The Natural Wonders of Lake Sebu

The 2st Fal, Lake Sebu

The 1st Fall, Lake Sebu

I came to know of Lake Sebu as a hidden paradise. Like most wanderers, I crave to dig deeper and discover more. I first came to the municipality full of excitement in anticipation of its surprises.  My uncle and aunt told us many stories about the land and its people. After many years of visiting, it has not lost its charm, despite my growing fear of  its exploitation. More than an occasional visitor, I yearn to stay longer and know more.

Rock Strata

Rock Strata

There are 7 lakes, all of which can now be reached more conveniently, albeit the growing concern for desecrating indigenous people’s heritage sites. My first trek going to the 2nd Fall in 1996 included about an hour of walk on the rolling hills just past a diversion from the highway. We had a local folk acting as our guide. He was walking barefoot despite the rugged terrain. As we drew near the bottom of the falls, the slope grew more slippery with strong sprays coming from the drop of the falls. The rock strata at the sides of the drop are marvelous. The cool mist from the falls welcomes and soothes its visitors. To date, stone steps have been made around so visitors can safely enjoy the breathtaking moment near the falls.

I remember our trek to Traankini Falls way back in 1999. We walked some 2 hours on alternate paved and rough road. Bigger rocks came to view gradually as we approached our destination. We came with our 2 year old sister not knowing that we would have to hold on to tree roots for support. Accommodation was not at all inviting and most of the picnic tables were covered with moss. It was summer and the pools were not as deep as it was expected. We relieved ourselves by wading in the waist deep areas. My adventurous uncle, who was a lot younger at that time, took some of us traversing the tributary upstream. It barely took us about 500m when they spotted a snake speculating around one of the boulders. We went back when we couldn’t find where it swam. Better be safe than sorry. Despite of the limits of the picnic area we had to stay longer to rest and recover from the perilous trek.

Path to the 1st Fall

Path to the 1st Fall

Last January, we were brought by my uncle Ben Suedad to see the ongoing development at the Falls. Thanks to 4WDs, it was a short ride from the highway that we left off during our 1996 visit. This time, though, the 1st Fall was an effortless 5 minute walk from the parking area.

More stone steps led to the 2nd Fall. Guests with 4WDs can drive to the next section, where the 2nd Falls can be seen from the parking area. The vicinity of the falls have been developed to encourage more tourists. The average tourist visiting South Cotabato spend only 3 days in the area. Visits to the falls had to be pre-arranged and may take roughly 3 days of treking and climbing. Many years ago, it was not easy to arrange for a trek to see all 7. I doubt that older visitors will have fun. Neither will guests who think that Lake Sebu is only a place for retreats and another back country getaway. But as developments rise, more people can appreciate the beauty of the falls. Lets just pray that local folk and tourists alike help keep the falls and nearby areas from human abuse.

 

The 2nd Fall, Lake Sebu

The 2nd Fall, Lake Sebu

Lake Sebu is more than just a cool place to stay in Mindano. The cool weather is similar to the more populated Baguio and Tagaytay. Historically, Lake Sebu is home to indigenous cultural communities comprised of the T’boli, Obo and the B’laan. In 1930s, settlers from Northern and Central Philippines migrated to Mindanao. This marked more aggressive developments in the region to cater to both varied and urbanized migrants and indigenous tribes. Unfortunately, the indigenous people, due to lack of a formal education and genuine support, have since struggled to keep their ancestral domain intact.


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~ by theorangehut on April 7, 2009.

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