I’ve travelled to some of the lakes in the Philippines and Lake Holon has been my favorite lakes of all time. There’s more to experience and see when you get there that even a picture can’t give justice to its innate beauty. I’ve heard a lot of beautiful things about this Lake way back before and until now I have a little regret that I didn’t go there before. Just this year when I had my 10days solo backpacking in Central Mindanao, I finally take the chance to visit Lake Holon for the first time. I couldn’t elucidate how I got myself in awe as I’ve viewed the lake like as if, I’m gazing at the beautiful painting executed in fresco. Truly, mother nature never fails to amaze me.
Lake Holon or formerly known as Lake Maughan is marked as the cleanest lake in Region 12 and one of the National finalist in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and ranked first in the 2003 and 2004 search for the inland bodies of water in the whole Philippines archipelago. The crater lake has an area of 304 hectares and more or less at an elevation of 4,700 feet above sea level and had a turquoise clear water, free from trash and dirt and offers panoramic view that will surely give you a pure bliss and tranquility. The place is actually a perfect spot in wherever angle you want for a photo shoot, it’s like a 3D scene as your backdrop.
THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE DECIDING TO TRAVEL TO LAKE HOLON.
1. Contact the Tboli Tourism office before going there since you require a reservation beforehand. TBOLI TOURISM OFFICE CONTACTS: Website: http://www.facebook.com/LAKEHOLON. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . Mobile Numbers: +63- 912-4731-515 or +63-912-7204-151
2. In order for you to get to Lake Holon, you have to ride an almost one hour of Motorcycle from the Tboli Tourism Office going to the jump off area. As shortly as you arrived at the jump off area you need to have an orientation by group, conducted by a well dressed and beautiful Tboli girl on her Tboli attire. It is by then the time where they explain the two trails going to Lake Holon, what to see and what to expect.
3. Since you need to pay for a tour guide and if happen you travel solo to Lake Holon, you can join the other group of traveler to save from your travel guide fee. The tour guide for Kule Trail is PHP 600/group 1-10 person and for the SALACAFE trail is PHP 300/group 1-10 person.
4. You better start trekking as early as possible so you won’t meet the heavy rain on the way, especially if you travel to the following months: August, September, October, November and December.
5. Pack light, simply bring the necessary things during your trip or you’ll end up paying 20PHP per kilo if you’re going to request for a porter to bring your things.
6. The Kule trail is really challenging, especially if you don’t have any experience in trekking so you might as well prepare if you’re going to Lake Holon.
7. Lake Holon is not an easy drop by spot where you can go there in the morning and depart in the afternoon. You really have to stay overnight if you desire to experience the amazing innate beauty of Lake Holon.
8. Bring your own tent, food, water and necessary utensils. Also bring flashlight, power bank for your gadgets, make sure your camera is fully charged, please do not forget to bring your jacket cause you need it badly at night.
9. You need a tarpaulin to cover your tent because it will rain anytime during the nighttime. You can rent when you arrived at Lake Holon for PHP150 good for 2 tents and PHP100 for one tent.
10. During my visit there were actually some who are not responsible for their garbage. Please make certain to bring your garbage bag and be responsible enough. I likewise noticed that there were some campers who left plastics of their shampoo, toothpaste and other garbages near the flowing water which is really a big NO.
11. Please just enjoy whatever our mother nature provides, but never forget to take good care of it.
THERE ARE 2 AVAILABLE TRAILS GOING TO LAKE HOLON.
1. KULE TRAIL
The Kule trail is the difficult trail, but will surely be a worthy of your choice. You’ll get the chance to see the panoramic vista of Lake Holon. A 3-4 hour hikes depend on the pace of the traveler’s through the most beautiful parts of the forest going to Lake Holon. You’ll get to pass by on 5 different stations before arriving at the stunning beauty of Lake Holon, and the camping site area. You’ll start to see a bunch of beautiful and well grown trees while the most awaited scenery is resting on its innate state lies ahead of you. You have to reach the 4th station in order for you to have the full view of the Lake which is the viewing deck.
2. SALACAFE TRAIL
The SALACAFE trail is an easy trail, but you won’t be seeing the panoramic vista of the Lake. The trail will also take you roughly 3-4 hours of hikes depending on the pace of the traveler. You’ll get to see the small portion of the lake leading to the camping site, but not the full wide view of it compared to the Kule trail. You’ll as well see a bunch of big trees and the trail is spacious and a safe choice if you haven’t tried trekking before.
So which trail is the best choice if you go to Lake Holon?
Personally, I’m not into trekking, but I have various experiences in climbing a mountain. What I did was, I took the Kule trail when I made my way to Lake Holon to see the panoramic vista of the lake and I didn’t regret that I did. On my way back to the Jump off area, I took the SALACAFE trail since I desired to try and experience both trails. This is what other travelers do when they travel to Lake Holon.
These are the exciting activities that you should do in Lake Holon.
4. ATV Adventure
5. Water sports lake tour
6. Water sports Kayaking
7. Horseback riding
It was two weeks after I visited Lake Holon, the Municipality of Tboli has imposed a new rate of fees and charges of tourism facilities and services.
ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO PREPARE AND POSSIBLE EXPENSES.
General Santos City to Koronadal City- PHP75
Koronadal City to Tboli- PHP100
Entrance Fee – PHP100
Environmental Fee – PHP 50
Ground Rental at the Camping Site – PHP100
Tourism Office to Jump off point (motorcycle good for 2) – PHP450
Food – PHP300
Travel Guide Fee (Kule Trail guide good for 10 person) – PHP600
Note: If you travel alone, you can join with other travelers to save some money like what I did.
Boat rides going to the Camp site – PHP50
Receiving area to the Tourism office (motorcycle good for 2)- PHP350
Tarpaulin to cover the tent –PHP100
TOTAL EXPENSES IF YOU TRAVEL ALONE –PHP2,275
TOTAL EXPENSES IF YOU TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS (8person) PHP1,350
NOTE: PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.
Sample Itinerary from the Tboli tourism Office to Lake Holon and going back to the Tboli Tourism Office.
8:00 AM – ETA at the Tboli Tourism Office
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Registration at the Tboli tourism Office and paying of necessary Fees.
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM – Travel time from the Tboli tourism office to the Jump Off Area.
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM – Preparation for the challenging trek and Orientation at the Jump Off area.
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – An estimated 4 hour trek going to the Camping site of Lake Holon (Depend on the pace of the traveler’s).
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Arrival at the Camping site while having some rest and enjoy the stunning innate beauty of Lake Holon.
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM – Setting up of tent and necessary things
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Enjoying the natural beauty of the Lake and making friends with other travelers and campers. This is also the time to do the exciting activities provided in Lake Holon.
5:00 PM – 6: 30 PM – Preparing for Dinner
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM- Dinner Time
7:30 PM – 10: 00 PM – Bonfire and bonding with your friends and other campers.
10:00 PM – 5:30 AM – Rest and let your jaded body fell into a deep slumber.
5:00 AM – 5:30 AM – Wake up call
5:30 AM – 6: 30 AM – Waiting for the sunrise and have your unlimited photographs.
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM – Preparing of breakfast and have your coffee.
7:30 AM – 8:00 AM – Breakfast
8:00 AM – 9-30 AM – Swimming and fixing your thing including your tent and other stuff.
9:30AM – 10:00 AM – Preparing for a trek going to the receiving area (SALACAFE trail)
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Trekking from Lake Holon to the receiving area, taking the SALACAFE trail ( Depend on the pace of the traveler’s)
2:00 PM – 2:30- Arrival at the receiving area and have some rest before going back to the Tboli Tourism office.
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Traveling going back to the Tboli Tourism Office and as soon as you reached there, you’ll be granted a certificate issued by a Tboli Tourism Office as your proof that you have conquered the challenging trek to Lake Holon.
HOW TO GET TO LAKE HOLON FROM GENERAL SANTOS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Major Airlines are flying to General Santos City almost every day. From General Santos City International Airport, ride a van going to SM for only PHP150 fare. As you reach SM, ride a tricycle going to Bulaong Terminal and fare is PHP10. 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. As you arrived in Koronadal City, travel straight to the Van Terminal and take the one that bound to Tboli. Asked the driver to take you directly to the tourism office in Tboli, since it’s a bit close to a Tboli Terminal. The travel time is around 45 minutes to an hour and the fare is PHP100.