Lake Sebu : A Highland Getaway in South Cotabato

5:52:00 AM

Adventure, Nature and Culture – these are the things that you will experience in Lake Sebu. Located in the Allah Valley Region in South Cotabato, the place gives you an opportunity to recharge yourself as you explore its various falls and lakes. Lake Sebu is also the home of Lang Dulay, a National Living Treasure awardee from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for her contribution in the preservation of their culture and for her fine craftsmanship of the delicate abaca fibers.



My visit to Lake Sebu was purely on impulse. I was attending the Mindanao Business Conference in General Santos City and I thought I’d do a side trip somewhere. I saw a tour package of Lake Sebu but it was expensive so I decided to go there by myself. It took me 2 and a half hours to get there by bus.
I arrived late in the morning, took a quick lunch at the Punta Isla Resort where I also checked in and then went to see the sites.
My first stop was the Hikong Alo in English it means Waterfalls No. 1 . This was the first of the seven waterfalls in the area. The falls stand at around 35 feet and very accessible.



A few meters from this falls is the jump off area for the Zipline where you can see Hikong Bente ( Waterfalls No. 2 ).
Since I don’t do ziplines, I took another 5 minute motorcycle ride going to Hikong Bente. The falls stands majestically at 70 feet high. It is very quite except for the sound of the rushing water and surrounded by lush vegetation. Surprisingly it does have a viewing deck with comfort room, tables and chairs where you can take some food. It even has a souvenir shop. There’s a pathway leading towards the basin of the falls but it’s not advisable go near it because there a lot of incidents where people got hit by falling rocks.



The other waterfalls can be seen from the zipline and some can be reached thru a rigorous mountain hike depending on weather conditions and status of the trail paths. Since it was raining, I contented myself with the two very accessible waterfalls.
I instructed the motorcycle driver to proceed to the workshop of Lang Dulay. Along the way to her workshop, I can see patches of vegetable gardens, rice fields and corn fields being cultivated by the people there.
Lang Dulay is a Tboli weaver in her 90s. She tells the stories of the T’boli people living near Lake Sebu in South Cotabato through her art. Her canvass is made of fine Abaca fibers weaved into T’nalak cloth and her designs infused with the history of her people have made her a national living treasure of the Philippines.





I bought a 2.5 meter Tnalak weave as a souvenir from Lake Sebu and as a way of supporting this great artist. They say that to take with you a piece of T’nalak weaved by Lang Dulay is like taking a piece of history of the T’boli people and also an art piece from Lang Dulay, an art piece that is worthy of being displayed in one’s home.



The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the serenity and peacefulness of the lakeside. I got a room with a great view of the lake and it was such a relaxing experience just sitting there looking at the fishermen trying to catch fish while eating newly harvested lanzones and rambutan.



I had a very early night and was looking forward to a sunrise tour of the lake.
At 5:30 in the morning I was already in the middle of the lake with my guide waiting for the sunrise. It was still dark, eerily quiet and the lake surface took on a glassy sheen. After a few minutes, the sun's golden rays began to show itself. The glassy surface of the lake turned golden as the sun rose higher. It was a perfect moment.



I left Lake Sebu with this scene forever etched in my mind. The wonderful colors of nature, the peacefulness of the lake and man living in harmony with its surroundings. I just hope that man does not become too greedy and destroy the balance of nature because someday I will return to experience once again the serenity and beauty of Lake Sebu.

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