Lake Sebu is a rustic town nestled about 1000 metes above sea on the mountains of the Allah Valley region in South Cotabato. It bears the same name as the largest of the three lakes found there (Lake Sebu, Lake Seloton, and Lake Lahit). It is a favorite summer destination because of its cool climate and its idyllic setting.
My kids were particularly excited when I told them we are going to spend the weekend at Lake Sebu and see one of the major falls there (Thank God they love the outdoors too ... second to PSPs and Gameboys). I was pretty perked up too. As a young lad, I spent a good number of summer vacation days there with my dad but have not been able to spend more than a day there lately (work and other things got in the way). This will be the first time I'm going to experience Lake Sebu in the monsoon.
The area around Lake Sebu is the ancestral domain of the T'bolis - one of the indigenous people of Southern Mindanao. The T'bolis are known for their brass works and their tinalak - a cloth with beautiful geometric patterns woven from abaca fiber (Manila hemp). They are basically farmers and fisher folks (main industry of the town is tilapia farming).
Finding a place to stay in Lake Sebu is not hard especially in the off peak season. There are lake side resorts with modest huts and comfortable rooms to choose from.
I was expecting a moody weather and was not disappointed. Minutes after we arrived there, Mother Nature greeted us with a heavy downpour. As dusk falls, a soothing serenity settled on the place. The nearby mountains seemed to retreat farther as the fog creeps in to cover them for the night.
Along with the silence of twilight comes the soft (and very cool) evening breeze. I spent a few minutes savoring nature's daily gift of sunset colors on this floating platform before heading off to dinner (charcoal grilled tilapia - straight from the lake to the grill). Its a far cry from the hot and humid place we came from just a few hours ago.
How to get there
There are daily flights from Cebu/Manila to General Santos City
1. From General Santos take a bus to Koronadal City (65 km, 80 pesos). There are aircon and non aircon buses.
2. From Koronadal take a bus (on the same bus terminal) to Surallah (30+ km, 25 pesos).
3. From Surallah take a van to Lake Sebu (30+ km, 30 pesos).
Common transportation within the town are motorcycles (called habal habal by the locals) that can accommodate 4-5 persons. The riding experience is at par with that of a roller coaster ride if you are careening down a bumpy rough road on board one.