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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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July 30, 2008

dongon falls, lake sebu

One of the many attractions in the sleepy lakeside town of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is the series of 7 majestic falls collectively called the "Dongon 7 Waterfalls" or simply "Seven Falls" (there is some confusion as to which of the falls is really called the "Dongon Falls"). The falls and its related river system passes through the hectares of land under the care of the Dongon family (pronounced as "don-gon" and not as "do-ngon").

2nd Falls as seen from afar

I hiked here with my dad decades ago. There was no dirt road back then and we had to slash our way through dense undergrowth. I remembered passing through a bamboo forest with really huge bamboo trees. Nowadays there is a passable road (still rough but passable) going down to the 2nd falls. Its downhill all the way to the falls, with a deep ravine to your left and a mountain wall to your right.

Now its my turn to bring my kids there, on board a habal-habal (motorcycle). Since its monsoon, rainfall is much more frequent (considering the area is already in a rain forest!). The road is very slippery with mud and the rocks/stones are loose (we had to walk some sections of the road). It made the ride more thrilling - the thrill you get with roller coasters. My wife was pretty scared but the kids absolutely loved it :).

Jaila and Jacen
Jaila and Jacen love the outdoors too!

The area near the falls is covered with mist from the spray of the falls. It was a challenge getting near and getting a decent shot. Most of the time my filter is covered with droplets. Lighting is also very tricky - sunny for few seconds then suddenly overcast and drizzling without notice.

White Water Rush
Raging waters, mud colored during the monsoon.

The falls is much tamer during the summer and the water much clearer. The provincial government has developed the surrounding areas of the 2nd falls. There are established walkways and as I was hiking up (to ease the load on the motorcycle hehe) I passed by a winding stairway being constructed near the top of the falls.

Of the 7 waterfalls, the 1st and the 2nd are the most accessible. The first being just a few minutes hike from the fork near the 2nd falls.

Name Game

So which one exactly, of the seven falls, is called the Dongon Falls? Well the series of falls is actually referred to as the "Dongon 7 Falls". There used to be huge sign board at the start of the trail, bearing that name, that shows directions to the 2nd falls for hikers.

Of the two accessible falls, Falls #1 is in much closer proximity to the Dongons' house. There was no man made structures in Falls #2 before. Naturally hikers (and bloggers) came to refer to Falls #1 as the Dongon Falls and simply call the other Falls #2, Falls #3, etc.

Bridge to 2nd Falls

Nowadays, its the Falls #2 which is being "aggresively developed" by the provincial government. Its the tallest and most majestic of the 7. The area around 2nd falls is much more "roomy" - which means they can put up cottages and I heard they even plan to build a swimming pool nearby. A real eco-disaster in the making.

The 2nd falls has now become the "face" of the Dongon Falls as seen from travel brochures and huge ad boards.

More photos here

Nowadays the each of the 7 falls have official and politically correct T'boli names (see this post: http://lantaw.blogspot.com/2009/04/lake-sebu-falls-2-up-close.html
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Anonymous said...

Ei Allan! Cute ng mga anak mo. Nice to see Lake Sebu and that falls again. Naku, thanks for the clarification. The Dongon family themselves kasi told us about their falls, I guess for tourism recognition mas maganda na me me pangalan yung bigger falls na yun instead of just saying Falls 2. I like the misty weather shots when you were there. Sana makabalik kami, I still remember we have a pending invitation from the Dongons themselves to stay at their resort.

Lantaw said...

thanks bai Ferdz! actually even now there is no official name for the falls (or the 7 falls for that matter). even the locals have conflicting versions. but it looks like the second falls is the runaway favorite destination and eventually the name will stick to it.

next time you visit hike up to Traangkini falls (the source of the waters in Lake Sebu, been there once before my photography days). Also the best vantage point to get a shot of the lake is at Brgy Tasiman

Anonymous said...


this is very nice! your photos of the falls are captivating. the place is enchanting. this is one place i should add to my list of places to go to.

Lantaw said...

@daniel - thanks bro! Lake Sebu is a great place to visit all year round.

lagal[og] said...

thanks bai for sharing these lovely images. naku, an eco-disaster in the making nga kung matuloy ang kanilang balak. i have no misgivings sa development. kadalasan lang talaga kasi, sumosobra eh. nasisira ang ganda nung lugar.

Lantaw said...

@oggie - oo nga bai. Developing the place is one thing, turning it into a resort is another. they should promote eco tourism. I against the swimming pool too. A canopy walk would be much better. thanks bai!

escape said...

ganda ng mga kuha bro. akala ko lake lang talaga yung makikita sa lake sebu area.

Lake Sebu is a great place to visit all year round.>>> talaga? ganda nga talaga dyan. sabi nga din ni oman, ito daw talaga yung isa sa magandang puntahan sa pinas.

Lantaw said...

@dom - thanks bro! yup all year round. actually mas gusto ko dun pag rainy season. malamig, maganda ang greens at maraming moods ang pwde i pakita ng Lake Sebu. Lake Sebu is definite one of Philippine's best travel destination.

The Islander said...

beautiful! i wanna go there.. whew!

its good that they developed the place. the concrete trail added beauty to the scenery.

Lantaw said...

@the islander - visit lake sebu one of these days bro. you wont be disappointed. thanks for dropping by.

Oman said...

allan, dapat pala nabasa ko itong post mo bago ko pumunta doon last year para mas marami ako nakita. i have never been to falls # 2. doon lang sa falls # 1 ako napunta.

it's a good thing na rin na i have not explored everything there 'coz i am planning to go back there soon.

p.s. and galing, idol ko ikaw at lahat ng nagcomment sayo sa post na to ah.

Lantaw said...

bro oman! the other falls are challenging to explore to. If you have time bro explore Traangkini falls or take a photo of Lake Sebu from Tasiman.

Maraming salamat bro! Idol ko rin kayong lahat! I hope I will be able to travel with you sometime. Sama ka kay Dom sa Cagbalete?

Anonymous said...

ang ganda pala ng falls... i went to lake sebu but i wasn't able to visit the falls.. had i known eh nagpumilit sana ako na pumunta dun.. hmmm..

Lantaw said...

balik lang ulit dun sweet :) thanks for the visit!

Anonymous said...

i have seen the photos and they're so amazing, especially siguro dahil ikaw ang kumuha ng mga shots (u made it perfect in my eyes), pag ba pumunta kami don, there are places where to stay, i mean accomodations where to sleep, kasi bka 1 day is not enough for us to roam the beauty spots... thanks, for giving me an idea where to go...

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous - Lake Sebu is a "resort town" and there is no shortage of places to stay. There are lake side resorts and home stay accommodations (I wrote about a T'boli homestay accommodation here: http://lantaw.blogspot.com/2009/04/lake-sebu-tboli-homestay.html).

Thank you very much for dropping by. If you need more details you may email me at aebarredo[at]gmail.com

eulisa said...

hello! this is weng.. well, just want to congratulate you for taking the photos of 7 falls.. breathtaking talaga ang lugar. I've been there just a month ago.. pinaka best experience ko dun is when i took up the 774 steps to reach falls #2.. sana nakunan mo din yung hagdanan..very nice..

Anonymous said...

pls show some video of 7 falls of lake sebu.sana pakita ang 7falls

Anonymous said...

hi guys need your help.. paano po pupunta sa 7 falls from Gen. san?

Anonymous said...

i luv my place! jareal_pril19@yahoo.com

bleach lee cabayao said...

.,very nice place/

jeornette said...

actually the dongon falls meron ng zipline!! i love it makikita mo tlga yong 7 falls sa itaas
try nyo!!

Lantaw said...

@jeornette, yes meron. Check out my most recent posts on lake sebu. This one is almost 3 years ago

Anonymous said...

I visited the 2nd falls through walking. the rest no more because it was already late in the afternoon... I'm planning to be there this week end...

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