Iligan City is known as the “City of Waterfalls“. The most famous among them is the majestic Maria Cristina Falls, which is one of the main sources of hydroelectric power for the Mindanao region.
The once-popular city during the industrial age (thanks to its heavy industries like steel) is now bouncing back by showcasing its natural wonders, awesome fiesta and unique food that can rival the best in Manila.
I was invited by the Iligan Chamber of Commerce to provide an Internet Marketing 101 training (on blogging, social media, Twitter, Facebook and local search) to local businesses. That gave me the chance to explore the best of what Iligan has to offer.
Here are my Top 10 Best Experiences in Iligan…
1. Kasadya Festival: Iligan Fiesta and The Feast of St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel is a Christian and Islamic Archangel. In Christianity, he is God’s standard bearer, and in Islam, he is the champion who fights the battles of the faith.
Iligan is one of the cities where Christians and Muslims live in harmony. St. Michael the Archangel is probably the secret behind this respectful bond between the two religions.
Photo by Anton Sheker, an Iliganon who is the best Fiesta Travel Photographer in the country. 🙂
The feast of St. Michael the Archangel is celebrated every 29th of September.
The entire city celebrates the feast with street dancing, food festival events, and various forms of entertainment. It culminates with the religious procession of Saint Michael the Archangel at 7am where the devotees dance to the beat of drums while chanting, “Viva Senor San Miguel, Viva!”
This is definitely the best time to be in Iligan.
Devotees line up to pray and venerate the image of Saint Michael the Archangel.
September 20 marks the beginning of the 9-day novena.
During this time, at exactly 8am, the Pagpakanaug (The Descent) is performed. It is the ritual tradition of transferring the image of Saint Michael from its niche to a pedestal located on the side altar. It is then followed by the Holy Mass in the Saint Michael Cathedral.
Saint Michael the Archangel is our guardian and protector in times of trouble and temptation.
Saint Michael the Archangel Cathedral
Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Philippines
Telephone: +63 (63) 221-3285
Holy Mass Schedule:
Monday to Friday: 6.00am, 7.00am, 12.00nn, 5.30pm
Saturday: 6.00am, 7.00am, 5.30pm
Sunday AM: 4.45am, 6.00am, 7.15am, 8.30am, 9.45am
Sunday PM: 1.00pm, 2.30pm, 3.45pm, 5.00pm, 6.15pm, 7.30pm
2. ILIGANON, Home-grown Iligan Cafe
In the past, I was a “checklist” traveler — meaning I methodically went through a must-see checklist. These days, I prefer taking my time and immersing myself in the culture of the different places I visit.
In Iligan, Iliganon is one of the cafe institutions where you can spend time, hang out with the locals and meet the friendly and business-minded people of the city.
It is considered a pioneer in the late-night entertainment area called The Strip.
Iliganon is best known for its fresh Durian Shake (P90). It is very creamy and has no added sugar. I must say it is better than the ones found in Davao.
At night, hear DJ Mara spin music in the bar of Iliganon. She is one of the best female DJs in town and actually also runs the cafe.
Iliganon Menu: Main Menu, Drinks, Pizza, and Tapsihan.
They are also known for their Beef Rendang.
Quezon Ave. Ext corner Bro. Raymund Jeffrey Road,
Pala-o, Iligan, Mindanao, Philippines
Telephone: +63 (63) 225 4577
3. The BEST PANDESAL @ Victoria’s Bakery
Victoria’s Pandesal (P2/piece) is probably one of the best pandesals I’ve ever tasted.
It is small in size, has a pillowy soft texture (think “Krispy Kreme donut” soft), has a tiny hint of butter, and is served super hot.
It is best eaten for breakfast after hearing mass in the Cathedral or while on your way to Timoga Cold Springs. 🙂
Iligan Victoria Bakery
52 Gen. Aguinaldo St., Iligan City
4. Timoga Fresh Cold Spring Waters and Olympic Swimming Pool
Timoga Cold Springs is a must-visit spot in Iligan. Where else can you find an Olympic-size swimming pool drained everyday and filled with fresh and flowing cold spring waters?
You can open your eyes in the water, like in a freshwater lake. I was able to practice my Total Immersion training to conquer a few laps in the pool.
Also, they have a 16-feet deep cold springs pool for diving 🙂
There are a lot of resorts in Timoga but only Dela Mar has the Olympic-size pool.
Expect basic resort and restroom facilities. Don’t forget to bring your own towel, toiletries and change of clothes.
Dela Mar Resort
Timoga Cold Springs
Entrance Fee/head – P50
Business Hours: 6am – 6pm (Olympic and Mini Pools)
Corkage: Beer & Softdrinks (P10/case and P2/bottle)
The best part of swimming in Timoga is the lunch with Gloria’s Ihaw Ihaw Lechon Manok and Iligan’s famous lechon in front of the resorts.
5. Gloria’s Iligan Roots @ Macaraeg-Macapagal House
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the controversial 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010.
It is interesting to get a glimpse of her roots in their ancestral house in Timoga, Buru-un in Iligan.
This was Gloria’s playhouse (probably where all her Malacañang Palace ambitions started).
Most people visit this house to see the young Gloria Macapagal portrait, which was painted when she was 18 years old.
Sculpture of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with her father Diosdado Macapagal.
Macaraeg-Macapagal House (1950-present)
Timoga, Buru-un, Iligan City
Declared a Heritage House by the National Historical Institute on August 14, 2002
Monday to Friday: 8.00am to 12.00nn and 1.00pm to 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9.00am to 12.00nn and 1.00pm to 4.00pm
To be continued… The BEST of ILIGAN! (Part 2 of 2)
Live an Awesome Life,
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickr Youtube
Full Disclosure: My entire trip was sponsored by the Iligan Chamber of Commerce as part of the Internet Marketing 101 training I conducted in Iligan.
P.S. Thank you to the Iligan Chamber of Commerce for showing me the best of Iligan!
(From Left to Right): Vince Soriano, Lea Colegado-Alagar, Michael Lagcao of MaayongIligan.com, Lleechuan King, and President Emily Dell Pascua of Iligan Chamber of Commerce.
P.P.S. You can contact me directly at email@example.com if you want to conduct an Internet Marketing 101 training for the local businesses in your own town or city.
14 thoughts on “The BEST of ILIGAN! (Part 1 of 2)”
hi anton! did you go by plane to CDO and travel by land to Iligan? how safe is your stay?
Right now the only way is to go by Plane to CDO and a 2-hour land trip to Iligan.
It is safe in Iligan City itself.
Can’t wait to go home and buy me a buttload of 2-peso pandesal. Home sweet home.
I miss Iligan more with this post. 🙁 Thanks for featuring our city.
I agree with Jam… I am missing Iligan now. I have fond memories especially of Victoria Bakery and Timoga pools. Thanks, Anton! And thanks to Iligan Chamber of Commerce for making this happen. 🙂
You had a great story of my place! Thanks a lot. These make me remember how beautiful memories I also have. =)
I’ve never been to Iligan but my friends used to buy peanuts from there. They were small and very sweet. Did you get a chance to try these? By the way, why aren’t you in any of the shots?
Wow.. My hometown Iligan.. How I wish to be there soon.
I miss my hometown. Haven’t been home in a loong time. Looking forward to Decemeber =)
Hi Anton, did you get to try Kristine’s bakeshops loaf bread? It’s SUPER soft – it’s more like a crustless loaf! Salivating just thinking about it! If you get a chance to go back to Iligan, check it out! =)
Just missed lots of things in Iligan… Wish i could turn back time… -Mike
Thank you for featuring my hometown. Come visit us again and do waterfall hopping!
You should also have tasted the mongo siopao of Victoria Bakery (if they still have it). 🙂