Monday, September 17, 2012


One of the wonders of South Cotabato drips from the highlands of Salacafe, T'boli. One of the country's cleanest lakes, Lake Holon (Lake Maughan) covers the 104-hectare crater of Mt. Melibongoy (Mt. Parker). 

A very long travel took me to Poblacion, T’boli at exactly 12noon. A habal-habal took me to Brgy. Salacafe at 2pm.

Right then, I started the trek to the crater lake.
Not long after the jump-off, the view of the mountain’s peak even thrilled me more.

Soaked in the rain, I was panting to catch the pace of my friendly T'bloi guide along a forested trail.

The view of native shanties along the way relieved me from the tiresome, wet, afternoon trek.

We stopped at a 90-degree viewing site where the outlet of the lake comes into view.

When I came into the first sight of the lake, more excitement kept the fast beating of my heart.  
After 2 hours of trekking, I finally arrived by the lakeside.
I then took my first pose in the lake.
After setting up my tent, we boated to other side to get drinking water.

Every view of the lake amazed me.

I did my best in rowing back to the camp, but that was just a sheer waste of time. Haha!
Floating on the clean, clear waters of the lake was truly an awesome experience.

A heavy rain ruled the night...
The night’s heavy downpour bore a fresh, wonderful sunrise.
I treated myself with the healing effects of the morning sun on a cool fresh morning.

I joined a morning chat with the T’boli locals who stayed and fished at the lake.

My heart was pinched witnessing how they are contented with their very simple way of life.

Fresh fish added with little vinegar and salt saved our morning meal.

When the sun was up, I took the opportunity to pose with the fresh green scenery of the lake.
I also happened to play with a very aloof young girl who soon became friendly after being given a locally branded chocolate. I just wondered how she slept with her mother on a wall-less shed without pillow and blanket.

My heart enjoyed the view of the local fishers.

How splendid was the sight of a boatman on a blue water hit by the glorious rays of a morning sun!
Before leaving, I looked for areas with great views of the lake.

Tempted to take a float on the refreshing waters again, I then decided to row a boat by myself. 

My inability to row a boat was really a waste of time. But it was all worth the enjoyment.

I ascended from the crater for an hour. Weary from the tedious hike, I was also saddened by the fact that I was already leaving that wonderful body of water. But the enjoyment I felt when I was there covered it all.
The last look of the lake truly pained my heart. I left along with a promise --- I WILL SURELY BE BACK! (I don’t want to Sotto the statement of MacArthur, haha!).

I trekked down the mountain bringing wonderful memories of the experience.
Along the way, I enjoyed the heights of the cliffs beside the trail. Yes, I truly love playing with heights (and depths)!
The old giant tree along the way catches every hiker’s attention.

Passing through the small villages on the mountain showed me the simple lifestyle of the highlanders. They earn money from corn and garden vegetables. They also prepare their abaca products for T’nalak weaving.

I saw happiness and contentment on everyone’s face. And my unforgettable experience in their peaceful, natural habitat helped me learn their secret of contentment.

SCHEDULE OF FEES as of 2016:
Photo Credits: Mary Anne Salarza Arellano, 2016


From Davao, take a bus bound to Koronadal. From Koronadal, take a bus or van to Surallah. Then take jeepney or van to Poblacion, T'boli. Register at Tourism Center. Take habalhabal to Brgy. Salacafe. Hire guide. Hike to the lake.

From CDO, take a bus bound to Tacurong. From Tacurong, take a multicab to Isulan. Then take a bus or van to Surallah. Take a jeepney or van to Poblacion, T'boli. Register at Tourism Center. Take habalhabal to Brgy. Salacafe. Hire guide. Hike to the lake.


From CDO, take a bus bound to Gensan. Drop off at Koronadal. Then take a bus or van to Surallah. Take a jeepney or van to Poblacion, T'boli. Register at Tourism Center. Take habalhabal to Brgy. Salacafe. Hire guide. Hike to the lake.


  1. Replies
    1. truly, it is! my heart misses this lake and wants to see it again

  2. Replies
    1. napakaganda nga! especially when you see it personally.

  3. Great article! Thanks for sharing!

    Hope you find this article interesting too

    1. thanks, reese! i'm actually longing to go back to lake holon to again witness its sacred simplicity.

  4. hi! thanks for sharing one of the amazing place in Mindanao. may I know how much would be the budget/ pax? (including the tranpspo and registration)

    1. Hello there. Here's the schedule of fees as of 2016. Entrance Fee=20.00; Seedling=5.00; Motor, one way to Brgy Salacafe(for 3 pax)=300.00; Tour Guide (24hours)=300.00

      Others, if applicable: Salacafe Cottage overnight (whole cottage)=500; Horseback Riding (oneway)=300.00; Tboli Costume for photoshoot=50.00; Parking Fee (own motor)=50.00; Parking fee (4wheels)=100.00; Porter=20/kilo/way.

      Hope this will help you. Enjoy!

  5. Mas maganda dumaan KULE kesa salacafe. Doun kami last March 27, 2018

    1. Thanks, Jeeka. Yes, I heard mas maganda nga ang viewdeck sa Kule. Di ko lang nadaanan, di pa kasi sya established last 2009 during my visit.

  6. Mas maganda dumaan sa sittio KULE. den back trail ka SALACAFE.