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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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January 15, 2010

lake sebu's enduring beauty and charm

While the rest are still sleeping
Serene morning in Lake Seloton

Lake Sebu: the land of the 3 lakes and the 7 falls. It is a place that abounds in natural beauty,  culture, and tradition.

Lake Sebu is home to the T'boli and Ubo tribes. The small municipality, located on the mountains on the north of the Allah Valley, is blessed with three lakes (Lake Sebu, Lake Seloton, and Lake Lahit) and countless springs, and majestic waterfalls, seven of which are cascading on the same river system (thus named the Seven Falls).

Whitewater Rush
pristine river system

I grew up in a town about 30 kilometers from Lake Sebu and was able to frequent the place at an early age. After several decades, nothing much has change in this quiet town. Progress, the (destructive) kind we know of, crept.

Mt. Matutum bathed in golden light at sunrise

Visiting the place is always a treat. The sinuous mountain road offers great view of the valley below. If your timing is perfect, you'd see the sun peeking behind Mt. Matutum (the province's iconic peak) at sunrise.

Lake Sebu First Falls
Hikong Alu, the first falls

Lake Sebu's natural beauty remains (relatively) pristine. Although lately the provincial governmenthas constructed zip lines in the vicinity of the second falls. One runs downstream from the first falls and passes the drop of the second falls on the way to a hill on the other side of the glen. In the process they have to clear the hill of some trees and also managed to "pollute" the scenery of the second falls. Weird sense of "eco-tourism".

Seloton Morning Fisherfolks
fisherfolks in dugout canoes

Progress has not affected the T'boli's idyllic way of living. Farming and fishing remain to be the main source of livelihood. Their method of fishing and farming had not change much.

Polishing the T'nalak cloth
polishing the T'nalak

The indigenous culture is alive and well. The T'boli's made sure their arts and crafts are not lost. Songs, dances, and the art of weaving T'nalak are passed down from generation to generation.

Divina Man Clarang
Divina Man Clarang, the youngest of the master dreamweavers

I met the youngest dreamweaver (as one book calls the T'nalak master weavers because the patterns they weave are inspired by their dreams) during one of my visits. At the young age of 12, Divina was already producing astounding T'nalak with complex design patterns.

The Magic Hour
sunset by the lake

Lake Sebu is being actively promoted as an eco-tourism destination nowadays.. I just hope that with the influx of outsiders the town's beauty and charm, which had endured for years, will continue to do so for decades more.

More on Lake Sebu:
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sakura said...

Hello, thanks for showing these beauty. I managed to go there and interview some folks, took pictures too, but they're nowhere near your shots...may I use some for my paper??? Please... (with icecream on top)...

Megan, Life Revamped said...

thanks for sharing our rich culture!


have a great weekend!
Come watch the sky with me!
Happy Weekend ahead!


Lantaw said...

@sakura, you can use some ;)

@fickleinpink, my pleasure :)

Unknown said...

breathtaking! each photo is a feast to the eyes. the youngest dreamweaver is a beautiful girl--such a lovely portrait.

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

my god, hands down the best photo blogger i've seen. each shot is perfect. i just want to know what's your camera? and i will for sure link you, every post ang ganda sooobra tol! nabilib talaga ako, sobrang inspiring.. are you contributing now to lonely planet or national geographic? you should! for sure kuha lahat ng photos mo! galing! Wow!!!

Lantaw said...

Thanks luna!

pinoy boy journals, im current using an old Nikon D50 :). Glad to have inspired you :)

witsandnuts said...

I regret that I missed going there the last time I went to the south. Your photos are great!

Sidney said...

Superb photography... it all looks like paradise.

Sylvia K said...

It does indeed look like paradise! Your photos are truly breathtaking as always! Such stunning colors and such interesting information you have shared! Absolutely the best! Thank you for sharing the beauty! Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

Wow! What great photography. I especially like Mt. Matutum.


Jim said...

It's all so beautiful.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Anonymous said...

agree with the above posts. your blog has by far, the best travel photos i've seen in the pinoy blogging community. i love how each photo in this entry tells a story.

thank you for inspiring me and the rest to keep looking at the wonderful marvels we have here in the phil. keep up the good work!


wow! nice photography! i love lake sebu and its awesome tilapia. one of the best tilapia delicacies i've tasted in the mindanao. :0

Oman said...

i would love to go back there and explore more. awesome photography. tatak-lantaw.

Lindz said...

so beautiful bphotos especially teh above, the falls is just magical and the lady she is very beautiful

Photo Cache said...

Outstanding shots, you are really very talented.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

love the first shot with the lilly pads on the water and the beautiful reflections...it's awesome.
all the captures are very, very wonderful.

Regina said...

I love to see this place.
Beuituful captures.
Thanks for sharing.

the spool artist said...

wow, i can;t believe it's still as gorgeous as ever! i first came here when i was in high school after a photography competition in koronadal... and i still remember clearly what a magical place this was! oh, i really ought to consider going back here with my wife and kid! thanks for posting this, lantaw... and amazing photography! they need to be in national geographic and conde nast travel!

Lianne said...

these are FANTASTIC shots! makes me so proud of our beautiful country :)


Anonymous said...

awesome! simply gorgeous photos! =)

Ar-wee-der-yet said...

ganda! parang ang sarap mag soul searching dito sa lake sebu kse very tranquil and you are very far away from the noise of the city.

dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

Superb photography though my favorites are the first and the third photo.
I don't like that this place be "commercialized" as a sign of progress. I'd rather that this place be keep in its original state. If just for the sake of tourism, an eco-trail here maybe okay but zipline? That's already too much. Why do they have to incorporate sports activities in this very solemn place when what visitors are supposed to do here is to appreciate and commune with nature?
As a travel photographer and nature lover, I'm always happy to have seen places not yet visited by commercial tourists. Once tourism is not handled properly, it will just simply ruin the place...
So, despite the influx of commercial tourists, I hope that Lake Sebu will be maintained in its original state...

lakwatsera de Primera said...

as always amazing pictures! I love the effect of the Mt. Matutum

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

I always tell myself to go there and then I get distracted again just like my last trip to the Philippines. As always, you captured Lake Sebu in the best light!

Lantaw said...

@dodong, South Cotabato's provincial government is jumping on the "eco-tourism" bandwagon, without really figuring out its effects. I think all they see are the pesos signs

bertN said...

Beautiful! I wish I can fish there someday. Maski walang mahuli OK na rin, I'll just sit tight and enjoy the scenery.

Chyng said...

super gorgeous shots as always.

Peter said...

Such a gorgeous shot! Forgive me but where is Lake Sebu?

Lantaw said...

@Peter - Lake Sebu is in South Cotabato, a province in southern Mindanao

Lakwatsarah said...

Lake Sebu photos never fail to amaze me. I'm missing it badly! You might want to take a look at the newest lake resort accommodation, the Balben Family Cove, on your next visit.

For me, Lake Sebu is a haven for photo bloggers and travelers alike. Let's continue supporting Lake Sebu's tourism but hope that government leaders will not allow it's scenic beauty be sacrificed just for the sake of commercialization.

SiomaiPhoto said...

the scent of a freshly grilled lake sebu tilapia - that is what i remember most in this place.

you have captured well the beauty of this place.

beautiful photos man.

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