Finding out about a waterfall unofficially tagged as the “Niagara of the Philippines” made me want to visit the Tinuy-an Falls during my 12-day trip in Northeastern Mindanao.
I was curious to see how it measured up, if its cascades were really comparable to the famed Niagara Falls … at the very least, to see a waterfall in the Philippines that had a more prominent width. I’ve never seen one since most of the waterfalls in the country have like a vertical orientation.
The Tinuy-an Falls was located in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur and since Bislig was majorly out of the way from the rest of my itinerary route, I made it my first stop after arriving in Butuan City.
I reached Butuan by flying from “Iloilo to Cebu” then “Cebu to Butuan City.” AirPhil Express operates Iloilo-Cebu flights 3x daily and Cebu-Butuan flights 2x daily.
Butuan to Mangagoy, Bislig City
Bislig is the biggest city in Surigao del Sur. I got very confused when I was at the terminal in Butuan and couldn’t find any buses or vans with “Bislig” on their signboard. Turns out, everyone there was more accustomed calling the place “Mangagoy”, which is a barangay of Bislig.
Brgy. Mangagoy is the most populated area and commercial center of the city. Bislig City also has a new(er) urban district in the making, where most of the government offices are located. This newer urban area is what probably comes to mind when someone mentions “Bislig.”
Since we landed in Butuan in the afternoon and it takes around 3 hours land travel to Bislig City, I had to spend the night in town. It was already dark when I arrived in Bislig City … in Mangagoy specifically. I hailed a tricycle and asked the driver to take me to a “cheap place to sleep in town”. He took me to Casa Babano.
Wandered around town and found a small homey eatery. Ordered chicken inasal / grilled chicken with unli rice (P60), chicken skin (P50), coke … yes I was that hungry.
Casa de Babano
Casa de Babano had an aircon room with double bed, private TB, and free breakfast for P400 a night. I’d be interested to know if there are cheaper alternatives in Bislig :)
Getting to Tinuy-an Falls
Walked to the market and approached one of the habal-habal drivers. He agreed to take me to Tinuy-an Falls and then to the van terminal for P300 (including waiting time). Travel time was around 45 minutes to an hour per way.
Tinuy-an Falls of Bislig City, Surigao del Sur
The caretakers of the Tinuy-an Falls charged P10 entrance fee for visitors (I heard it’s now P20). There were some developments on the grounds like picnic tabes, a sari-sari store, a small playground, a wooden bridge, and even a floating inflatable raft so visitors could get close to the main cascade.
Niagara? or uniquely Tinuy-an?
Located in Brgy. Burboanan (Bislig City, Surigao del Sur), Tinuy-an Falls was composed of three major cascades measuring approximately 95 meters wide and 55 metres (180 ft) high. There was another smaller cascade near the entrance.
Even though it rained the day before, there wasn’t as much water flow as I would’ve hoped / seen in photos :(
The Tinuy-an Falls was really beautiful, one of the most picturesque I’ve seen in the Philippines … but I was expecting more, to be honest, especially since people (and Wikipedia) have been tagging it as a “Niagara” of sorts.
Spent the remaining time to take souvenir photos and wander around.
Bislig to Butuan City
The habal-habal driver dropped me off at the “Batchelor” bus/van terminal along the highway at 11:55am. Waited for almost 30 minutes for the van to fill up. I sat at the front seat so I could take photos along the way.
I wanted to visit the Enchanted River in Hinatuan so bad after seeing photos of its alluring deep blue waters online … but I still have a lot of places to go and limited time. All the more reasons to come back!
The view during the van ride was only interesting for the first 30 minutes (up to Hinatuan) and then things got unremarkable. I wondered what else was there to explore in that area.