to picnic and wash their clothes as I see some drying among rocks on the other side of the river. Having had my fill we went back to town, had a quick
lunch and I went back to city proper.
Chilled a bit in the hotel then later took a walk to town, it's very busy and crowded I checked out Gaisano Mall then just walked around to a city park. Night time had dinner at Tita Fannie's restaurant and bought balut for later!! Woke up to an early morning call to prayer, I thought I was back in Yemen as I jolted out of bed, Iligan has about maybe 20% of it's population to be Muslims which explains it. they have lots other type of churches here as well mostly Christians, i.e. Jehovah's witness, Latter day Saints, Iglesia ni Cristo, Adventists, really mix of different beliefs.
My friend from work back in Boston, Nharlyn is from Iligan and she hooked me up with her brother to meet up so he can show me around the city.I got a call in the am at the hotel and he agreed to meet me up around 1pm. We went for lunch at Tatay's restaurant, delicious seafood fare i could barely walk when we were done, heavy tummy! From there we stop by a hotel called Famous hotel they have 2 locations, one
path down to the waterfall
next to the church is quieter so we checked out the rooms looks clean, fro 400 pesos, you get a/c, wifi, toilet and cable tv, bargain! I will move here tomorrow, nice people and very secure 24 hour security.
Then we stopped at the Municipal hall, the capitol is up on a hill away from the bustle of downtown and they have a cool amphitheatre here where performances are held also meeting de avance during elections among other things. It was drizzling a bit and when it stopped it was quite muggy. We decided to go to Initao to see the beach or the ocean so we drove back to Misamis Oriental, first we stopped by Nharlyn's parent's house to say hi, they are still young looking! Very friendly welcoming me warmly to their city.
Next morning I checked out of Renee's Pension House and I got picked up by Rik and took me to Famous Pension house at Tibanga like I said they have 2 locations this one, the original seems to be the better choice, this is cheaper than Renee's and has all the amenities, wifi, a/c, cable tv, en suite toilet, for 400 pesos. When Rik
left me I asked the staff how to get to another waterfall called"Dodiongan Falls" in the town of Bonbonon, the guard and the reception staff discouraged me to go there because Maranao people live there and they might harass me and stuff, they are instilling fear in me and this is somewhat related to the Muslim-Christian tension here and I really am just a tourist and have nothing to do with their conflict but good sense told me to skip it if the locals are wary themselves, I have been to Muslim countries and I found the people friendly and unintimidating, but this is not my home turf so I decided to go somewhere else.
I made the decision to head to the triple falls of Dalipuga(this is all in the tourist brochure handed over by DOT office in town) The day guard in the pension house gave me directions, so I followed them, a short walk to the main road to take a Dalipuga bound jeep, well wherever you are in town just ask around where to get the jeep from and they can tell you. 15 pesos all the way to Centennial Park in Dalipuga, I went
cross this bridge and pay 5 pesos, solution swim around it!
for a walk a bit in the park and the coastline then head back to the hi way and asked the local eateries across the road how to get to the falls, they told me go back and ask the jeep to let me off at the Kalubihon crossing! 6 pesos later I was dropped off at a junction, where I found several motorbikes for hire(habel habel) I told them where I want to go but not all knows how to get to all of them, luckily one guy does as he grew up in the area, Joel my driver and guide promised to take me to the falls namely Dalipuga, Pampam, and Kalubihon Falls.
We drove up to the village of Kalubihon and he left his motorbike at a waiting shed, he grew up in the area, so he knows everyone. We went up and down hills over and past coconut forests, this is off the beaten path for me not a lot if any tourists come here really and I feel like a pioneer! Joel is a nice humble guy, growing up they used to come to this area to cool off, he said there are several
waterfalls and swimming/water holes that have no names and he will show them all to me. I can see small paths some unused for a long time some patches are slippery but we were rewarded by getting to the first waterfall the tiny Dalipuga falls, I consider this as just a swimming hole but its quite nice, locals come here on weekends to chill, I was alone and since I have no swimmers with me I went and swam in the buff, the water is refreshing not too cold but clean and clear, banana and bamboo trees surrounding us it's so tranquil.
No time to waste, I quickly got dressed and Joel took me through lush bamboo forests and we followed the stream for awhile, I was concerned about leeches but there was none, he saw a small snake which I freaked out but good thing I did not see, he said he almost stepped on it. Along the way a few water holes, all picturesque, the path is slippy got to be careful, but was rewarded by getting to an unnamed falls which I now named Joel Falls, the name of the guide, this one is beautiful, I
skinny dipped again. Then a few meters away we arrived at Pampam Falls, this one is the best so far the swimming hole is deep and bigger but we did not swim here we went up and took fotos of this beautiful waterfalls then followed the path of the stream from above along the way discovering more swimming holes. Joel said when he was a kid they used to gather river prawns here and they were plentiful but now has disappeared because people use poison to bring them out of their holes, a chemical used for spraying mango trees I was told.
More waterholes, enjoyable trek up the jungly path, some areas muddy and slippy I struggled to get my footing since my sandals were crap! We were aiming for Kalubihon Falls which in the foto looks marvelous but I was disappointed to see it was just a trickle now, Joel said when he was younger this was bigger but now not much, it's located in an area that looks like a cave and the rocks are very slippery so i took my sandals off, it still nice there is small swimming hole below but underwhelming, I expect to
me swimming alone
see a grander falls to end this 2 hour hike through the jungle, but we just followed the stream up towards the forest and there is another swim hole, last chance to swim then we went back, we have to get up the hill, a bit tough but was happy I did a good hike to see this off the beaten path jewel, only locals know this and though they are in the brochure, DOT did not give out a clear directions how to get here, see below for my instructions if you fancy doing this 2 hour trek, believe me you will be rewarded by scenic paths and cool swimming holes.
Back to the town of Kalubihon, we tried to find "tuba" my favorite moonshine but there was none so we drove further down until we found one, I bought a half gallon for a mere 20 pesos and we brought it to Joel's house where we went drinking and I met his family, wife and kids they also invited me for lunch and it was a good meal, fried fish and squid and spicy sauce! After finishing the "tuba" Joel dropped me off at the junction and
me with my motorbike driver, Jonas
I gave him 250 pesos(just over $5) for his hard work, though he initially asked for 200. 1-4 people I think can share that cost and he mentioned maybe he will add 50 pesos per head when it's more than 4, you can't go by yourself the path is known only to locals, for a meager rate it well worth it.
***Note: the triple falls: Dalipuga, Pampam,Kalubihon at Dalipuga town:
-Guide for Dalipuga trek(3 waterfalls): Joel Magsayo cell #: 09067719776 or 09268682126(text or call him beforehand to arrange a meet up, really nice guy and can be trusted, he knows the terrain, off the beaten path, well worth it!)He charged 200 pesos for the half day hike but am sure is negotiable.
-Directions: take a Dalipuga jeep from town and asked to be dropped off at the Kalubihon crossing, there motorbikes await, better to hire a knowledgable guide like Joel
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