Inspiration, Mindanao, Nature, Philippines, Waterfalls

Lake Sebu : Facing My Fear, A Solo Travel to the 7 Waterfalls

Have you experienced that, when you thought of wanting something then you realize one day it’s already happening? And you couldn’t help but express your gratitude and amazement.

That happened to me when I first saw on TV a video of a traveler doing the zipline in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. By the time he raised his camera (or GoPro), it felt like I was the one doing the zipline. I was in awe of the spectacular view of the waterfalls below.

The Lake Sebu zipline is the highest zipline not just in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia. And the problem is, that can be terrifying for someone like me who has somekinda’ fear of heights. Haha! But I was surprised with myself, that I was really determined to try it. I even planned to go to Lake Sebu maybe next year to come face to face with this of adventure.

Then an opportunity came, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. or  PMPI an anti-mining NGO launched the SOS Diaries project which aims to tap bloggers, writers and other creatives to document and share the stories of people affected by mining through writing and other medium. I applied for the program and luckily accepted.

PMPI sent me to Tampakan, South Cotabato to witness and write about the plight of the Bla’an people against the imminent mining in the region. It was a worthwhile experience for me,something that I will treasure forever.

And whoah! the added bonus about this sponsored travel is having a day to explore Lake Sebu. I have conditioned myself that the travel was purely work for me, a worthwhile project so I was so surprised when the NGO told me that I would be having like a full afternoon of freetime so they planned to bring me to Lake Sebu. Yehey!

When I arrived in South Cotabato, I told the NGO’s partner, SAC of Diocese of Marbel, that I can manage to go to Lake Sebu alone, realizing they are all very busy with their field works. I didn’t want to be a you know a burden for them, besides I’ve been a traveler for a while, solo travel is awesome for me!

General Santos Gensan Airport
Gensan Airpot

 

The Way to Lake Sebu

Early morning, the plane landed in General Santos Airport. It was my first time in the hometown of Manny Pacquiao. LOL! Having done my research to this travel, I hailed a taxi going to the Bulaong bus terminal. It was quite a long drive. To be very honest, my first impression of Gensan is flat, dry and dusty considering it was the height of summer when I was there. To add to that, Gensan’s climate is way hotter, more humid than in Manila.

One disappointment for me, the taxi drivers in Gensan are not using the cab meter. They already have a flat rate for taxi fares. Airport to downtown is Php 300. While if your destination is the terminal, it’s Php 350. I suddenly miss Davao.

General Santos Gensan Airport
Bulaong Terminal, General Santos City

It was just easy for me to navigate the terminal and spot the buses going to Koronadal or Marbel for the locals. One reminder for every traveler, if you’re going to Koronadal from Gensan, buses have signage of Marbel instead of Koronadal. Locals there said that Marbel is like the former name of the town so the locals still call it Marbel. Bus ride is about an hour going to Koronadal terminal.

After meeting the officers and staff of SAC, Diocese of Marbel, the partner of PMPI in this project, I just had my lunch, checked in to the hostel then went back to Koronadal terminal and hopped on a van going to Lake Sebu. This is a more convenient way to travel to Lake Sebu instead of riding a bus to Surallah terminal then another jeep to Lake Sebu.

The fare is about 80 pesos and it was another one hour travel. The van is not full so it was a comfortable travel for me.

Upon arrival in Lake Sebu, the only mode of transporation going to the falls and other spots is through habal-habal. My driver introduced himself as Rolly and he charged me a very affordable Php 200 for the entire afternoon tour.

Lake Sebu is the home of the T’boli tribe, one of the largest and most colorful indigenous people of Southern Mindanao. You can also find here the famous 7 Waterfalls in one huge creation of nature. It is said that falls number 1 and number 2 can be easily accessed by travelers. But if you want to experience all waterfalls, the easiest and fastest is by experiencing a bird’s eye view of all the waterfalls through the zipline!

Lake Sebu Falls number one, South COtabato
Lake Sebu Falls number one

 

Lake Sebu, Falls number 1 and 2

Just a quick walk from the drop off point of the habal-habal, anyone can easily go and explore the famous falls number one. There was a small number of tourists when I got there maybe because it was a weekday. You know for someone like me who has witnessed and explored some of the beautiful waterfalls in the country, the falls number one can be considered just a mediocre one in terms of its beauty.

But it was still a nice view for any selfie and photo opportunity .One thing that I also notice the water is not that clear, maybe not that conducive for swimming. Again I am saying this because I’ve seen some of the best falls in the country like Tappiyah and Hulugan to name a few, so I may have a different standards. LOL!

Lake Sebu Falls 1 South Cotabato
Lake Sebu Falls number one

Obviously after Falls number one, is falls number two. Haha!

There were arrows and directions at the premises that points to the location of falls number 2. The direction brought me to side of the mountain with some steep staircases going down. I asked the local there, “is this really the way to falls number two?”

Then he pointed me to the signage. Oh okay, I’m not gonna ask anymore. LOL!

I didn’t expect that the way going there would be some steep, endless staircases. Again, for an overweight me, it was quiet difficult. The arduous trek reminded me of my experience in Batad, Ifugao. One that worried me, was how would I manage this hike going back?

I was catching my breath when I finally reached the flat land and when I turned around I saw this tall waterfalls that they call as number two. It was just a few walk for me to become face to face with it. It was tall and as the water touches the river creates this dramatic mist of water.

Lake Sebu Falls Number Two South Cotabato
Lake Sebu Falls number two
Lake Sebu Falls number two South Cotabato
I’m havin’ a great time!

My worry  has finally happened. Haha! Remember I endured some endless steep staircases going down, just imagine what’s going to happen to me when I climbed up going back.

(labas dila ko paakyat) haha!

Lake Sebu South Cotabato
waahh! nakakapagod.

It was already late afternoon, and I had to go back to Koronadal the soonest possible time. So I had to decide fast If I’m going for the crazy Zipline of Lake Sebu!

I remember my excitement when I saw that video of a traveler doing the zipline, but being someone with a legit fear of heights, that can be a terrifying experience. Then I realize, I was already in Lake Sebu, not everyone is being given an opportunity to be in this province in Southern Mindanao.

Go f*ck that fear of heights, I’m going for it!

I am planning to share to you in detail about this fear of mine which I believed rooted from a childhood experience. Something was telling me not to try it, but then I decided like my mind was saying, hell to the NO fear of heights, am gonna try this! LOL!

And since this is a huge feat for me, I’m gonna take a video of it. I don’t care if I will look pathetic or pitiful. The highest zipline in the country? Let’s get it on!

Here’s the video of my zipline. nginig tuhod. wahaaha!

Lake Sebu zipline South Cotabato

Lake Sebu 7 Falls Zipline South Cotabato

BEASTMODE!!!! hahaha!

My experience in Lake Sebu is another proof that whatever our desires, this will happen in time. In some cases, it will happen too soon, for others , patience is tested.

The importance is we should not give up to dream and work on that dream.

For me, my dream might not be the conventional way of life of the society, but I am willing to work hard for that. I want to live life, to travel more and to write more. My experience in Lake Sebu is a realization for us to be ready when an opportunity comes.

I am just a simple dude, a blogger with a fear of heights (LOL!) who wished to try the highest zipline, then destiny tricked me and gave me that opportunity when I felt it was too soon, too early. But still, I had enough courage to go.

There is a purpose why we dream of things no matter how small or big it is. I believe my Lake Sebu dream’s purpose is for me to finally face my fear, and I did.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Jon, do you have an idea on the van/bus schedules back to Gensan (afternoon)? Also, is a daytrip possible? We’re arriving morning and plan to get back to Gensan in the afternoon.

    Reply
  2. Poorna

    Hi, Pretty interesting article. Your YouTube video brought me here. BTW how much it cost you for the Zipline? Are there any travel packages?

    Reply

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