Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

On an early morning flight to General Santos, Phils., I was flipping through a magazine when I noticed one item particularly. It was a feature on the T’boli in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. I remember back when I was 7 or 8, I read somewhere that the T’boli was an indigenous tribe in the mountains of Mindanao. I was fascinated mainly by their clan name having an apostrophe in it that I resolved to see them someday. First Bucket List entry ever!

Back to that early morning flight, I was so exhausted and sleepy that I thought I’d get some shut eye as soon as I get to Mindanao, but my aunt and uncle wouldn’t let that happen! My uncle was waiting for me at the gate and as soon as we were out of the city, he made a turn somewhere forest-y, I knew immediately that we were headed somewhere else other than home. I dreadfully looked out the window and wished we would just go home – until I saw a sign. The sign was something like this:

IMG_1147

photo cred: Joel C. of Traveling Balance

In the words of a high school chick, “OMG! We are going to Lake Sebu!” I can’t believe I was just thinking and reading about this place a few hours ago, and now I was on my way to that place! My focus was constantly on the road, eyeing each T’boli man or woman walking by the road side. Weee!

The road to Lake Sebu

The road to Lake Sebu

My aunt brought us to a restaurant by the lake to have lunch. It was a nice and breezy lake resort type of restaurant where seafood was served fresh. This is one thing I noticed in Mindanao. There’s fresh and then there’s Mindanao-fresh! I swear! I have never tasted anything as fresh as the seafood and vegetables I had in Mindanao.

Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

There are tables upstairs, cottages below, and a floating cottage on the lake.

There are tables upstairs, cottages below, and a floating cottage on the lake.

The place had to kitchens separated by flights and flights of stairs. They use this basket to transport stuff (food, condiments, bills) instead.

The place had two kitchens separated by flights and flights of stairs. They use this basket to transport small items (food, condiments, bills) instead.

I noticed that the T’boli were going from cottage to cottage to perform and stuff and I couldn’t wait ’til it was our cottage’s turn. Again, weeee!

The T’boli’s roaming around the resort/restaurant entertain guests by giving a brief history of their tribe and a mini cultural showcase of their dances and musical instruments. Although I was really paying attention during that time, I could not remember a single story they told.

A little entertainment while having lunch in one of the cottages.

A little entertainment while having lunch in one of the cottages.

Lunch was good and the weather was okay but I was feeling extra exhausted after the T’boli experience and I just wanted to go home but my aunt still had other plans. #smh

My uncle took a right towards another mountainous area and after steering through a handful of terrifying slopes, we reached a place called 7 Falls.

SIDE NOTE: cars will crumble, wither and die in Mindanao, only SUVS and trucks will survive. i.e.: long drives, rough terrain, steep slopes

SIDE NOTE: cars will crumble, wither and die in Mindanao, only SUVS and trucks will survive. i.e.: long drives, rough terrain, steep slopes and all the side street shopping you will do because everything is cheap and delicious and fresh!

The place had a “commercialized” vibe already but it was still a sight to see. Walking a few meters, you would reach Falls 1 – so breathtakingly pretty! I thought that Falls # 1 was already awe-inspiring but it actually gets better!

..with wild monkey. (????) What a deal!!

..with wild monkey. (????) What a deal!!

Falls 1

Falls 1

I wasn’t able to have an eyeful of Falls number 2-6 because I decided to try the zip line thing out. While paying at the counter, I thought that 250 pesos was a little overpriced. I was looking out at the spot and thought that it looks like the rig in Tagaytay – so why 250? Anyway, a few moments after I was strapped and pushed out, I realized that 250 was sooo worth it!

Stills from the zip line ride

Stills from the zip line ride

This would be the highest zip line ride of my life! I think I captured just a fraction of how majestic it looked from where I was. One of the most beautifully terrifying things I have ever subjected myself to. The harness they use works like a hammock. You lie on your belly, no helmet, just a lot of hoping nothing goes wrong because falling would mean nothing else but death!

I found this video on YouTube. The video features just part 1 of the ride. Yep, 250 is such a great deal – you get 2 zip line rides. The other one ends near the trek jump off point to Falls 7. Oh, and, by the way, watching this vid might spoil some of the fun surprises the ride would give you should you decide to try the line out some time though.

7 Falls, Lake Sebu doesn’t easily run out of surprises. I thought the zip line ride and the views I have seen was all there was to it. I wasn’t disappointed. The place does boast of breath taking views; but when my uncle forced me to finish the 30-minute trek to Falls 7 (I was starting to feel cranky), I was surprised even further.

Look at that.

Look at that.

Falls 7 was heart-stopping.

The rock formations were interesting, too.

Doesn't this remind you of Jurassic Park?!

Doesn’t this remind you of Jurassic Park?

After Falls 7, finally, my uncle and aunt decided that I could get some sleep.

I was so tired and it was a long drive home but I couldn’t get myself to sleep. The whole place was new to me and I would like to absorb everything the place would like to show me. Miles and miles of pineapples, papayas, palm tress, etc flanked the long and winding road (it was really long and mostly winding). Driving through that part of Mindanao felt like those calming road trip movie scenes. The road was clean, motorists were few and polite, the greens and sights were refreshing.

More of our Mindanao trip here! I’m feeling blog-gy lately. 😉

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