I was only 15 years old when I first got to know of a place called Lake Sebu. I went there on an Earth Science class field trip to conduct a field laboratory study that involves analyzing soil and water conditions of the lake and its surroundings. I don’t remember what the analyses were, but I remember that Lake Sebu and the Seven Falls are sights of awe and wonder, a place for tranquility and a paradise of enchantment.
So when the opportunity to see Lake Sebu came, 15 years after, I got excited. The opportunity came with a free lunch. Literally. The excitement doubled.
From General Santos City, we took a 2-hour drive through the National Highway past the municipalities of Polomolok, Tupi and the City of Koronadal. It was my first time to enter the inner (and upper) side of Koronadal as most of the time, I only see the city from a two-way perspective: the left and the right sides of its wide national highway. We then drove up further to the upper Alah valley municipalities of Banga and Surallah before finally reaching the quaint little municipality of Lake Sebu.
Lake Sebu is a 564-hectare natural lake sitting at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level. It is also the name of the municipality whose entire 92,450 hectare land area is proclaimed as a protected watershed area by the national government. There are two more lakes in Lake Sebu (the municipality) – there’s a small lake called Lake Lahit, which is the first lake to welcome visitors of Lake Sebu. The other one is Lake Seloton, reputedly the deepest of the three lakes. Lake Sebu, of course is the biggest among the three. The T’boli and Ubo tribes are natives of the area.
We had our lunch in Punta Isla Lake Resort. It was more of a feast actually, where everything served was a tilapia-inspired dish. Lake Sebu is known for its sweet and juicy tilapias. We had the floating restaurant all to ourselves. The highlight of the meal was not the meal itself but the glimpse of T’boli culture shared to us by young T’boli folks through their drum (made of real deer skin), kulintang, and several meaningful ritual dances that include a monkey dance. We were told that T’bolis believe that monkeys are our ancestors, that is why they are revered.
I had a great time in Lake Sebu. Too bad we didn’t have had enough time to visit the Seven Falls. I heard that access to the falls have been made easier, plus there is now a zip line for adventurous tourists who want a breathtaking view of the falls from the sky.