A good friend of South Cotabato News Atbp shares his own list of "must-do's" and "must-try's" when you're in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato tagged as the SUMMER CAPITAL OF SOUTH COTABATO.  Read on: 


Things to do in Lake Sebu
by Dani Doguiles

"Is there any other thing I can do in Lake Sebu besides taking the zip line?"

Like my friend who has aversion to heights, many people, especially those who are not keen on adrenaline-pumping adventures would most likely ask this question.

It's given: Lake Sebu is now synonymous to the Seven Falls Zipline.

But South Cotabato's premiere destination for both foreign and local tourists offers a lot more. Travellers who want to spend time to commune with nature or relax from hectic urban life and those who want adventure can have several choices to venture in.
Lake Sebu Island. Photo by Nonoy Rojas

Here are some:

Enjoy nature

The environs of Lake Sebu make for a very ideal location to simply indulge in the wonders of pristine nature.

Each morning, the lake greets you with a mist that would have you think the very placid blue lake actually evaporating as the sun rises.

You would also wonder how come a lake that has no tributary can be so wide -- 354 hectares -- and deep – more than 2,000 feet deep.

Lake Sebu town has three lakes, namely: Lahit, Sebu, and Seloton. Of the three lakes, Lahit is the smallest, and Seloton, although only 75 hectares wide, is much deeper than Sebu.

If you get tired of the Lake you have the Dongon Falls to come to. Dongon Falls is now more popular by the name The Seven Falls. As the name suggests, Dongon Falls is a series of seven falls within a span of less than three kilometers. The first of the seven falls is the widest and the second is the tallest, dropping about 500 feet.

Five of the seven falls are accessible via an inter-connected foot path that the provincial government built for visitors but since the area is within a forest, a guide may be needed if you want to walk to Falls Number 3 to 5.

If your forte is mountain trekking, then I suggest you visit the Trankini Falls. According to those who have gone to the place, a trek to the falls, which is still undeveloped, is an experience of a lifetime.
Trankini Falls
Flora here is also unique.

"God was in his happiest moment when he created the flowers in Lake Sebu," a friend said. "It's as if God poured extra color and more cells to plants here."

You will find plants that are hardly seen elsewhere: a plant whose flowers resemble a furry cat's tail only its golden yellow, gumamela that has flowers 8 inches wide or one that looks like a crumpled blood-red paper with streaks of milk, yellow bells that are about a foot long, and so many species that botanist would have a field day naming all of them.

Travel around the lake on a boat

Two resort operators in the area have boating services for a fee of P450 per trip. But wait. This is much cheaper than you think, a boat can carry up to 14 persons. If you don't have this many companions, there are several groups who recruit additional persons who would like to join them.

With you on the boat is a lady guide who will provide very significant information about the lake, the town and its people. She will also answer to all your queries, of course about the lake.

Along the trip you will hear her say these:

"We are now in the deepest part of the lake. Experts say this part of the lake is more than 2,000 feet deep."

"Once a year, the lake experiences what we call as "kamahong" or fish kill because…"

"That islet on your right used to be the burial site of the T'bolis living around the lake. It is a tradition of the T'bolis to wrap their dead in a white cloth and hang them on a tree to dry."

The 30- 45 minute ride is definitely an educational ride. That's guaranteed.

Try Tilapia

All the resort restaurants even the smallest carenderia in the town offer tilapia recipes. (The town is a major producer of Tilapia in south central Mindanao, even serving as far as Davao City.) You'll have choices from paksiw to tinolang tilapia, to the rarely heard chicharong tilapia, pinaputukang tilapia to tilapura (tempurang tilapia).

An advice to those who are not used to eating this freshwater fish: Just take an initial bite. I assure you will be looking for more.

In one of the resorts, you will be treated to a song-and-dance performance from T'bolis in the area while you have your meal.

Take a walk or ride the "habal-habal"

I personally suggest taking a walk from Lake Lahit up to the zip line station, especially around 7:30 to 8:00 (the time the zip line operators start accepting riders) especially when you are a group. Even when the sun is high you don't have to worry of sun burn because you will be walking under the canopy of a forest.

"Habal-habal" (motor bikes) are the primary means of transportation within municipality. It's also the most convenient transport from the end of the zip line back to first station, unless you want to take the stairs (Let's talk about this later.)

Although to first-time riders, taking the "habal-habal" seems daunting, the you will be treated to a magnificent view of the lake as you travel through Lake Sebu's winding road. Drivers of these motor bikes would also assure you that the trip is safe.

Take the 774-step stairs

After taking the zip line, your most likely destination is Falls Number 2 where visitors stay the longest. The place is very ideal for taking pictures and for picnics. The area, however, is in one of the lowest part of the entire zip line park and everyone has to go back up the first station to where most vehicles are parked.

To go up, ride a habal-habal.

Or tighten your trainers' laces and take the breath-taking (literally) 774-step stairs. What's great about this route is you are climbing up via a forest, a natural habitat of monkeys. If your are lucky enough, these monkeys may walk by you.

Another advice: The route is very ideal for those who have strong lungs and those who have much time to trifle away. Those who have companions waiting for them in a vehicle at the parking lot are aadvised not to take the stairs because this really takes so much time, not only because of the long climb up but also because you will definitely enjoy what you will see and hear along the way.

The ultimate: RIDE THE ZIPLINE!

Your Lake Sebu experience is never an experience if you have not braved the Seven Falls Zipline!

Actually, you do not zip above all the seven falls. The first zip line starts just below Falls Number 1 -- a few meters above where the tallest Falls Number 2 drops – and ends below Falls Number 5.

Imagine flying 600 feet -- yes, 600 feet, the highest in Southeast Asia -- above waterfalls, a river and a verdant forest. It's exhilarating!

The first line is 700 meters long and takes about a minute to complete; the second line is only 400 meters long but the angle a little more steep that makes the travel faster.
Safe? Yes, it is. Ask the staff who straps you into your safety gears and the zipline and they will tell you, the zipline is capable of carrying a load of 20,000 kilograms.

By the way, when you travel to Lake Sebu bring your own camera, a lot of batteries and an extra memory. Not having photographs of your travel to the place is the most unfortunate thing to happen. (Dani Doguiles)

Post a Comment

  1. Indeed your write-ups about Lake Sebu is very inviting, but with all due respect Sir, it's so frustrating to see the photos you've attached/documented. By the way, I don't mean to insult your write-ups or your personal observation about the beauty of Lake Sebu. Well, in fact the real and true situation of Lake Sebu now is very crucial especially the water condition of the lakes and rivers even the natural resources and wild life at Lake Sebu. Does anyone invited you to swim at the lake? If none, because the lake is contaminated. For the sake of tourism marketing: It's so frustrating to see pictures that doesn't portray the "True and Real Condition of Lake Sebu"

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  2. omg. I would definitely try the boat ride... and the ZIPLINE! haha :)

    thanks for sharing :)

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  3. i want to try the zip line! i get excited thinking about the 600ft height and view...

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  4. Thanks for sharing this. It definitely inspires me to start exploring our country. Good one! Keep it up.

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  5. I've heard so much about Lake Zebu, but the falls! I'd certainly love to tour that place in Mindanao.

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  6. travelona ShoestringApr 21, 2012, 12:34:00 PM

    I so love the taste of the fresh and big tilapya that I tasted in Lake Sebu and I love the hospitality shown by everyone in Lake Sebu to me! Plus that's where I found the cheapest inn in the whole Philippines:-) Imagine I paid only Php 60.00 per bed per night saan ka pa?

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  7. South Cotabato news.com I visited Lake Sebu
    in the year 2008 prior to my graduation in college. I had great experience
    because of the bamboo line challenge, where you need to cross the bamboo line
    connected from the cottege and a pole. Crossing back and forth successfully and
    you got a one kilo fresh tilapia as a prize. The first time I attempted to
    cross I fell down and my gosh the water is so "malansa" because Lake
    Sebu serves as a fish breeding and growing ground...but on my second attempt I successfully crossed
    the bamboo line...and it didn't end there---umulit pa ako ng tatlong beses…so,
    what happened is that I fed my classmates with crispy tilapia for dinner---I
    can’t forget that experienced...I felt like I am a hero! Lol


    That time there was no zipline…I should be
    visiting this place back in November 2011 but our travel itinerary
    changed…instead of going there we went to Lake Apo in Valencia Bukidnon…a much
    more serene lake compared to this lake…

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  8. My uncle's motorcycle club used to go to this place. And they always told me how good it was and indeed he was so right by looking at your photos!  Zipline, falls hopping and sumptuous meal, what's more can you get!

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  9. stunning photos

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  10. Traveling MorionApr 21, 2012, 9:04:00 PM

    ganda ng Lake Sebu! interesting ung zipline plus the falls view, wish i could visit the place while i am here in mindanao

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  11. There is nothing I won't miss whenever I will go in this wonderful natural wonder called Lake Sebu. I also dream to capture the blossoming waterlilies on sunrise if given the chance.

    Truly, South Cotabato is the new destination :)

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  12. I need to exercise ata muna bago ako pumunta para ready sa 774 steps hehe

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  13. Wow. I never thought Cotabato could be so insanely beautiful!

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  14. oh that view certainly looks nice, it's relaxing and serene. Would love to go to that place.

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  15. Maria Estrella LedesmaApr 22, 2012, 12:28:00 AM

    I hope to visit Cotabato one day...how far is North Cotabato from Lake Sebu?

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  16. hi Maria Estrella Ledesma , Lake SEbu is just about 2hours away from Kidapawan City, the capital city of North Cotabato :)

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  17. The Dongon Falls look so angry and scary.
    As I scrolled down, I can't help but want Tilapia right now. :/

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  18. I have heard of Lake Sebu and the 774 Steps when my godparents went here a few years back. They invited us but we sadly turned them down because of work schedule. I really regret missing the opportunity to see God's wonderful creation in this part of the world. 

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  19. ang ganda.. ganda ganda!!! thanks ready na ako sa quiz! hehe

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  20. there's a lot of attractions which were added na rin pala sa lake sebu, love to experience them... missed their tilapia cooking, tagal na rin pala akong di nakabalik dito. thanks for sharing. Yahweh bless.

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  21. The way you wrote it, it's very inviting! I especially love this, "God was in his happiest moment when he created the flowers in Lake Sebu," :)

    I hope to see the lakes with my own eyes!

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  22. I love nature trippin'. This is a must see and try! ;)

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  23. How picturesque! I'm not so crazy about ziplines either. But with the lovely environment, I don't think I'd need to have any activity. I'd just want to settle by its shore and meditate on nature's beauty. :)

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  24. Ang ganda ng mg Falls ,srap magstay and enjoy the vaction to Lake Sebu. Sanan marami na lang tayong pera lahat to spend to this kind of relaxing place

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  25. as i read your post i feel i am so much closer to my dream of going to Lake Sebu!! well i actually should have been there last Holy Week but my friend who is from Cotabato went home earlier and I have lots of commitments! sad. Now I look forward to seeing the Falls, but can't have tilapia, scared of zipline and habal habal- haha

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  26. Philippines is fast changing these days. I saw a lot of beautiful places to go. 

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  27. wow sayang naman po.. anyway, looking forward of seeing you here maam.. 

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  28. I suggest you try the  zipline. It's  only scary  when  you being  prepared  for the  ride. Once  you  on top of the  second  falls, most likely  you'll only hear  yourself say "Ahh! Wow! Beautiful!  AND  YOU LONG  FOR ANOTHER RIDE. 

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  29. That was  my concern  when I first tried the 774  steps.  Maganda  kung  marami kayo para pwedeng  magpahinga  at  mag,enjoy sa tanawin

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  30. Wow, Lake Sebu seems like a really fun place to be! :D I haven't gone traveling in a while, and this sits on my bucket list since forever. Hopefully I get to enjoy nature tripping at Lake Sebu when my budget and schedule permit.

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  31. Lake Sebu is one of the beautiful places God made! love the place, people, culture and food! (^_^) <3

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