Lake Sebu in South Cotabato shelters a number of the best majestic waterfalls and stunning lakes in the country. Dubbed as the Land of the Dreamweavers, the rich culture and impressive traditions of the T’boli tribe can be found in the foot of the mountains. A Lake Sebu trip will invite you to a day of chasing waterfalls, diving into the T’boli culture and learning the traditions in this beautiful province. Above all, you will specially fall in love with the locals itself. Let’s get to know more about South Cotabato’s gems through this Lake Sebu Travel Guide!
In my 3 years continuous journey of trying to explore all the 81 provinces in the Philippines, so far, Lake Sebu of South Cotabato left me a huge mark in my heart. To explore the nooks and crannies with my own eyes surely validated Catriona Gray’s impression to this province. As to her, South Cotabato is her favorite destination in the Philippines and I cannot see why it won’t be.
About Lake Sebu in South Cotabato
To give you a bit of information, Lake Sebu in the province of South Cotabato is surrounded by huge mountains and vast lakes. As a result, Lake Sebu lies in a land of serene atmosphere brought by the healthy nature surrounding it and the locals maintaining a clean atmosphere as well. Getting around Lake Sebu is my favorite part during our SOCCSKSARGEN trip in Mindanao last March 2020. Honestly, it did me a huge favor of indulging myself once again with the beauty of nature in our country.
A 7-waterfall zipline experience, neighboring waterfalls, the T’boli tribe and their culture, impressive South Cotabato delicacies and the wonderful locals to complete the package. These are just some of the prominent list of things to do and see here. And yes! I couldn’t agree more that this is one of the most serene places I’ve been to in the country!
Fun Fact: Did you know that South Cotabato is Philippines’ Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s favorite destination in the country?
Land of the Dreamweavers
T’nalak fabric is a traditional craft that can be found in the T’boli tribe of South Cotabato. This fabric features unique designs of 2 main colors (red and black) which are inspired from the dreams of women weavers. Hence, the brand “Land of the Dreamweavers”.
In addition, the province celebrates the T’nalak Festival every month of July to pay tribute of its foundation and anniversary.
When in Lake Sebu, don’t forget to include Lang Dulay Weaving Center in your trip to learn more about T’nalak and witness how it is manually created by the locals.
The T’boli Tribe in Lake Sebu
The T’boli tribe is my personal interest before coming to this beautiful place. Just like the ethnic group of Igorots in Ifugao, the Tausug in Tawi-Tawi and the Ati People in Aklan, I have developed a personal interest in diving to different ethnic cultures in our country.
Learning about the different ethnic groups in our country and getting the chance to experience their culture and traditions gives me genuine happiness. As a result, I make it to a point to include exploring these ethnic groups. Probably the best way to do this is to attend their festivals!
Furthermore, did you know that you can rent T’Boli costumes when you go to Lake Sebu? Yes! It’s possible and it’s also the best way to get to know more about the ethnic group.
The T’boli costume for men is made out of T’nalak fabric while the costume for women is made out of 2 colors (red and black) paired with a malong and partnered with the colorful beads for the accessories.
How to get there
The closest airport to get to South Cotabato is in General Santos City (GES). Book a flight from Manila to General Santos, from the airport ride a taxi going to the van terminal. Subsequently, ride a van headed straight to Lake Sebu. The last trip of the van going straight to Lake Sebu is 4 :00 PM and sometimes 5:00 PM.
Alternatively, if there are no vans available that will take you directly to Lake Sebu, ride a van going to Marbel. The travel time is 1 hour and the fare is PHP90.00. From Marbel, transfer to another van going to Lake Sebu. The travel time is roughly an hour and the fare is PHP80.00.
Tip: If you will stay in SLT Homestay, advise the van driver to drop you off in SLT Homestay.
Where to Stay?
There 2 places that I will personally recommend to you depending on your travel preferences. These are (1) SLT Homestay and (2) Lemobung Lodge. Take note that there are no luxury resorts in Lake Sebu but there are a lot of homestays and hostels to choose from.
- Rate per night/person: PHP350.00 (fan room)
- Contact: SLT Homestay Facebook Page
- With free breakfast
- No rooms available. Only for backpacker’s space.
- Fun Fact: Catriona Gray came to this place. Good for photoshoot.
- T’Boli costume is available for rent here.
Lemobung Tourism Lodge
- Rate per person/night: PHP100.00 (fan room, own bathroom)
- Rooms available good for 2 pax, 3 pax and more. Rate is per person regardless of rooms availed.
- Tourism property
- How to get there? Just ride a habal-habal and advise the driver to take you to Lemobung Lodge. Fare is PHP30.00 from the city proper.
- Tips: There are no restaurants near Lemobung Lodge. Make sure to buy food before going back to your lodge. Also, you can borrow kitchen utensils in the Lodge.
How to get around?
Getting around in Lake Sebu is easy. There are habal-habal available and the minimum fare per person is PHP10.00 only for a short trip. Also, habal-habal is the only way to travel around Lake Sebu. Before starting your tour, the habal-habal drivers will take you the public terminal where you will need to register your names and the standard rates of habal-habal is also there. Check out the standard rates below: (Lake Sebu Travel Guide)
Things to do in Lake Sebu
Try the traditional costume of the T’boli Tribe
The most exciting way to dive into the T’boli culture is experiencing the traditional costume of the T’bolis! You can actually bring along the costumes you rented while traveling around Lake Sebu and do pictorials. Wearing a traditional costume in the Lotus Flower is the best photo op for the costume!
Additional Information: Rent T’boli costumes in SLT Homestay for PHP200.00 for women and PHP150.00 for men.
Lake Sebu is packed with a number of amazing waterfalls and is the most popular tourist destination here. Some of the falls can be achieved without hiking and some needs to be trekked down for 20 – 30 minutes. Check out the amazing waterfalls to see in Lake Sebu!
In addition, there are also lots of monkeys in this area. You’ll see them almost everywhere including in the road!
The 7-Waterfall Zipline
A must-try activity when in Lake Sebu! The 7-waterfall zipline in South Cotabato is regarded to as South-East Asia’s highest zipline. The amazing sights includes the 7 waterfalls and it will be the best 40 seconds zipline of your life! With the breath-taking view of the forests and the waterfalls, this zipline is truly worth it!
- Weekdays – PHP300.00 (2-way)
- Weekensd – PHP350.00 (2-way)
Watch our video on Youtube here!
To share our experience with you, we were lucky enough to see a rainbow on top of the first waterfalls during our zipline experience. It was surreal! The experience in totality gave me goosebumps and I can still remember the breath-taking view from above. It was like flying with a bird’s eye view.
Visit Lang Dulay Weaving Center
Lang Dulay weaving center in South Cotabato is like the Apo Wang Od Buscalan Village in Kalinga. Lang Dulay is famously known for making the T’nalak – a traditional fabric made by the T’boli tribe. To give you a bit of information, T’nalak is the main fabric used and made in South Cotabato. There are 32 steps to create a T’nalak and takes about 3-4 months for the whole process to finish. Moreover, there are 120 total designs made by the weavers and the 2 main colors are red and black. You may buy T’nalak here for souvenir.
Materials used: abaca, colors from trees such as “loko” for red color and “kenalum” for black color.
Entrance Fee: Although there is no entrance fee, donation is highly observed in Lang Dulay.
Check out the Lotus Flower in the Morning
One of the most special part of our trip is the Lotus Flower. Remember that the best time to go here is as early as 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 AM. The Lostus flowers bloom at this time of the day and closes when the sun is up or beyond 9:00 in the morning. Hence, this should be the first part of your itinerary for the day.
Entrance Fee: PHP150.00/pax
Bathe in T’Daan Kini Falls
If you want a re-freshening bath during the whole day tour, you can bathe in T’Daan Kini Falls. This small falls with a stream is a perfect place to chill and relax. Make sure to bring extra clothes with you if you’re planning to dip in the stream which I highly recommend.
Entrance Fee: PHP20.00/pax
See the breathtaking view from the Divine Mercy Shrine
An overlooking view of the mountains is what you can expect at the Divine Mercy Shrine. There is no entrance fee here but you have to observe proper attire in the area. Sleeveless or short skirts are not allowed. Alternatively, there are shawls available to borrow if you are not in a proper attire.
Watch the sunset in an overlooking view at Evelandia Resort
Watching the skies change from blue to pinkish orange is the perfect way to end a whole day trip in Lake Sebu. And the best place to do this is in Evelandia Resort. This includes a magnificent view of Lake Sebu from up in the mountains.
Entrance Fee: PHP30.00/pax
Must try food in Lake Sebu
This Lake Sebu Travel Guide will not be complete without a must-try food in the tourist destination. Since this place is surrounded by lakes, the main dish is tilapia fish. Don’t forget to try chicharong tilapia here! This is honestly so good and tasty.
Where to find this? In our experience, we were able to see this in the menu in almost all restaurants we came to. But, we were able to try it in the restaurant located in Divine Mercy where we had our lunch. It’s about PHP250.00 – PHP350.00 per serving which is good for 3 – 5 people.
Travel Vlog in Youtube: SOCCSKSARGEN
Check out virtual Lake Sebu Travel Guide on Youtube as part of our SOCCSKSARGEN trip! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for more travel vlogs in the Philippines. 🙂
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