Sunday, February 16, 2014

Traveling to T'boli, South Cotabato and a treat at Sarse's Paradise Resort

After our trip to Surigao del Sur, we were off to our next destination which was South Cotabato. Frankly, going there wasn't the smartest choice. The distance from Surigao to South Cotabato would take us half to whole day of commute, and distance wise, it would have been better if we went to Davao instead. But after seeing pictures of Lake Sebu and Lake Holon, we were determined to go there before year 2013 ends.

lotus flower
pretty lotus flowers in full bloom

We really didn't have any troubles researching for logistics because every local can give you the answer! By asking around after our trip to Tinuy-an Falls, we found out that we need to take a bus from Bislig going to Davao, then take another bus bound to General Santos City. From there, we still need to take another jeep to Koronadal then another jeep to T'boli. Sounds stressful, right?! We maximized our time at Tinuy-an so we didn't even try to take the last bus bound for Davao which was 5 PM. We decided to stay overnight at Bislig and take an early morning trip instead which lasted for more than 4 hours. When we arrived at KCC Davao, some folks were telling us that there was a direct van headed for Koronadal, or as locals call it, Marbel. They pointed us at Gaisano so we went there, but unfortunately, they only had trips going to Gen San, so we waited again for the van, which did not come after an hour! Frustrated, we decided to ask around again and we were told to go to Davao Bus Terminal. Upon arriving, thank God, locals informed us that there were indeed direct buses headed for Marbel, yey! So after three hours of sleeping in the bus, we alighted at the bus terminal in Marbel to look for the jeeps bound for T'boli. Good thing we made it on the last trip! We finally arrived at T'boli by 6 PM. For other travelers who want to take this route, prepare for a butt-numbing ride!

tboli mindanao
T'boli Terminal

We decided to head to T'boli Municipal Tourism Office as soon as we arrived, to plan out on our trip to Lake Holon the next day. We were met there with their friendly tourism officers, Kuya Jess and Kuya Ronnie. Since I didn't really know we needed to trek to reach Lake Holon (since my friend did the research for Lake Holon), I also didn't have the faintest idea we needed to camp there! So yeah, we had no tent, but the folks there let us borrow their own personal tents. Aside from that, they also recommended us a cheap place to stay and even made an effort to take us there personally! Such hospitality!

tboli tree
big trees of T'boli

After talking with their tourism experts, I got to know that they also had a T'boli folk village located in Lemsnolon and that they also hold festival that take place every February. They also get to participate in T'nalak Festival during July which is participated by the different cities in South Cotabato. More reasons to visit for next time :)

I really liked how simple and peaceful the municipality of T'boli is, though there isn't really much to do around the area. I guess I didn't expect that they already have paved roads and other facilities such as gymnasium and parks! The weather was also perfect! It didn't rain on our entire stay at T'boli but it is here where we experienced the coldest temperature! Almost like Tagaytay during the Ber months!

tboli park
parks and playgrounds, I can spend whole day just lying in the grass and dozing off to dreamland

tboli chicken
Where to eat at T'boli? Head out to Ponce BBQ/Lechon Manok Stand at the Public Market

So we were finally off to our home for the night, and I was just surprised, for the price we paid and for the facilities we were given, I can say that this was the best lodging we have had during our entire 8-day trip around Surigao and South Cotabato.  Two thumbs up for Sarse's Paradise Resort!

tboli resort
the lovely cottages at Sarse's Paradise Resort

I wasn't able to take a picture of our room but it didn't have any A/C or fan, but hey, with the very cold weather in T'boli, who needs that anyway? We also had the cleanest bathroom here! The entire resort was a bit small, as so is the pool, but the landscaping, cottages and maintenance of the area was almost perfect.

Sarse's Paradise Resort tboli

mindanao resort

It is also had those lovely gardens and ponds. I was told that the owner loves nature that's why she decided to put up a resort here in T'boli, since the surroundings is untouched and the weather was perfect. The place reminded me of those expensive inns and bed & breakfast situated around Tagaytay and Baguio. Who would have thought there is such a gem in T'boli that could probably match up to those big time businesses around Luzon? This is definitely the place to stay before heading out for Lake Holon, or if you just wind up at South Cotabato!

tboli mindanao resort
Sarse's Paradise Resort

T'boli was such a surprise! I really didn't expect that I would fall in love with the place and wished I could stay for a longer time. This is one of the places in Mindanao that I would love to visit again. I am excited to see how their local government builds up this place and really hope to see more tourists visit this place on the next years to come.

Sarse's Paradise Resort mindanao

How to go to T'boli, South Cotabato
From Davao/General Santos:
Take buses that head for Koronadal/Marbel. Yellow Bus Line offers Davao-Koronadal route that pass by General Santos, trip will take around 2-3 hours. From Marbel, there are vans that can take you to T'boli with "Direct T'boli" sign. Trip will take around 45 minutes to an hour.

Day 0: T'boli
Traveling to South Cotabato

Day 1: T'boli
Mt.Parker and T'boli Locals

Day 2: T'boli
Lake Holon

Day 3: Lake Sebu
Tour of the Lakes

Seven Falls

Day 4: Lake Sebu
More of the Lakes

What to do at Lake Sebu

Day 5: Gumasa - General Santos City
Gumasa Beach

Food Tour

5 Day Trip
Itinerary & Budget

T'boli Culture

More of Mindanao here


  1. Nice! You went to South Cotabato. I have never been there. I'm looking forward to your post about Lake Holon.

    1. Hey Mustachio, yup South Cotabato was lovely. Thanks for visiting :)

  2. hello, how much is the overnight at Sarse? thank you so much

  3. Hi, how did you book Sarse's Paradise Resort? Do you have contact info? Thank you! :)

    1. Awww sorry but unfortunately I wasn't able to get their contact number, maybe if you try to contact T'boli's tourism staff they might be able to help as they suggested Sarse's to us: Ronilo Magsael "Kuya Ronie" - 09056454662

  4. Hi po...ask ko lng po if pwed po bang mag set ng garden wedding jan sa sars...if pwed how much nman po???

  5. How much the overnight


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