Skip to main content

The Legend of Maria Cristina Falls

Maria Cristina Falls. The so-called 'twin falls' found in Lanao del Norte, Philippines.

Maria Cristina Falls. The so-called 'twin falls' found in Lanao del Norte, Philippines.

Known as "the twin falls," Maria Cristina Falls has always been an attraction to locals and tourist alike. Located in Iligan City in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, the falls has been the source of the province hydroelectric, 70% of it is generated from the falls that is 320 feet high.

The city has been known as "City of Majestic" waterfalls because of its more than 20 falls that can be found in the city. But of all those, there's one waterfall that stands out, and that is the Maria Cristina Falls.

There are more than one legend that goes on how the beautiful waterfall came to be, but here's one of the legend that I wanted to share. What's this legend about the Maria Cristina fall?

There was once a Sultan who gained fame because of his daughter's beauty. The maiden's name is Maria Cristina. But Maria Cristina was adopted, the said Sultan isn't her real father, instead her biological father is a fisherman from the province of Romblon. Yes, they are poor but they are contented, as long as they are all together, that's all that matters. Every rainy season, Cristina would eagerly help her father on planting in their small piece of land.

(What is a Sultan? A Sultan is a ruler in the Islamic region of the country.)

Iligan City on the map.

Iligan City on the map.

But how did the beautiful Maria Cristina got into the territory of the Sultan?

That happened when one day the Sultan raided their town. All the people scattered and went up the hill to hide. Cristina was so little back then that she wasn't aware of what was going on around her. It didn't sink in to her young mind. The Sultan's underlings saw her and abducted her but Cristina's father saw it and gave a good fight. Sadly, her father got killed and she was taken away.

The Sultan's underlings presented their captive, the poor little girl to the Sultan. Maria Cristina was so beautiful that the Sultan decided to adopt her. He treated her like as if she's his own child. The Sultan became even more popular to villages near and far because of Cristina's beauty. She became the most beautiful maiden and suitors flocked from neighboring villages.

One of Maria Cristina's avid suitor was the son of another Sultan, a well-built and handsome nobleman. And know what? Of all her suitors, he is the lucky one that had captured the heart of the beautiful Maria Cristina. Later on, the young man decided to ask for Cristina's hand, and soon after that a big wedding was set.

The two are so happy and looking forward to their married life. They went to a creek which is their favorite spot and there, they set their plans and imagined all the things they want to do in their future.

But concealed to them, there was a witch who was envious of Maria Cristina, of her beauty and fate with the young nobleman. She vowed that the oncoming wedding would not happen.

Maria Cristina remembered her mother few nights before her wedding day. She hadn't seen her mother since she was abducted, and that was a long time ago. Feeling sad with all the thoughts of her mother, Maria Cristina went to the creek, on the big rocks which is her favorite spot, she sit and she cried all the sadness inside. Her fiancé promised her that they would go to Romblon, her province, to reunite with her mother after their wedding. She closed her eyes and reminisced the days where she was still a young child. Those happy days with her mother and father.

She was in such a state when the ugly witch came from behind her. She thought it was her fiancé and it surprised her to see the ugly maiden instead.

"I loved him before he even came to know you. He's mine and your wedding will never happen!" said the witch to her. "Go ahead and cry yourself out!"

Hearing this made Maria Cristina cry even more. She didn't know that despite her happiness with her beloved fiancé, there is a raging heart she isn't even aware of.

"You will never have the man I love. You just took him away from me. You are going to turn into a mountain before your wedding day! And your tears will flow to the town, heading to the sea," said the raging witch.

Scroll to Continue

Up for a fun quiz?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who was Maria Cristina?
    • A painter abducted by the Sultan.
    • A maiden.
    • The adopted daughter of a Sultan which he treated as his own child.
  2. Why did Cristina went to the creek few days before her wedding?
    • To fetch water.
    • Because her fiance told her so.
    • She remembered her mother and wants to be alone.
  3. Who cursed Maria Cristina?
    • Another envious suitor.
    • An ugly witch.
    • An old friend she met again.
  4. Why is the City of Iligan called the "City Of Majestic"?
    • Because of the sceneries.
    • Because Maria Cristina was located there.
    • Because of more than 20 waterfalls that can be found on the city.

Answer Key

  1. The adopted daughter of a Sultan which he treated as his own child.
  2. She remembered her mother and wants to be alone.
  3. An old friend she met again.
  4. Because of more than 20 waterfalls that can be found on the city.

At last, the long awaited day arrived, the wedding day. Everyone wondered as Maria Cristina didn't show up. And it was even a surprised when they saw a mountain as if in tears. Water falls from atop flowing into the town and formed a river.

"This fall just showed up out of nowhere. And it wasn't here before," murmured the people to their amazement. "And where could Cristina be? Today's her day."

The witch burst out in laughter and answered. "See that falls? That's Maria Cristina. So you don't have to look for her. Her tears would flow to the town, and form a river to Iligan City."

The witch who cursed Cristina hadn't been seen again. And that's the legend of Maria Cristina Falls. The twin falls looks like tears flowing from the eyes of the beautiful maiden, and so the people named it after her, Maria Cristina.

Maria Cristina Falls located in Iligan City in the Mindanao region of the Philippines.

Maria Cristina Falls located in Iligan City in the Mindanao region of the Philippines.

Philippine Legends, Folklore and Superstition

  • Ang mga Alamat - Gintong Aral
    For those who might be looking or wanting to read the legend in Filipino version, you can visit gintongaral website.


Camille on September 10, 2019:

wow so that is the legend of the maria Cristina falls.

precy anza (author) from USA on October 23, 2017:

Yes sure. ☺ Just give credit. Good luck on the project.

juliet on October 22, 2017:

Hi precy :) we have this magazine project and decided it would be about the falls in iligan city . Can we use your translation of the alamat of maria cristina for our project?

mareal on December 13, 2016:

nice story

cbwgfnstdyxw cki on August 17, 2015:

so beautiful

Cherry Mae Neri on July 24, 2015:

hi precy, im from iligan city, nice to know that you translated this tagalog alamat to english.. beautiful. :)

Marian Isabel on May 02, 2014:

I like the story but where is picture of Maria Cristina face

precy anza (author) from USA on December 04, 2012:

Hi Roj! :) I had read the legend from a Tagalog alamat and I had translated it to this English version. But if that writer was the original author or if he/she had just heard the legend or read it somewhere else, that I don't know. You might want to check out gintongaral website if you are looking for the Tagalog version. :)

roj on December 04, 2012:

may i ask who is the original author of this legend

precy anza (author) from USA on November 19, 2012:

Thanks Alun :) And I had never seen a twin falls like it. Maybe I would visit it whenever the our family visits the home land :)

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on November 18, 2012:

A lovely story precy anza, and well told. Useful also to see the good photo, the map and the video. Waterfalls are always attractive, but I have never seen one like the Maria Cristina Falls; it is very distinctive. Voted up. Alun.

precy anza (author) from USA on September 15, 2012:

Thanks Agusfanani! :) Haven't been to Villa Escudero but sounds like a great place and to what I know it is in Laguna, right?! Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend!

agusfanani from Indonesia on September 15, 2012:

This is a very beautiful hub and the picture reminds the beauty of Villa Escudero, a similar place in the Philippines I visited years ago.

precy anza (author) from USA on September 14, 2012:

@ Yougotme: Thanks. Our country sure is rich in folklore. :) I could spend a great deal of time reading such when I was a kid. Thanks for dropping by! :)

@ Aviannovice: Thanks Aviannovice. You're always one of my first readers. :) That book idea sounds fun. :) Thanks for dropping by!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on September 13, 2012:

As usual, another excellent legend. You should make a book out of all of them one day soon.

Renz Kristofer Cheng from Manila on September 13, 2012:

Great hub! There are really great things to know and to read about great places in our country.

This sort of tells us that we have a rich culture. Although some of these remain as folklore, they still show how creative our ancestors were in coming up with these "Legends".

Related Articles