My two little feet in the paradise of: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato


An armed conflict, the dissonance between what we are told and what we witness with our own eyes continuous racked by religious disunion, political and civil discord, the unending warfare between the Armed forces of the Philippines and subsisting horrendous local groups. These few reasons are holding us back to not even set are feet in the land of promise, the Mindanao”. But a life without experiencing Mindanao is completely incomplete.

A well known lovely place in Mindanao is knocking my heart. The sleepy little Baguio Of Southern Mindanao, the Lake Sebu.
Lake Sebu is nestled in the mountainous land of South Cotabato, home of endemic people like T’boli, Ubo and some B’laan tribes and becoming widely known for their eco-tourism and adventure destination in Southern Mindanao.

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Lake Sebu is also known for its majestic cascading falls, enchanting lakes, mountains, springs, rivers and with its interesting culture, and rich in biodiversity. Immersing myself to this beautiful paradise is totally exciting.

A dusky evening and the cloying sound of evening species was a way of nature to welcome me as I traipse my two little feet in the paradise of Lake Sebu. Habal-Habal driver is virtually everywhere, so my way to Punta Isla lake resort was made easy. An overnight stay in the said resort was completely relaxing since I experienced the wooden room under the thatched ceiling.

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The sun climbs up and slowly spreading its bright light over the hills, lakes, clouds and inviting me to wake up and go out from my crib to amble around the resort. And so I did, the resort is facing the beautiful lake sebu, water lily’s floating on the lake, slowly showing their broad flowers and it was beautiful and lovely.

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A trip to 7 falls is the highlight of my expedition, without any second thought I ride a habal-habal, for this is the most convenient means to explore the town. The 7 falls in Brgy. Siloton is the prominent electrifying adventures to never miss. From the name itself, it consists of 7 majestic cascading falls. The two waterfalls are easily accessible to tourist while some require heavy trekking. But the best way to view these waterfalls is by riding a Zip-line that passes above five of them.

The first falls have a bridge-view deck, merely if you want to go closer, you just have to walk a little.
The first falls known as “Hikong Alo” in T’boli dialect, signifying the passage. It takes in a height of 35-feet, with an extensive brink, and single wide tiered waterfalls.

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The enticing Zip-line with a picturesque panorama of other falls and the thrilling experience is somehow you shouldn’t try to miss.
Leading down to the second falls has 3 options. Take the Zip-line, drive down the road, or you’ll take the 700++ stair steps leading down.

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Later on the exhilarating Zip-line experienced, a few meters walk going closer to the second falls known as “Hikong benti” in T’boli dialect, meaning Immeasurable. Is a 70 feet tall of stately flowing waters and the powerful and a roaring sound was just superb. It was extremely immeasurable.
Another day filled with thrill, fun, exciting and frolic. Another experienced to treasure always.

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Immerge in the rich culture of T’boli.

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HOW TO GET THERE

General Santos City is the usual jump off point to Lake Sebu. From General Santos City’s Bulaong Terminal, ride a nonstop bus (Yellow Bus Line), bound to Marbel (Koronadal City). The travel time is around 1 hour and PHP75 fare. Upon arriving at Marbel terminal, ride a bus going to Surallah with a Php35 fare and half an hour of travel time. At Surallah terminal, ride a Van going to Lake Sebu and has a 45 minutes of travel and Php45 of fare.

GOING AROUND LAKE SEBU
Habal-Habal or motorbike is the primary mode of transportation around the town, minimum fare is PHP15 or you can rent a motorbike for your convenience that’s roughly around Php200-300, depend on the places you want to visit.

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN LAKE SEBU.

TRAVEL TIPS:

  • Mobile signal of a major network is safe.
  • No ATM in the town, bring cash with you.
  • Big Hotels/Resorts accept Debit/Credit card.
  • People are good and very kind.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich culture of T’boli and learn their history as well. I advise you to learn some basic T’boli words. 
  • Please don’t leave your garbages anywhere, be responsible enough.
  • There’s more to visit in Lake Sebu, if only you have time, I suggest you to ask the Locals and explore some of their hidden paradise. 

The Boracay of the North: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte


The sheeny morning cascaded in through curtains drawn to one side, heralding another picture-perfect day of fun, exciting and frolic. This hilarity was set in a surrounding as special as it was beautiful and lovely, framed by a background of clear blue sea and turquoise water, in the heart of a tropical slice of paradise in “Pagudpud.

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Pagudpud is located in Northern tip of Luzon, A 2-3 hours of travel from Loag City proper. Facing on the huge blue water with western Philippine Sea and catching place of strong winds and big waves.

A Pure bliss as I carelessly tread my two little feet along a lengthy stretch of white powdery sand in Pagudpud. The sea breeze slowly kissing my skin, the deep cold wave slowly snapping my lap, the perfect weather as the king sun cheerfully giving bright light during the day, the clouds above were orderly on their right place, people were elated on their vacation as they make their time most memorable and pure. And hence I am.

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I’m not very fond of water activities such as: swimming, diving and etc. But I’m very fond of gazing to natural wonders and being at peace with nature.
Breathing deeply, closing my eyes for a moment, widely stretching my arms as if I received gifts  from above like I can’t bring them all with my sturdy arms and just enjoy it. It was the best quiet time I had so far, it’s like everything is in equal, in one accord and harmonically complete.

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My driver told me about the overlooking spot near the zip line of Hannah’s Beach Resort.  Just as we worked our way to Bangui windmills I insist to drop by and check the overlooking view. I stepped on a resembling green grass that spreads over the whole place, I saw the factitious Helicopter as if it just landed in the area.

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The wide surface laid out in an expanded position is the immense scenery of blue ocean with the strong wind biffing on my skin and the verdant mountains fronting the west Philippine sea.

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The scene was exactly like the one in New Zealand,  splendid with its natural beauty and refreshing.
This has really made my day. Thanking God for all the beautiful nature that he created and this was one of the best scenic views that my eyes behold.

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Paoay Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site.


“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

Down to the Northern part of the Philippines,  a prominent world heritage site is perfectly nestled in a vast flattened land area surrounded with humongous and aged Acacia trees  and a ravishing garden park creates the  Paoay Church, a UNESCO world heritage site, a National treasure and a pride of every Filipino.

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Paoay Church, a UNESCO world heritage site

It was a bright beaming day, above were clouds freely dispersed, foliage of trees are swaying as the breeze blew gently, tourist were busy taking pictures, seeking for the best angle of their photography and I was there gazing to the fascinating Paoay Churh.

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foliage of trees are swaying as the breeze blew gently

Before going closely to the Church, I had reposed with my butt kissing the long edge of a wooden chair. Still I can’t believe that I’m finally facing the renowned Paoay Church where I only saw it in Magazines, television, and in Social networking site before. A quietude done and I slowly walking closely to the Church, I went inside to Pray and thanking God for everything that He has done for me, for now and even for things that haven’t happen yet.

I went outside and continue gazing on the external design of the Church. All detailed angles has its own way of conveying the historical message. The strength, authenticity and the solidity of the people of Paoay.

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A few meters away from the church, around 2-3 minutes of walk, is the famous signature pinakbet pizza. A flattened baked bread dough spread with a savory mixture of healthy vegies such as, pumpkin, eggplant, string bean, ladies finger, bitter gourd, cheese and the secret flavor they have will make your trip to Paoay, Ilocos Norte a worth remembering and one of a kind.

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The next big thing in Carmen: Mangitngit Falls


Seeing God’s wonderful creation is always a blessing, discovering them is a task to do, sharing them is my way of praising and thanking Him for everything that He has done.

It’s another unwonted day for me, my feet isn’t comfortable and shelling out for usual stuff is like a day full of dark forbidding sky. Without second thought I made myself ready and grab my not so hefty bag and live another exciting day ahead. My destination? Off to the North part of the island of Cebu, the sleepy town of Carmen.

What’s in store for me there is an off-beaten destination and an abandoned natural wonder, (I was infact was lost myself during this trip)  yes you heard it right.

Going to Mangitngit falls is like clothing yourself in forest, the frosty breeze kissing your skin, the lushing forestland, the cloying sound of birds is mollifying you, the excitement and the feeling of being lost. Wait— why I’m lost? The habal-habal driver told me that the waterfalls was closed since 2007 due to the accident of students during their beer and skittles day. (Sorry to hear about it).

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A high sense of excitement is knocking my heart, tingling over the thought that we’ve lost our way there. It was raining during that time, a bumpy road and bouncy ride was just perfect for me. It was very muddy and the backbreaking trek is inviting me.

The sludge sticking on my shoe’s and my thought is flying and asking where to go. But I and my driver continue to trek, we made our own way, bending the high grass above us to clear the way and paying attention to a roaring sound of the river thinking, that we’re almost there.

After a challenging trek, the Mangitngit falls was so cooperative, we finally found it. There was this little space to step on. A cluster of big stem of tress and a parcel of soil on it, just enough to place my feet, swerving the  leafy bud to take  photo and gazing to the natural beauty of the waterfalls.

If there was way down, I would have closer encounter to the lovely and earsplitting sound. So sad that it’s not allowed to go down but anyway better safe than goodbye.

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I left Mangitngit falls of Carmen with a sweet grin marking my face,another memories to treasure and another experienced to share.

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Going there 

From North bus terminal going to Carmen is like more than one hour of travel. Take any bus heading to Northern Cebu and drop by at Super Metro Supermarket Carmen.

From there, ride a habal-habal going to Mangitngit falls. (Make sure to haggle the price. I paid Php200.00 thats for back and forth ).

Thank you Everyone! Till next time again.

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