Undulating valleys, mist-filled mountains, verdant jungles, and pristine waterfalls clad Lake Sebu, an unassuming municipality of the landlocked province of South Cotabato. It is a melting pot of diverse culture – Manobos, Tirurays, Ubos, and T’bolis – the latter being the majority indigenous group, taking pride in its well-preserved culture.
Lake Sebu is one of the most peaceful and tourist-friendly territories I have visited in Mindanao, it’s the kind of place where you won’t get ripped off. Days here pass by lazily, and the pristine surroundings are untainted by commercialism and mass tourism.
One of Lake Sebu’s most treasured and highly venerated assets are the Seven Falls dappled around its territory. The waterfalls were given T’boli names that describe them.
Falls 1 was named Hikung Alu, meaning passage falls, it’s a towering waterfall flanked by lush jungles. It is also the start of the exhilarating zip line ride. Lake Sebu zip line rate is Php 300 per head.
Hikong Bente (immeasurable falls) or fondly called Falls 2 is perhaps the easiest-to-reach out of the seven waterfalls. It can be reached by a motorbike or private cars. If you have enough energy, you can scale up the 700 step stairs from Falls 2 to get here.
The rest of the falls require more arduous hike but are equally enchanting. Falls three is known as the coil or zigzag waterfalls. The fourth falls was baptized as Hikong Lowig or boot, while the fifth is known as “the wild flower” of Hikong Kefo-i. Falls six earned the moniker short falls or Hikong Ukol. And last but not the least, Falls 7 is Hikong Tonok which means “soil”.
How to get to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato:
1. From Manila and Cebu, there are direct flights to General Santos city in South Cotabato.
2. Take a bus bound to General Santos at the bus terminal, ride another bus to Koronadal. From Koronadal Bus Terminal, switch to a bus bound to Surrallah. From Surrallah, there are jeeps or vans going to Lake Sebu. At Lake Sebu, you’ll find a lot of resorts or a handful of homestay.
I recommend staying at Maria’s homestay located at Brgy. Lambanig, Lake Sebu, Cotabato. When you take a jeepney or motorbike from Surallah, tell the driver to drop you off near the SIKAT-T’boli school. Contact Maria Todi at +639066345367.
From Bukidnon, Davao or Cagayan de Oro:
Follow step two above.