7 Waterfalls at Lake Sebu | South Cotabato

As I rest my head on the window of the van, half tired from lack of sleep I caught a glimpse of the scenic Lake Sebu. Although my view was being distorted by a smudgy glass, it never mattered, as the scene of a thick forest snaking around a tranquil body of water is hard to ignore. Soon, my weary body started to jolt with pure anticipation. The thought finally rested and crested solidly in my head. I am finally in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

Zipline in the Philippines

Since I started to take traveling seriously in 2007, I haven't imagined myself to be exploring Mindano this soon. I grew up listening to my favorite folk band "Asin" and their song "Cotabato" is one of my favorite songs of all time that speaks of conflicts, religious indifference and a shout out to action to attain lasting peace in the region. 

                                             "Ako’y isinilang sa isang bayan ng Cotabato
                                                Kasing gulo ng tao, kasing gulo ng mundo
                                     Dahil di magkasundo sa relihiyon at prinsipyo, nagkagulo"

It also didn't helped at all when media continuously paints a deadly reckoning image of Mindanao as a whole. It's true that there are still parts in Mindanao–just like in every place in the world–where peace remains elusive. BUT mostly, it is the opposite.

Cai Abass and Ria Jose

We went to the jump-off place where one can chase the 7 waterfalls streaming fresh water into three lakes. Lake Sebu is the largest of all encompassing 354 hectares, while Lake Selotin measures 48 hectares and Lake Lahit completing the lake menage a trois with 24 hectares.

Ria Jose

We rode the zipline in tandem and flew over the river where the number 2 waterfalls flows along and the scene was unlike anything I've seen before. There was a total of 2 ziplines, the one measuring closely to 800 meters and the other was about a half of the first, however the second zipline we took brought us over this cascading third waterfalls called the "Hikong Belebed" or the zigzag falls and from the zipline above I was able to catch a magnificent sight.

Ria Jose

Lake Sebu is a thriving cultural community where many T'boli tribe members have been residing for many years dating back to pre-Mohamedanism and the Spanish conquest in the 15th century. Both movements failed to convert the T'boli members, making them live in peace and unaffected by religious indifference. Today, they continue to flourish and live simply through the abundant supplies of agricultural and fishing products and their contributions in their community, backed up by a solid pro-environment, cultural driven and ecological balance campaign of the Provincial Government, has made Lake Sebu as one of the premier destination in Mindanao. 

Cai Abass and Marky Ramone Go

Listening right now as I write this to Asin's "Cotabato" I am feeling a bit of pride that a song like that could reach out and endear to many. There are places you need to reach and experience in order to see the whole picture and not only to rely on songs and press reports and TV coverage of Abu Sayaf bandits brandishing their hostages while armed to their teeth.

with Ada Lajara and Mica Rodriguez

I had a prevailing notion of Mindanao–especially the areas that includes General Santos, Sarangani and South Cotabato–when I stepped inside the Cebu Pacific plane bound for General Santos last week. In a span of few days I left and went back to Manila with a totally different impression of Mindanao.

Ria Jose with Avel Manansala

While peace may still be elusive in some parts of North Cotabato, great thing is, its not really that rampant and the people of South Cotabato are gearing up for an exciting future. I wanted to be part of that exciting tomorrow. I will definitely go back to South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City on a whimp. Give me time and I'll pack my backpack again.

And as these waterfalls continues to flow mightily along the river banks and unto the three lakes of Lake Sebu. The promise of South Cotabato just waiting to embrace people from all over also never ceases, it remains still, just as it quickly silenced my fears and caressed my skin not like needle pricks but by a soft angelic hands of a long lost lover.

If these "falls" could talk, it will probably be yelling "pack your backpack to this part of the world" right about now.

This is part of the SoccSarGen Experience Tour II series

- 5th Mountain of Balakayo Adventure Park

- The Farm at Carpenter Hill, South Cotabato

- T'daan Kini Falls in Lake Sebu

- Learning about Aquafarming in Sarangani Bay