Destination: Ozamiz

Several hours to go before it’s time for me to board the ferry for Cebu. I took an afternoon bus trip from Pagadian City to Ozamiz and now I’m in a cafe anchored in one of the new hotels in the city. Sipping on ice-blended choco drink, I made a quick plan on what to do and where to go around in the largest city of Misamis Occidental.

Ozamiz City is said to be a historical, cultural and pilgrimage destination in Mindanao. The Gem of Panguil Bay, it is the gateway to the northwestern part of the southern major island. The city is blessed with a good harbor. Its port caters to passenger ferries, cargo ships and barges on the busy Mukas-Ozamiz route.

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Iligan: City of Majestic Waterfalls

This city has two nicknames. City of Majestic Waterfalls and the Industrial Center of the South.

Iligan is a highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao. Though it is located within the political boundaries of Lanao del Norte, its status as a highly urbanized city (HUC) makes it independent from the province.

It achieved its HUC status in the 1980s because of the heavy industries and companies that are located in the city. National Power Corporation built a hydroelectric power plant and tapped the waters of Maria Cristina Falls. The city also housed the largest steel plant which was the National Steel Corporation. Other manufacturing companies are tin plants, chemical plant (Mabuhay Vinyl), flour mills and cement plants.

The 1970s-1980s was the period of rapid industrial heydays of Iligan, earning the nickname as the Industrial Center of the South. Iligan was slowly displaced by Cagayan de Oro City as the economic center during the period of decline of the industrial activities, especially with the closure of the steel company during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

People of Iligan felt the need for another nickname. Something that they can be proud of, and something that will most likely to stay for the longest time. The rapid industrialization of Iligan decades ago may have been the priority of the city government before, but today, much importance is given for tourism.

Iligan is blessed with natural wonders, specifically the waterfalls. There are at least 29 known cascades in the city. The more popular ones are Maria Cristina Falls, Mimablot Falls, Tinago, Dodiongan and Abaga Falls. Iligan is now called as the City of Majestic Waterfalls.

Do come to Iligan City and experience ‘waterfall-hopping’ if there is such a word to explain it.

My ‘waterfall-hopping’ experience is something that I could share. I chose a trio of cascades starting with Maria Cristina Falls then to Tinago Falls and finally Mimbalot Falls.

How to go to Iligan? You can reach Iligan by land, sea and air.

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Bukidnon: Landlocked Highland

Bisan pa hindu a
Lalag ku’g uli` a
Dini ta Bukidnon
Kanak ha banuwa
Buntod ha matangkaw,
Kalasan…makapal,
Patag ha malu-ag,
Na tungkay madagway

–Provincial Hymn (Binukid version)

Landlocked but not isolated, Bukidnon is a vast elevated land in Mindanao. It is a province blessed with good earth and cool climate, protected by the several tribes and the mighty Kitanglad.

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Lake Apo, Guinoyoran, Valencia City

Bukidnon is my 20th province.

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