Postscripts from Lake Sebu

For anyone who seeks peace of mind, body and spirit, the tranquility of the countryside and the fresh mountain air in Lake Sebu, some 45 minutes away from Koronadal, South Cotabato is the answer. It’s fantastically reviving that would make one wish to stay there forever and forget deadlines and pressures of work breathing down one’s neck everday.After being jam-packed in a van which transported us all the way from Davao City, we finally came to the lake which offers the opportunity of experiencing genuine serenity which is too good to pass.Situated at an altitude of 1000 meters, Lake Sebu irrigates the fertile Allah Valley.
It is home to two peoples, the T’boli, a highland tribe famous for their colourful costumes, woven work, intricate beadwork, and brass ornaments, and the Tasadays, a cave-dwelling people.Visiting Lake Sebu would be incomplete if one will not go on a boat ride around the lake, so with my companions Cha, Kuya Ben, Roland, Rhonson, Arjoy, Mai, Maam Marilyn, Edit, Germie, Romeo and Juliet from different media outfits, we spent the next 45-minutes taking in the breathtaking wonder of nature at its best.
On the way back to Punta Isla resort, we came to a portion where the water was very frighteningly and darkly green. It’s surface was so smooth, broken only by the ripples created by the boat.Nervously looking around for a lifeboat, the guide seemed to sensed my uneasiness and casually said, “Mga 100 meters na ang lalim ng tubig dito.” I didn’t listen to the rest of his recitation. I gripped my seat so hard and tried to recite the Last Prayer silently.
The trip around the lake brought us very close to the three islands in the lake and the fish cages that ring the tranquil 364-hectare lake.The three guys Roland, Rhonson and Arjoy stole a chance to go fishing at the lake but either they were too humble or they didn’t catch anything because I never heard mention of a single fish they caught.We had broiled tilapia and native chicken soup for lunch. Lake Sebu tilapia is simply delicious, giving off a distinct sweetish aroma that leaves us wanting for more even though we were already filled to bursting point.
Only 18 of the 32 servings of rice we ordered were served so the guys had to make do with the meager rice servings.
When only Tatay Rene and Michael of the Davao Camera Club were eating, in comes the waiter with the remaining 11 servings of rice. We wagered whether the two could consume it all but even the hungriest man on earth would go dizzy with the rice. They only consumed 5 servings.SouvenirsWhile Tatay Rene was busily selecting trinkets for pasalubong to friends back home, Edit and I were also busily selecting from Tatay’s collection for ourselves. Albeit grumbling, he still paid for our choices.
I contemplated on buying a pair of earrings which caught my fancy but was hesitant because I only have one pierced ear. Rhonson of Tourism (DoT) offered to split the price with me and said we would take one earring each but changed his mind at the last minute.Enterprising T’boli women in their clorful costumes spread a wide array of malong, shawls, embroidered and beaded blouses, coin purses, necklaces, key holders, penholders, and several other crafts produced by creative hands and minds, all screaming to be brought home. Only the limited contents of my billfold stopped me from doing so.World-class tourist destination.
Just recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has chosen Lake Sebu town as among the focal areas for the country’s ecotourism development program and as a world-class tourist destination over the next decade.Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun said the Lake Sebu watershed forest reserve, which covers the entire municipality, would be developed as among the country’s major ecotourism destinations in Southeast Asia by the year 2012.The 92,450 hetare town of Lake Sebu was recognized as one of the most important watershed areas in the country and was proclaimed as a Protected Landscape on 24 September 1985.*

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