Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Seven Falls of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

South Cotabato has proven to be one of Mindanao's best kept secrets that is now aggressively gaining popularity. After our adventure at Lake Holon at T'boli, we were headed for Lake Sebu to see more of what the province has to offer. The mountain town of Lake Sebu, also famous for its three lakes: Lake Sebu, Lake Seloton and Lake Lahit, is also home to the indigenous T'boli community . Aside from that, it also boasts of various natural treasures: lush forests and plantations, placid lakes, rivers and waterfalls that will surely prove to be worthwhile to visit.

lake sebu falls
One of the seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu, this lovely sight will greet you after a refreshing zipline ride

After coming from Surigao del Sur to see Tinuy-an Falls a couple of days before we reached Lake Sebu, we still haven't had enough of seeing not just one, but seven waterfalls so we added The Seven Falls as one of the highlights of our itinerary for Lake Sebu. It was very rainy on our first day, I was constantly waiting for weather updates in the news and looks like that leg of the trip will be accompanied by another tropical depression. We still chose to push through with our plans, good thing our habal habal drivers were also up for the challenge.

lake sebu animal
this sneaky monkey shows up on our way to the falls

One of the main tourist spots in Lake Sebu is the Seven major cascading falls located at Barangay Lake Seloton. We were told that the local clan of Dongon are the caretakers and owners of these falls. Additionally, only five of them are accesible to tourists since Falls 6 and Falls 7 will take long hours to trek by foot.

lake sebu waterfall
Falls 1, Hikong Alo

The first waterfall, Falls 1 also called Hikong Alo is the widest of all seven. It is the easiest to reach and is also the first falls that you can see from the entrance gate. Standing tall at 70 feet is Falls 2, Hikong Bente, that can be reached after descending from more than 700 steps of stairs from Falls 1. Hikong B'Lebel, Hikong Lowig and Hikong K'Fo-i can be seen when taking the zip line and commonly known as Falls 3, 4, and 5. Hikong Ukol and Hikong Tonok are Falls 6 and 7 respectively.

south cotabato falls

lake sebu seven falls
one can see Falls No.2 after the zipline ride, or as soon as you can finish going down the 700 steps of stairs

This attraction is quite popular since there are a number of activities that you can also accomplish here. By the entrance, there are already a number of shops that sell shirts, bags, and other souvenir items so it's a great opportunity to do your pasalubong shopping.

south cotabato waterfalls
a bird's eye view of Falls 3, 4, and 5

If you're up for it, you can also have your picture taken while wearing T'boli traditional outfits. For only 50 pesos, you can have all the poses you want! It's one of the best souvenirs I've had on my trip here.

tboli costume lake sebu
the woman manning the booth was really friendly, i think I even had more than 20 shots taken :P

And of course, for us adrenaline junkies, the zipline is not to be missed. For only 250 bucks, this is the easiest way to see five of the seven falls in one go. Since my companions need to leave earlier to catch their flight leaving at Gen San, I was left to wait for the operations to start and the rain to calm down. After lunch, I was finally able to take the ride. I can say, it is the most scenic and also the most affordable zipline I have ever had up to date. During the ride, I was worried whether to take a video or shoot pictures, but it would have probably been the best to leave the camera behind and just enjoy the thrill and the experience!

lake sebu zipline
Enjoying Lake Sebu's zipline, so this is how "flying" to these natural wonders would feel like!

Even though the heavy rain did not permit me to take more shots of the falls that I hoped I had, I still very much enjoyed the majestic view. It's interesting how many falls you can find in just one town. It definitely is one of Mindanao's gems. Another check on my bucket list!

tboli lake sebu

How to go to Lake Sebu
There are two easy options if you will be taking a plane, either by landing to General Santos City or Davao will do. In our case, we visited Surigao del Sur first then headed to Davao.

From General Santos City
Take a transfer, either by taxi or jeepney to the bus station and look for buses heading for Koronadal/Marbel (Yellow bus line). From there, there will be buses heading for Surallah. And from this town, you can take jeepneys that will go to Lake Sebu. There are also habal habals available.

From Davao
You can take a bus heading for General Santos or Koronadal/Marbel (also Yellow Bus line). From there, you may take the similar directions above.

Habal-habal drivers (whole day rate is 500 pesos, half day is 300 pesos)
Kuya Paning - 09057163942
Kuya Enteng - 09364175139

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! On my never ending list of places to see.

    1. agreeeee ang haba na rin ng list ko, sana makapunta ka na din!

    2. Thank you for letting me know what I missed during all the years I've been running up and down Cotabato Province in the late 60's as a government field worker. I shall be back if my legs are still willing.


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