Threading Pieces of Love and Admiration, The Fortress City of Mindanao

"Every city is a living body" - Danieltworld

All cities are defined by unique features. Each of them is dynamic - whether you look at the colors, landscapes, tourist spots, celebrations and the people. Iligan has a vital story to share. From the weaves of aspirations down to the idealism that people form for every challenge that comes through their lives, Iligan has always been a melting pot of true Iliganon values. And if you've happened to come across the streets dancing for Kasadya, swam through the clear waters of Timoga, trekked to the towering Mount Agad-agad, visited the 8-clustered caves of Mount Hindang or grasp for breath as you take your leaps of faith to find Tinago, you'll definitely feel the vigor of life this city has to offer. 

Iligan -  the term that denotes its features of being laid by majestic falls, industries and different cultures rolled into one. It actually comes from the Higaonon word 'Ilijan' which means "fortress of defense" against incessant attacks being waged by pirates and other adverse Mindanao tribes. People see Iligan on the lens of its wonderful scenery and landscapes that really catch attention in different angles. But if you look beyond those tourist spots, you will also find out that each of them has its own history to tell. And the accumulation of these stories is what defines Iligan, in and of itself today.

Being a major component of the Iligan-Cagayan Corridor, the fastest-growing regional growth center in Mindanao and one of the priority areas of investment in the Philippines, Iligan continually strives for economic excellence and uses its comparative advantages like cultural diversity and the status of being an industrialized city to supplement holistic development.

Labeled as the "City of Majestic Waterfalls", Iligan City is home to 23 major waterfalls that have gained popularity for their scenic beauties and the enthralling, exuberant experiences that they bring to the visitors.  Among these are Maria Christina Falls which is the primary source of hydroelectric power supply in the entire Mindanao region and Limunsudan Falls, the second highest waterfalls in the Philippines. The Tinago Falls, one of the most popular attractions in the city, offers an unforgettable experience that is just worth reckoning. It's a complete experience of taking about 300 steps walking down just to get to the falls, finding the hidden caves of Tinago, pulling smiles and energy in the bamboo raft towards the falls, diving  from an elevated cliff with your greatest shout of life and soothing your body in the cold, clean and tranquil water streaking down from the heavens.

The Kasadya Streetdancing and Merry Making Festival, the longest running cultural event in Northern Mindanao for 27 years and one of the highlights of Diyandi Festival, is also a big tourist attraction that you should not miss. It is the most attended and most visible event of the Fiesta and Tourism week celebration. It is an opportunity to see different talents all over Mindanao competing for an enticing prize.

Viva Señor San Miguel!" and the crowd roars back, "Viva!" This is a mimicry of the seraphic battle between Lucifer and San Miguel. The people are free to join in and dance in the Sinulog. The highlight of the event is the descent of Señor San Miguel, who is believed by Iliganons as their savior for protection and guidance.

But it's more than what these contingents are fighting for. In this event, you will see the true spirit of a Filipino, enjoying the gaiety and merriment in the atmosphere. You will see different people from different ages and places, all coming in unity to celebrate the winning of Señor San Miguel.

Kasadya is just one of the many events that fill the celebration of illustrious Diyandi Festival which is graced by many visitors not just all over the Philippines but also around the globe. Today, more events from sports to cultural events are shown in Diyandi to attract more visitors and also showcase the different talents of the Iliganons.

Aside from the many coffee shops and eating hubs that Iligan is taking pride from, it also has many bars and clubs for night life. Indeed, Iligan City is now gaining name when it comes to bringing glory and justice to the word 'night party' precisely because of its night people and the perfect composition of night clubs and drinks. Some popular bands also come over to the city like Urban Dub and Bamboo on special occasions. You can find many options ranging from The Strip, Iliganon, Kyla's Bistro, Vmart, Gmart, Atmosfera, 11:49, El Centro and many more. Iligan is now a top pick if you want to hang out during the night with your friends and take some booze for relaxation. You can also disco dance with the hottest people who also share the same passion.Why? Because when the sun starts to set, the party music begins. And this is remarkably an Iliganon party experience that you will never forget.

Iligan City has booming industries. The Sukang Pinakurat, Cheding Peanuts and Iligan lechon are just some of the most popular products that Iligan can offer. Indeed, when people say these product names, they just label it with Iligan. And these products are being sold in different parts of the country. The food being served in the restaurants that offer you a wide variety of choices are very enticing. The spicy Beef Randang from Iliganon, Burger Steak from Flamoo, Bannofee Pie from Aruma and Monster Overload of Zoey are just some of the many hot and famous choices that complement what they call "Food Porn". 

Other industries like agri-business, livelihood in different communities and utility of Iligan resources also pop out in the market. Some small-scale businesses are being empowered by the city through the installment of the Iligan Night Market.

Iligan City also takes pride from having gorgeous and good-looking people who have natural beauties that will just leave you in awe. Miss Iligan, the annual beauty pageant hosted by the Iligan City Government, showcases the diverse beauties of the people of Iligan. But this event also serves as an avenue to not just cater beauties, talents and wits, but also to show to the people how diversity is never a hindrance to come together and celebrate beauty regardless of your background or beliefs. In the end, friendships are being shaped and that is a very important value to preserve in a multicultural society like Iligan who uses diversity as its foundation for greater development.

Iligan City is also defined by talents. Singing, painting, theatrical arts, cultural performances, chorales and many more. Iliganons perform from the heart. And I believe that this is one thing that distinguishes the artists in this city from the mainstream. You will really feel the passion that people offer to their work. You will witness and feel how they love what they do. And this is very significant in conveying the message that they want to impart. Because for all we know, the bottom line of performances is on conveying a common message and relate with the audience through the soul. There, Iliganons resonate the real meanings of arts and creativity.

Today, Iligan is being known for something new. It's not about the landscapes, the scenery, or the vibrant Iligan industries. In the light of different challenges, from Typhoon Sendong down to struggles for peace, Iligan is now known for its unique people and the resiliency and optimism that they carry with them. Home to Higaonons, Christians and Muslims, Iligan City is a melting pot of rich cultural diversity, beliefs and values.

I'm not an Iliganon by nature. Yet with the 5 year relationship that I built with this city, I take pride by saying that I am an Iliganon by heart and soul. The people's love for the city is very overwhelming. And the faith that they have is their greatest key towards common understanding and unity. The passion that the Iliganons supplement with their work make the atmosphere as lively as it is. And again, amidst all these challenges, the optimism is very heart-warming. The positivism of people has the greatest audacity towards idealism of love and hope for an Iligan that will continue to prove its worth, not just for its people but also for itself and the future that lies ahead. 

Right now, Iligan continues to distinguish itself in the limelight, and its culturally diverse people is now its greatest pride. I dare you, to come to the city and witness the reasons to appreciate the splendor of life through an Iligan gateway. Don't let this opportunity pass. Draw the lines of appreciation and where they meet in focus. And for sure, Iligan will be your travel focal point.

Photo credits:

Icon Jen Chua
Elaine Suazo
Marc Claro

“An official entry to the Iligan Blogging Contest 2012”


  1. This is just so great Gab! Excellent and brilliant. I admire your way of writing. :)

  2. Thank you Vince. Please share to me a link of your blog as well if you have one.

  3. Gab, AWESOMAZING :D ~~~ akong sumbagon ang dili mobasa ani og pwede ra pud imu silang kilawon! hehe :P

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you te :) my goal for this is for people to look at the deeper beauty of Iligan, rather than be coated with fears and biased interpretations.

  5. Wow! Nice one Gab! Kudos! :)

    - Mark Sunday

  6. Although Iligan is known as " The City of Waterfalls " and also " The Industtrial City of the South " , Iligan has so much " More To Explore " and experience. You have brilliantly captured so much of this in your blog. The sights, the sounds, the festive occasions, original Iligan Products and the " Natural Beauty " that comes in so many forms in Iligan.

    Always something new

    Things to look forward to

    Iligan City

    Simply Amazing !

  7. Thank you Bob. I hope you'll visit Iligan someday!

    1. I have visited Iligan five times and always look forward to future visits. You can read about some of my adventures in Iligan here:


      The best vacations I have ever had have been Iligan City. Although I am from half way around the world from Iligan, it is always as close to me as the nearest internet connection giving me a virtual visit each and every day !

    2. Hello Bob. I have visited your site and it's full of fun Iligan adventures. It feels good that you chose this city to explore and you have a wide appreciation for it. Thank you very much.

  8. Really nice and convincing. Excellent piece!

  9. Gab..COngrats..I really SALUTE you MY FRIEND......

  10. Thank you my friend. I'm going to install Facebook Plug-in sometime so that people don't go Anon anymore. haha. but seriously though, thank you :)

  11. awesome!! will touch down there someday!! :D

  12. Thank you for dropping by! If you guys are also blogging, please leave links so that I can also follow and check your blogs. :))

  13. nice compilation! happy fiesta! :)


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