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Iligan is a small city located on the northern shores of Mindanao island in the Philippines.
City of Majestic Waterfalls
The outer areas of Iligan contain 23 waterfalls and the city as a result is known as as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. These waterfalls ar a major atrraction for ecotourists who enjoy exploring these beautiful, uncrowded and upspoilt nature spots.
Here are the best known of the waterfalls:
- Maria Cristina Falls: The most famous of Iligan's waterfalls. Located on the Agus River about 9 km from the center of Iligan, these falls are 320 feet (98 meters) high. They are Iligan's top tourist attraction and in addition produce hydroelectricity for the city via the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.
- Tinago Falls: Hidden in a deep ravine, they are accessible via 500 descending steps down a winding staircase. Icy cold waters cascading into a deep calm pool of dark blue water. Under the falls is a small cave. The falls are 420 feet high.
- Ababa Falls: These falls are twice as high as the Maria Cristina Falls. They are quite isolated and are home to endangered species such as the Philippine Eagle, the Rufous Hornbill, the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox and the Philippine Flying Lemur.
- Hindang Falls: These twin-tiered falls are 40 feet high. They have a lagoon that is suitable for swimming.
- Limunsudan Falls: These two-tiered are 870 feet high and are claimed to be the Philippines's highest waterfalls. Located about 55 km from the city, these falls are very difficult to reach, requiring a two day trek from Iligan City.
Other Tourist Attractions
- Hindang Caves: a cluster of 6-8 caves, each with a narrow entrance and deep chambers.
- Mount Agad-Agad: With a height of approximately 1600 feet above sea level, Mt Agad-Agad is suitable for trekking, mountain climbing and camping.
Iligan has a form of transportation called tartanillas that dates from the Spanish colonial era. Tartanillas are horse-drawn carriages that ply the main streets of the city.
In September every year Iligan hosts a month-long fiesta known as the Kasadya Merrymaking and Street Dancing. One of the features of this fiesta is the kasadya street dancing, a kind of ritual dance offered as thanksgiving to Iligan's patron saint, Saint Michael.
The fiesta concludes on September 29 (the feast day of St Michael).
The People of Iligan
Iligan's population was 322,821 in 2010. Most of the population is Christian (and most of those were Catholics) with a sizeable Muslim majority.
The main language spoken was Cebuano (about 93% of the population are native speakers) which reflects the proximity of Cebu island to the north. The rest of the population are native speakers of Tagalog, Maranao, Hiligayon, Ilocano, Chavacano (a Spanish creole) and Waray Waray. Most people also speak and understand English.
Iligan is also known as the Industrial Center of the South. It is home to industries such as steel, tinplate, cement and flour manufacturing. As mentioned above, the area also generates hydro-electricity.
In the pre-Spanish era the Iligan area was settled by native sea dwellers. These people were later subsumed by Visayan immigrants from the island of Panglao.
Next came an invasion by the Moluccan king of Ternate.
In 1565 the Spanish navigator Legazpi arrived in Dapitan and Christianized the inhabitants, who in turn took Christianity to the village of Bayug that was located about 4 km from the current Poblacion of Iligan.
In 1642 the Spanish constructed a stone fort called St Francis Xavier, a place where the people of Iligan could take refuge from marauding bandits. Because of flood damage, this fort was later replaced by another fort known as Fort Victoria (also known as Cota de Iligan).
In 1850 yet another fort was built by the Spanish - again because of flood damage to the previous structure. The population of Iligan was then moved from the old site (near the mouth of the Tubod River) to the present site.
In 1900, after their defeat of the Spanish in the Spanish-American War, the Americans occupied Iligan.
During the Second World War Iligan was occupied by the Japanese (in the years 1942-44).
Iligan is now located geographically in the Philippine province of Lanao del Norte but it is governed independently from that province.
Getting There and Getting Away
Iligan can be reached from Manila, Cebu and several Mindanao cities by ferry. There are also regular air connections with Manila, Cebu, Zamboanga City and Davao City.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)