Adventures and Sports
How I Survived a Bloody Trek: A Testimonial of Mindanaons' True Kindness
Julius Calvin Santos | Jun 04, 2015
Mindanao has always been the focal point of my interest for many years now. From the intriguing mystique that surrounds the island; the harrowing ordeal of some of its religious groups in search of lasting peace; to the kaleidoscope of natural wonders that Mindanao is known to have a surplus of --- everything about this landmass seems to appeal to me. However, my physical attraction to this landmass deepened by an incident that introduced me to this island’s strongest asset – its people.
The opportunity came to explore the Northern region of Mindanao after a friend decided to have their wedding in Camiguin. It was our first time to set foot here so the goal was to maximize our stay by exploring the region’s waterfalls, known to be one of the most beautiful and extensive set of waterfalls in the entire archipelago.
One quick description of this waterfall would be “tall and slender”. The water coming from the top drops for 250 feet before it reaches a natural pool below. The water is very inviting and refreshing that it quickly enticed us to swim and play around the pool area. One of our friends was so mesmerized by the natural beauty of the place that she decided to perform her Yoga poses, while the rest of us simply frolicked in the water.
The Bloody Encounter in Tinago Falls
True to its name “Tinago”, finding this falls became a bit of a challenge for us because it truly is hidden. After plying Iligan City’s national highway, I was puzzled when our driver continued through Linawon, Lanao del Norte. The driver later explained that Tinago falls is actually shared by the town of Linawon with the City of Iligan.
After reaching the jump off point, we were greeted by a long winding set of concrete stairs that we tried to traverse as fast as we can, fueled by our eagerness to finally get a glimpse of the falls. After descending 500 steps, we were given a misty welcome by Tinago Falls. Multiple channels of falling water cut their way down a lush rock wall before reaching an azure pool basin, believed to be more than 70 feet deep. The waterfalls produce plenty of mists that give the area an otherworldly feel. It also makes surrounding rocks mossy and very slippery. The water is very cold but its sheer beauty will simply make you care less about its frigid temperature and swim around or get an icy hydro massage from the falling water.
While in Tinago Falls, my excitement made me forget the mossy surface surrounding the pool basin. Right when I was about to dive in to test the water, I slipped and had a bad fall. My right hand that I used to stop my body from hitting the ground, hit a sharp rock that cut through my palm leaving a 3-4 inches wound. My hand was dripping with blood and our first aid kit was left in the van and it would require us to climb 500 steps up and back just to get it.
Fortunately, one local guy who stopped by for a short visit came to my rescue. He ripped a portion of his shirt and tied it around my wound after washing it in the cold spring water. The improvised bandage totally helped to stop the bleeding. In fact, it allowed me to swim and still enjoy the waterfalls.
I was personally blown away by the guy’s genuine concern in helping a stranger like me that he even went the extra mile just to stop the bleeding. We were very thankful and even offered money to replace his torn shirt but he refused to accept it.
The Warmth of Maria Cristina Falls
Later that morning, at the entrance of National Power Corporation (NPC) Nature Park, one of the park staff noticed my right hand wrapped in white cloth. She curiously asked what happened to it. After explaining it to her, she contacted their first aid personnel who quickly showed up to clean and change the dressing of my wound. Again, I was touched by the warmth of these staff that was very proactive in attending to my medical needs despite the fact that I have not even entered the premises of the Nature Park. Despite of this, they did the best that they could to treat my wound.
Finally, after several minutes, we were able to enter and reach the view deck where Maria Cristina Falls was waiting to showcase her might and grandeur. We were awestruck by what we saw. A powerful waterfalls that send its fury down a 320 feet drop, energizing the turbines that electrify the Agos VI Hydroelectric Plant.
We stayed for another 15 minutes talking pictures from all possible angles, hoping to immortalize the beauty of the waterfalls in our photos. But then I also came to the realization that everything that happened that day will forever be remembered.
It is not because of the scar that was left on my palm but because of these Mindanaoans who went beyond their call of duty to help a total stranger in need. It was indeed hospitality in its greatest form that started from a bloody incident while chasing waterfalls.