Can you count how many are the words "lake" in the title? That is the number of lakes in the town called Lake Sebu. The town bears the name as of the largest of the 3 lakes there (the 3rd one is called Lake Lahit).
Lake Sebu may be the more popular of the 3 lakes, but Lake Seloton bears the distinction of having the best POV (point of view) for sunrise. An enterprising local put up a rustic resort on the western bank and aptly named it Sunrise Garden Lake Resort.
I visited the place last year but went there in the afternoon due to time constraints. I vowed to return again for the sunrise if an opportunity arises. And one did, last Maundy Thursday, when a fellow photography enthusiast expressed interest to spend the day in Lake Sebu.
We were already on the road by 3:30AM Thursday morning. My home town of Koronadal is about 40 km from Lake Sebu and it will take us about 45 minutes to reach Lake Sebu via snaking mountain roads. Lake Seloton is another 2km of rough road from Lake Sebu town proper.
By 4:30 AM we were already in front of the closed gate of the Sunrise Garden, honking our horn. Thankfully my friend's wife knew the resort owners. Soon we were inside the resort, scouting for a good location. I opted for one just beyond their cottages, a few meters outside the property boundary.
As dawn breaks one could see that the place manifest the very essence of the word "serenity". It was as if everything stood still, cherishing the start of a new day.
Even the lotus flowers and lilies of the lake seemed frozen. Without a morning breeze, there's not a ripple on the lake. The air was fresh and cool since the place is situated 1000 metes above sea on the mountains of the Allah Valley region (South Cotabato, southern Mindanao).
The lakeside stirred into activity as the sun rose over the hills on the eastern side of the lake. Folks went around, on their dugout canoe, doing their daily chores of tending to the fish pens (tilapia).
We saw some locals casting their nets near the shore. A group of kids pulling their net gamely posed for a couple of snaps.
The place is also teeming with wild life. We saw hawks and egrets (some Lesser and Cattle Egrets) fishing for a free meal near the pens. Although the owners of the fish pens are not particularly excited to see egrets and hawks delving inside their pens, they usually just leave the birds alone.
Cattle egrets looking for a free meal
And for our breakfast? Fried tilapia, freshly caught from one of the pens.
A closer encounter with the 2nd falls. Aside from the 3 lakes, the town is also blessed with countless streams and falls, just a few minutes ride and/or hike from each other. The 7 major cascading falls used to be known simply as the 7 Falls, now its called Dongon 7 Falls most probably in the interest of commerce (only Falls 1 and 2 are easily accessible to tourists). The Dongons are supposedly the interim caretakers the area, others would claim otherwise. What ever the case is, it is their name that is on the billboards now.