Tinuy-an Falls: The “Niagara Falls of the Philippines”

This hidden but breathtaking natural wonder lies deep inside Bislig City in Surigao del Sur. Arguably, Tinuy-an Falls is considered as one of the most stunning waterfalls in the country. Thanks to its unique curtain feature, it has earned the reputation as the Niagara Falls of the Philippines. Despite its isolation and distance from transit points, tourists have been flocking to this falls (along with Enchanted River) as one of the highlights of Surigao’s ecotourism loop.

The waterfalls derived its name from the Cebuano word tinuy-an or tinuyuan meaning intentional or to act intentionally. Legend has it that settlers of the Magdiwata Mountains were once enslaved by cruel tribesmen who came from the hinterlands of Agusan and were forced into hard labor. Faced with this injustice, the natives vowed to free themselves from their cruel masters. On one fateful day, while sailing along the river on a bamboo raft with their masters on board, the slaves intentionally pushed the raft down the waterfalls, immediately killing their abusive masters. Their bravery has since been remembered through the magnificent falling wonder called Tinuy-an.

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The city government of Bislig operates the property so a minimal Php 50.00 entrance fee is collected per visitor. You can opt to bring your own food and water although food stalls are available at the entrance of the waterfalls compound.

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Cottages and tables are also available for rent. If you want to reach the curtain falls, traditional bamboo rafts are available for rent at Php 150.00 per 30 minutes. The upper level of the falls is also reachable on foot but please observe extra care due to the slippery path.

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Getting There. Coming from Butuan City, we took a Bachelor Bus at Butuan Bus Terminal going to Mangagoy (Bislig City). As planned, we dropped our bags first before meeting our guide and driver we contacted earlier through our hotel. There are also available habal-habal guides at the Bus Terminal. You just need to negotiate the rates with them beforehand. It took us about 30 minutes to finally reach the falls. It is important to clarify with the habal-habal driver your itinerary and rates so to avoid sudden changes and disagreements.

Where to Stay. From quick online reviews, we decided to spend our night at Casa de Babano located right at the city center for Php 500.00 per airconditioned room/night. Restrooms are shared and they also have their in-house restaurant and bar/entertainments. They also have their accredited tour guide and driver for Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls with rates from Php1,200-Php1,500.

Travel Notes:

  • The trail going to the falls is not paved and mostly sloping and could get slippery during the rainy season.
  • It is a must to inquire with the driver the status of the road and to call his attention if you’re not comfortable with the speed you are going.
  • Secure the contact number of your accommodation and  local authorities for untoward emergencies.
  • While Bislig City is relatively peaceful, please refrain from exploring the hinterlands without guides and prior permission from local authorities.
  • Checkout our Surigao del Sur Travel Guide for complete details.
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