Chasing Pugaan Waterfalls in The City of Waterfalls

I’m writing this post despite the aches in my muscles and the creaking in my bones which was totally worth the trouble because I definitely had a blast with this adventure. I found this one through a friend who posted about a waterfall trekking event at Brgy. Puga-an. Now come to think of it Iligan has been called the “City of Waterfalls” with it boasting at about 23 waterfalls. Also there’s a video at the end if you want to see how it really went!

Iligan is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area. There are about 23 waterfalls in the city. The most famous as well as the city’s major landmark, is the Maria Cristina Falls. It is also the primary source of electric power of the city.

Hopefully we would get to see more than 30 kinds of falls all in various sizes with the largest one at about an estimated length of 20ft. This would be a perfect opportunity to go nature tripping. Now it was noted beforehand that the difficulty level was for intermediate climbers. I guess it’s time I put the  previous wallclimbing experiences to good use!DSC_0021 We started early around 7AM once we assembled at the local Gym. Our guide was Sir Bobby who was an experienced trail runner and a photographer as well (credits to the photos with me in it all goes to him). There were only eight of us in total gathered there. I was expecting a lot of people though considering that the opportunity was really eye-catching! I learned a thing or two during that trek and there’s a couple of tips I can share here.


Before we could actually start our trail we had to take a 3km uphill walk (credits to Jeffrey for this photo) which made me sweat like crazy considering I haven’t been doing anything active lately. There were several kids ahead of us and It was unnerving seeing how the local school kids could easily run without breaking a sweat. Talk about fitness.

Before your trek:

  1. Hydrate your body 3 days prior to your trip.
  2. Exercise (cardio!)
  3. Make sure you bring about 2 liters of water.
  4. Fill your water bottle and place it in the freezer the night before, the ice melts along the way resulting in an ice cold drink.
  5. Prepare your stuff and pack light.
  6. Get a good night’s sleep
  7. Eat the most important meal of the day, breakfast!

11937035_10153078790637724_8931355571748591519_o What to bring:

  1. Resealable bags for your gadgets and things that you don’t want to get wet
  2. Lunch!
  3. Snacks like energy bars or candy.
  4. First aid meds (just the basics)
  5. Water. A 1.5L would suffice because staying hydrated is crucial.
  6. A trusty towel.

After that we took a turn to the right and followed the trail which led us to a cornfield. DSC_0017 It was a bit tricky since we were going slightly downhill. Here’s our first waterfall! 11896488_10153078791042724_3441800162641214647_o It’s got a cave underneath! 11947705_10153078791692724_7326368450700793639_o We then went back up to our path and proceeded to head to another direction. We followed a stream which led us to the start of our challenges. The following photos will speak for themselves. 11894455_10153078791757724_7898246477629707918_o Teamwork is key when you’re travelling in groups. Please don’t hesitate to help one another and always make sure nobody gets left behind.11930969_10153078792107724_2941690852278243216_o During your trek:

  1. Do as what your guide says and follow them.
  2. Slather on that sunscreen! The higher the Spf, the better it is.
  3. Wear appropriate clothing. (something I may have failed to do?)
  4. Don’t wear white unless you love bleaching laundry.
  5. Take lots of photos!
  6. Have fun.

10295482_10153078792272724_9063246048823607224_o Crossing through streams. Thank goodness the weather was ever so kind to us! Is this what you would call a…..groupie? 11951515_10206084942776230_8311190634237254362_o Here’s a waterfall! I don’t think this one has a name yet. 11937467_10153078792462724_8450933758950559723_o Passed by this little stream with a hobbit sized cave underneath. There were two of them as you can see another dark hole to the left of this photo. 11895040_10153078793052724_2242374247597913514_o That’s me struggling to pass through a grass filled path in all smiles. I was looking forward to what was ahead! I tell you this was no walk in the park.11205100_10153078793217724_2492086042108976695_n Which a was a waterfall in a cave which fit a person to climb up! That’s me scrambling to climb up while basically not trying to slip. 11921810_10153078794007724_3647906453098118685_o Which we had to climb a rock formation just to get to the next falls. Note to self: Wear a hat! DSC_0039 Here it is! Partially hidden and very secluded. This was what they called the “secret falls”DSC_0059 It was deep enough to go for a dive with our shoes on! I mean we all had our shoes on through most of the time. I was extremely cautious of getting leeches, good thing there weren’t any there and the waters had guppy-kals (askal guppies) in them. 11703470_10153078795127724_8546518583358566664_o That’s us heading to the 5th falls and that’s Bok. I invited him to join us as a chance for him to get out of his personal cave. 11895166_10153078795242724_591731810569878621_o More rock formations to which you had to slowly walk to the side. I avoided my bag getting wet with the camera and all. 11926072_10153078795602724_3312832840854963078_o Waterfall climbing right beside it! Always step on the path with the flowing water because that’s the part that isn’t covered with algae therefore isn’t that slippery. You’d be surprised how non-slippery the surface is. 11908942_10153078795742724_8891148241437651351_o After that climb we got to view another new waterfall and this was the one where you had to raise your backpack up to your head just to cross and get to the other side. I was extremely careful at this stage. Better me than my camera! That’s me contemplating on how a tragedy it would be if it did. Also, the adorable couple you see here in this photo are Yobz and Leia slash “Peng” (peace! ^_^). 10655405_10153078796267724_8363503458884151904_o   Another waterfall to swim in! Leia was actually the one who hosted the trip. 11953339_10153078796237724_7936634807358761095_o Just hastily climbing through this one. I did try to ask for the names of each respective waterfall but sadly most of them had no names yet! 11942195_10153078796562724_6773811804877038613_o A happy looking bunch under the afternoon sun with (from left to right) Sir Bobby, Eli, Jeffrey, Me, Mico, Boknoy, Yobz and Leia!DSC_0094 Someone’s assessing the situation on this particular waterfall. We climbed over this one too! DSC_0095 Trying to catch our breath! 11958114_10153078796647724_7601538741183483363_o Moving onwards, here’s another baby falls! Leia and I have only been acquaintances before the trip and i’m glad to say i’ve made friends today! She’s also a blogger to which you can check out her site here. 11248947_10153078796792724_6091295858571655397_o The nth waterfall to climb and I can honestly say I have started to lost count. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take photos of the itsy bitsy ones. 🙁 11958234_10153078797087724_5453265355280001542_o Several meters ahead of  the previous one we reach another waterfall in between a narrow rock formation. There totally was no room for any lady-like demeanor if you wanted to move ahead safely. DSC_0104 Another waterfall after just a couple of steps and we decided to take our lunch here. Take note to bring your trash with you. As you may have noticed there was naught even a single piece of plastic in the area. Let’s keep the area the way as it is. 11896317_10153078797312724_7249426437107983809_o

Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.

That’s Mico and Sir Bobby climbing up barehanded. We went back to several waterfalls and had to rappel our way down on them. Upon taking another turn we find out that the highest one has sadly dried out because of El Niño (damn you)Our planned 30+ falls was cut short to 20+ something. But that definitely did not sadden our mood considering that’s already a lot of waterfalls to see in just 8 hours!

Lost in the mountain. Pls send chopper to the mountains of Pugaan.

A photo posted by Bobby Timonera (@bobtimo) on

We decided to take a detour and ended up lost for a couple of minutes only to find  out they got 3G signal and an instagram post to prove it! (Don’t mind the derpness) 11885784_10153078798342724_7129062777652460448_o We then landed in a vegetable plantation of eggplants, papayas, alugbati and bitter gourd and some basil? 11892297_10206084914255517_4876704408579092441_o A happy mango family tree! What a swell bunch of people. 11950445_10153078799062724_3416824623419107503_o The whole trip lasted for 8 hours and we walked a total of 12km (it would have been 15km if we hadn’t taken the motorcycle ride at the end, that one costs at about 30php per head). 11999162_10204561483137770_75637618_o That’s our travel route. Before I end this post I just wanted to congratulate everyone who went with us and completed the trek. Nothing could have prepared us for it (unless you’re a long time fitness fanatic). I look forward to joining on the second trip! Iligan is definitely the place to go to if you’re up for an eco-tour adventure! I think I deserve a whole day’s rest after this.

Here’s a vlog by Yobz and Leia!


Here are more tales by my companions:


8 replies
  1. theyangone
    theyangone says:

    Thank you for reading! You’re quite lucky to have amazing works of nature at your place. 😀

  2. theyangone
    theyangone says:

    Hello! The sights and sounds were breathtaking that we totally lost count of the falls there! :3


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  2. […] for a long time. This time, our group which was composed of the new friends I made from our Pugaan waterfall trekking had new faces wanting to go to new places. There were about 15 of us this […]

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