My two journeys to Iligan involved saying hello and bidding goodbye to a well-loved doctor in the place. In 2004, the 1st time I was there, I was able to go out and meet Dr. Glenn Justiniano who is a very good friend of Dr. Tish Gatbonton. From our very brief encounter, I have come to know him through the colorful stories of his years together with Dr. Tish as batch mates. My second trip to Iligan was sad because it was a journey that took so much from my friend, whom I fondly call Ate – a privilege she gave to me and Malou for many years now – saying goodbye to a beloved friend.

Excerpts from her write-up at the PSEM Update are as follows:
We’ve had to say a more permanent goodbye to Dr. Glenn de Guzman Justiniano. Glenn was a UE Batch ’89 classmate, kasamang Fiel-Lim group mate and boon companion through misadventures in medical school and fellowship, love affairs and life. His elder brotherly demeanor came naturally and was something all who knew him recognized and gravitated towards, inspiring trust, confidence, respect and affection.

Glenn was a bon vivant, possessing a zest and awe for life. He loved good music ranging from classical, opera to pop, his walkman and later on, his Ipod was always with him. He was a “techie,” mechanically inept, but always interested in the newest gizmos and gadgets. He also enjoyed good food, had adventurous taste, liked nothing better than sitting back with friends over beer, wine, and his drug of choice, coffee.

Glenn had a warm and soothing baritone, and stuck in traffic between home and PGH in our daily carpool, he and our classmate, Boyette Edmilao, a tenor, would break into song and sing my (their driver’s) requests. He loved to sing and was always involved in choirs in church and in school. His international singing debut was at AFES Singapore doing a solo representing the society on fellowship night.

Glenn was intelligent, kind, compassionate and caring. A real gentleman in every sense. Most important, Glenn had a deep and abiding faith in God that permeated his entire life. He loved, laughed and dreamt of a happy future with his soul mate, wife Babette, and his two girls, his ‘adopted daughter,’ Joy, and the joy of his heart, his spitting image, Kim.

Glenn’s premature passing at age 44 has left a void in his family, his church, the medical community in his adopted home, Iligan, and among his patients. He left a void in his PSEM family.

I know we, his Batch 95 cronies: Viki, Herbert and our adopted batchmate, Levy, will never meet together without the sense of something missing. The same is true for his Other PSEM Women: Nonen, Beth, Marie, Zon, and Nique who felt his loss deeply.

On a personal note, I knew I could count on him to listen, give counsel, keep confidences, withhold judgment, and accept me for who I was. He was my ace-up-my sleeve friend, who made the prospect of endocrine fellowship less daunting and easier to adjust to. It was my great honor to be his only child’s godmother. His last text message to me the night before his operation was, “I love you, too, Tish.” I’m glad I got to tell him how much he meant to me when I could. And as long as Babette and Kim are around, he will always be alive for me. Even then, I will miss him all my life.

Goodbye, Glenn. See you again, one day.
I will try to understand what lured this “bon vivant” to this place aside from the reason that he found his one true love in this city. His adopted hometown, Iligan, is from the Higaunon word “iligan” or “ilijan,” meaning “fortress of defense” against frequent attacks by pirates and other hostile Mindanao tribes. It is also called the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”. It has approximately 20 waterfalls.

Getting There:
Cebu Pacific – 2 flights via CDO 20:15, 21:35
PAL – 4 flights via Cagayan de Oro 5:10AM, 7:30AM, 10:00AM and 13:00PM
There is a 2 hour land trip from CDO to Iligan City.
Where to Stay:
The best hotel to stay is Cheradel Suites. It is new and very nice is a simple way. Stark white walls surround the place. There is something regal in the place in miniscule proportion.
For those on a budget you can try Kingsway Inn, Corporate Inn and Maria Cristina Hotel. But I really don’t recommend these hotels.
Places to Visit:

Maria Cristina Falls is located 8.5 kilometers away southwest of the city proper. The 320- feet high waterfall is also known as the “Mother of Industry” because it is the main source of power for 80% of the Mindanao region.
The second highest waterfall is located in Barangay Rogongon, 54 kilometers from Iligan City. Limunsudan Falls, a two-tiered fall, has a combined height of 870 feet. Its lower cascade alone measures 400 feet, higher than the entire height of Maria Cristina Falls.

the enchanting Maria Cristina Falls

Another breathtaking waterfall in Iligan City is the Tinago Falls, located 13 kilometers from the city proper. As its name implies, this 420-foot waterfall lies hidden in a deep ravine.
Timoga Spring is a spring located along the National Highway, Timoga, Barangay Buru-un and is 9 kilometers away from the city proper. It is well-known for icy-cold and crystal-clear springs flow freely to the pools of different sizes. There are around five spring resorts along the highway which is easily accessible by land to all locals and tourists. ( source: Wikipedia )

Initao National Park is a 57 hectare natural forest with diverse flora and fauna. You can go spelunking, swimming and fishing there.

Places to eat:
Gazpacho Foodhaus – a relatively new restaurant serving Italian and Pinoy food.
Café Laguna – Pinoy food at its finest

Trip Tips:
* Chedengs peanuts – a must. These are very minute peanuts which are crunchy and tasty. The best there is in my opinion.

* Visit the Maria Cristina Waterfalls. Make sure that when you go visit the place, you will be given the opportunity to see the “waterfalls show”. Much water isn’t flowing all the time.

* Avoid traveling from Iligan to CDO at night.

* The best time to fly for me is 10:00AM. The airport is situated above the mountain. There is a tendency for fog build-up for very early flights and afternoon flights.

If you are looking for a place depicting grandiosity , Iligan is not your kind of destination. Iligan is solemn and calm. It is almost hypnotic like all the waterfalls that surround it. Take a deep breathe, see the trickling of the water, feel the coolness and hear its calming sound … that’s Iligan. It gives you an immense realization that everything goes down just like losing a very good friend. It is an experience that will shake you to the core but let us be consoled by the fact that he is happy …

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Written: October 2007


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