Lake Sebu is one of the more visited destination in the province of South Cotabato. If you have been island hopping to a number of beach destinations around The Philippines, Lake Sebu should be a welcome breather for you. This idyllic town displays another side of the country and gives your more reason to extend your stay. The natural lake of Lake Sebu is the main attraction and your visit is never complete without the early morning boat ride.
Being consistent for making it to the list of sustainable tourism destinations in The Philippines, Lake Sebu just never runs out of reason for you to pass by and visit.
To reach the lush green town of Lake Sebu, the nearest gateway is the domestic airport of nearby city of General Santos City or if coming from the neighboring Asian countries, the Francisco Bangoy International Airport of Davao City. Both airports services Manila routes. If you are coming from Davao City, head to the Ecoland Bus Terminal. From there, take a non-stop bus to General Santos City. You should reach General Santos City in about 3 hours and fare is around PHP250.00
From General Santos City, flag a tricycle to get to Bulaong Bus Terminal. In the terminal look for van bearing Lake Sebu signages. The van will leave for Lake Sebu after every 15-30 minutes or so and note that the last trip leaves at 4PM.
Prepare to bring snacks and water on board to keep you hydrated. The van fare is around PHP200.00 and the trip lasts for 2 hours.
Getting Around Lake Sebu
The best way to embrace Lake Sebu is by foot. Walk around its poblacion and people watch street sellers, as they seat together with their dogs and chickens while waiting for loyal patrons and tourists. Habal habal (riding on the back of a motorcycle) is popular if you plan to do a half-day or whole day tour of the town. Price ranges for the habal habal ride starts at PHP350.00 to PHP1000.00 depending on the tour.
Where to sleep
As Lake Sebu is already popular with local tourist from Manila, there are already several prime resorts that have made their mark around the lake.
But I highly recommend you to try the genuine experience of homestays. It’s the best way to interact with the locals and support their honorable causes. During my visit, I opted to stay with School of Living Traditions (SLT). Their stories of life, tragedy and hope will truly restore your faith in humanity. One of the biggest reasons I travel. And I believe so do you.
For each night of stay in SLT, the fee is PHP350.00 and includes a healthy breakfast of rice, eggs and vegetables grown from their backyard. You can arrange lunch, dinner and tours that you plan to take with the very accommodating SLT team.
Where to eat around Lake Sebu
There are a few resorts by the lake that have opened up restaurants that serves dinner. Though there are only a few here that serve ’til late night.
Points of Interest
The popular activity that every tourist raves about is the 7 Waterfalls Zipline Adventure. But if you do have an extend stay, it is worth visiting the falls on foot with a local tour guide.
The cost of the ziplining adventure is PHP300.00 on weekends and PHP250.00 on weekdays and opens at 9AM daily. You can purchase a photo package of PHP200.00 if you want the photographer to catch your many facial expression while you zipline across the 740-meter metal wire, all your photos will be presented in a CD format and released to you at the park exit.
On your first morn here in Lake Sebu, it is best to wake up early catch the sunrise at the lake while boating. You should arrange for this activity the night before. The cost of renting the boat plus the tour guide is PHP350.00. Add to that also if you are taking the habal habal. It was a nice chilly morning for a walk so I saved a lot by walking around.
So your itinerary for your first morning should be something like boating/breakfast/7 waterfalls zipline adventure.
You can opt to go back to your hotel for lunch and an afternoon siesta and finish the day off with a short walking tour of the poblacion and coffee or dinner at Bob Nowong, a popular dining place with a beautiful garden. Order a T’boli coffee, settle yourself in one of the tables at the terrace or around the garden and enjoy afternoon of quietitude. The T’boli coffee is around PHP45.00 per cup and it is not actually made from coffee bean but milled rice and corn kernels.
The town of Lake Sebu may appear too quiet and sleepy to some travellers. But it is never boring. If you have 2 days, your visit will be adrenaline packed with ziplining at 180 meters, river rubber tubing and trekking the 7 waterfalls on foot.
If you do have another day or so, immerse yourself in the T’boli culture and traditions. Visit the age-old craft of brass casting and the T’nalak women weavers. I encourage you to support their causes and to promote and buy their products. This is the only way you can pay back the sweet hospitality of Lake Sebu.
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