Lake Sebu At Its Finest

Philippines, being composed of 7,107 islands, is known for having so many natural resources. Nowadays, exploring these resources to attract many tourists, is close to being a trend. Or perhaps, it actually is a trend now. Since as we can all see, the archipelago which had been known to be under the influence of many invaders, is now an independent nation showcasing it’s freedom-worth treasures. What I am talking about are the many places you can go to for any reason (may it be for business trips, family vacation, squad escapade, or soul-searching moments). But, this is just one of the many justifications why Philippines is worthy of its name.

And it so happened that I had come across with one of this magnificent tourist spots – Lake Sebu of South Cotabato. You read that right. Lake Sebu of South Cotabato. Now, who wouldn’t love to rest and meditate under the green influence of  nature? Nobody, right? Because, personally, I am not that of a nature lover, but every single time I come in contact with the swaying leaves, the dancing tree trunks, the splashing waves from bodies of water, the singing birds and the softly kissing breeze, I just come to enjoy every bit of this magnificent Earth. And Lake Sebu had and has continually impressed me with its awesome beauty.

Now, let’s check it out why I keep on blabbing how majestic this place is. Let’s start with how I got there. Right. That time, I was with friends.  It was when we decided to have our team building somewhere away from the city of durian, Davao. And so we sallied forth to the South!

Lake Sebu can be found in Allah Valley near the municipality of Suralla, South Cotabato. Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains covered with thick rain forest, the lake has an area of 354 hectares (870 acres), with an elevation of approximately 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). (Reference Lake Sebu, South Cotabato)

We traveled for more or less six hours from Davao City downtown proper to Punta Isla, Tokuful, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Punta Isla is one of the many lake resorts in the province and the one which we stayed in during the two-days and one-night spree. It is the most famous among the many resorts you can find surrounding the lake. It also is an asset for the whole place since this alone has lots to offer, starting from its famous slogan – A place where life blends with Nature. 

Next to their slogan, is the T’Boli Gono where we rested our tired bodies day in and day out.

The outside view of the T'Boli House.
The outside view of the T’Boli Gono

The bamboo-made cottage can accommodate 15 persons at max with a rent of P1,800 with bedding, towel, bath and common CR for an overnight stay. Luckily, when we got there, Lake Sebu was celebrating some sort of a fiesta. So as a freebie, we were offered a 20% discount. As a result, we only paid P1,440! It’s worth the bill, I tell you. Because, aside from the the thrill you get by the slight rocking of the cabin, you also get to enjoy the chill you feel due to the loosely-stacked bamboo slabs. Instant air-conditioner. But worry not, because you can cuddle all you want and warm yourself under the comforting blankets they provide. Added with the carefree talks, the genuinely joyous laughter plus the exciting indoor games you have prepared, you surely will be able to enjoy even your shortest stay at the place.

Overview of the lake froom T'boli Gono's perspective.
Overview of the lake from T’boli Gono’s perspective. Though only a portion, it still is impressively beautiful.
Team Sukarap preparing for the night.
Team Sukarap preparing for the night.

Moreover, the primary source of income of the residents of Lake Sebu is the lake itself. In it, reside and grow the species of fresh water fish, tilapia and hito (catfish). These are farmed to be harvested every six months, technically twice a year.

Few of the many cages set up within the lake to propagate the fish.
Few of the many cages set up within the lake to propagate the fish.
One of the industrious men that maintains the cages and feeds the fish. They cross cages to cages using the balanghay (carved from tree trunks).
Crossing from cages to cages using the balanghay (small boat carved from tree trunks), they maintain the fishpens and feed the fish with great safekeeping.

Just like the other many resorts promoting the lake, Punta Isla also serves varying dishes of the famous tilapia and hito. Few of which are Chicharon Tilapia, Sisig Tilapia and Tilapura (Tilapia Tempura). These are just three of the many tilapia dishes they offer. We had this during dinner on the first day and breakfast on the second day. But if you are not so into this type of courses, you can order Adobong Manok, Pork Pinakbet or Pancit. Since these are the only foods we had during our meals at Punta Isla, these are just the only ones I can recommend. But rest assured that the rest of the foods on their menu are worth-trying for! Definitely an A⁺!

Sisig Tilapia.
Sisig Tilapia.
Chicharon Tilapia.
Chicharon Tilapia.

You can opt to eat at the floating restaurant to have a closer look of the lake while savoring your food,

The floating restaurant.
The floating restaurant.

or you can just stay at the cottages bordering the lake for a semi-conservative meal. That’s safer that way too! (But I’m not saying the floating restaurant is not safe, okay? It only applies when you encounter challenges staying afloat. Wuehehe.)

Eat at one of the bordering cottages.
Eat at one of the bordering cottages.
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Eat at one of the bordering cottages.

Or, if you want a stylish meal, you can make use of their T’boli Dining Hall.

Chillin' while waiting for the food to be served.
Chillin’ while waiting for the food to be served.
Breakfast blowout at the T'boli Dining Hall.
Breakfast blowout at the T’boli Dining Hall.

But the fun doesn’t end there. We’re talking about this large lake! Thus, you don’t dare miss out  the boating activity that Punta Isla Lake Resort has set just for you. You get a tour ’round the lake! With a lovely and witty native T’boli guide, you get to see the twelve major islands that make up the Lake Sebu community, hear each of their tales, and be mesmerized by the few islets (owned by some prominent folks) because they’re so cute that they looked like ornaments usually used for interior designing. The tour averagely takes 40-45 minutes round and back. The short time you’ll spend aboard will surely be a time worth-sailing for!

Bon Voyage!
Bon Voyage!

Going home? Nope! Not  yet. You don’t want to set your foot back inside your house empty-handed, do you? Therefore, thou shall not forget to bring some souvenirs. That way, you’d be reminded of the place (during your alone and bored moments at home. haha) or, you could brag to the whole rocking hometown that you have stepped outside your geographical boundaries and the souvenirs are the proofs!

You can have keychains/keyholders, bead-bags, dream  catchers,  T’boli dolls (T’boli dressed barbie dolls or carved dolls), scarves, malong, accessories – all finely crafted by the T’boli hands! You can also have statement shirts, and many more.

IMG_6685
Bling it on! Bling! Bling!
IMG_6690
Carved T’boli dolls.
Dream catchers.
Dream catchers.

D’you think you can leave Lake Sebu now after hoarding all the souvenirs without trying the 600-feet high and the 700&400 meter-long zip line fun? Defintely a no-no! That’s definitely a mortal sin! The zipline is actually the main reason why the team chose to go there. Right! The famous Seven Falls Resort that owns the Southeast Asia’s highest zip line title is the main goal of the whole adventure! While you are gliding down the 700 and 400-meter (yes! two sets) aerial runway, you get to have a view atop the seven mystic falls plus the verdant trees of all kinds. Can you imagine Tris Prior zipping down and across old buildings in the Divergent movie plus an Indominus rex waiting only five feet below to devour her if she fails to be at the opposite end of the cable? If you can’t picture that out, you try that out. That’s exactly how we felt and I personally would like you to feel that as well. I am so selfless, I know, that I’d be so willing to share the thrill with you. Mwahaha! But aside from the satisfaction you’ll have because you conquer whatever fear you might have, you’ll get a very momentous memory engraved in your trembling knees.

You can go solo, or you can go by pair!

Ready, Set!
Ready, Set!
Up, up in the air!
Go! Up, up in the air!

And poof! You’d land like some superhero that accomplished some grand mission! But awesome as it had been, the trip had to come to an end. We may had bid goodbye to the place of wonder, but the experience and the memories will always be in our hearts and mind.

Team Sukarap, showing their wackiest infront of Falls No. 1 of the Seven Falls, Lake Sebu.
Team Sukarap, showing their wackiest in front of Falls No. 1 of the Seven Falls, Lake Sebu.
Happy and satisfied faces.
Happy and satisfied faces.

Now, please take a look at the shortest summary possible of our Lake Sebu Adventure! Enjoy!

Click here if video doesn’t play Team Sukarap – Lake Sebu Experience

For more information about Punta Isla, click here. Also, to view more of our photos just go to Mac’s Cabin. Credits to Mac for the video and photos, as well as Ram and Lee Jun.

“To God be All the Glory, Honor and Praise!”

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