Monday, September 16, 2013

GIVE LAKE SEBU: A Trip Beyond the Usual

Two weeks after the hearty GIVE Bukidnon, the main GIVEr, Heiz of the Journeying Pinay, seemed to have more to give. A well coordinated giving was set in Lake Sebu, the summer capital of Southern Mindanao. This place offers a complete treat to tourists who want to relax and unload the stress away. A highland municipality of South Cotabato, Lake Sebu can brag for its cool weather, lifegiving lakes, 7 series water falls, interesting rivers and springs, scenic landscapes, outdoor adventures and interesting T'boli culture.

Honestly, I’ve been to Lake Sebu so many times. At first I did it solo, and later convinced other visitors, friends and big groups that could even make a community. I did camping alone outside a full-packed lodge, screaming at the country’s most awesome zipline, joining a strange group in a boat tour, trekking to 7series waterfalls, visiting a T’boli cultural house, witnessing cultural presentations, get dressed in full T’boli costume and eating different menus of tilapia.

So what makes this trip unusual?

UNUSUAL and memorable due to the fact that I (Trekero) and my buddies Heiz (Journeying Pinay) and Glen (Escape Manila) did not just visit the place to satisfy ourselves with its offerings. We did it to engrave genuine smiles to the faces of the welcoming T’boli community with our simple gifts. And this is what I want to brag this time.

It was 3:30 am when Glen and I departed Davao. At 9:00 am, we finally arrived at the Lake Sebu’s School of Living Tradition. A very long trip, indeed. 


The weather was so fair when we arrived at Lake Sebu. Heiz and Maria Todi, the manager of School of Living Tradition awaited for us. It was so overwhelming being welcomed by the smiling kids.
The school of Living Tradition situated right beside the highway.

A traditional house made of bamboo and cogon roofings.

While Heiz prepared the stuffs for children, I and Glen were attending to our stomach's needs. Photo by Heiz.

Heiz rewarded us with Ifugao vests.

The main event  of the day was giving. 

Heiz and Glen with the kids.

One by one, the kids were given biodegradable loot bags and slippers.

New slippers fit the happy feet.

A little girl patiently waiting for her turn.

A young boy enjoying his gifts.

A boy who is so game for picture taking.

A smiling girl and a shy boy showing what they've got.

A boy with his new slippers and school supplies.

A young girl happily showing her upper T'boli costume.

Ate Barbara weaving T'nalak.

Shiny and high quality T'nalak.

Heiz joining the kids in their "hingut-anay".

The GIVErs and the kids with Maria Todi

The GIVErs and the happy children.


After the giving, the GIVErs looked for an unusual treat. Not the zipline nor the 7 series waterfalls. But trekking along the terraces going to a hidden waterfalls.
I and Glen taking a habal-habal heading to a falls, not the 7-series falls. 

Taking a roller coaster habal-habal to Brgy. Tablo.

Rice terraces and a clear river

Rain  was starting to fall when we were trekking along the paddies.

I opted to be on foot on the wet, muddy "pilapil".

Ate Barbara and Soysoy guided us to the falls.

The GIVErs river trekked to the falls.

K'NALUM Falls is hidden on a rocky cliff with a small basin.

The enticing looks of K'nalum Falls.

The gentle falls in a small basin. 

The tempting waters of K'nalum Falls.

A truly awesome view of K'nalum Falls.

 I couldn't help but embrace the little amazing falls. Photo by Heiz.

I wanted to feel the waters all over me. Photo by Heiz.
Heiz gave her pose with the falls. Photo by Heiz.

Glen trying to look sexy (hehehehe). Photo by Heiz. 

A directed pose. Photo by Heiz.

The GIVErs were like pupils who escaped classes.
The place was full of laughter. Photo by Heiz.

Soaking while raining was a wonderful treat to the GIVErs.
I don't know what Glen sniffed here. Photo by Heiz.

I never wanted to get out from the cool, refreshing waters. Photo by Heiz.

The GIVErs river trekking their way back. 

Heiz enjoyed trekking under the rain.

Glen with his umbrella was in charge of the gadgets.

I was protecting my shoes against the rain. Photo by Glen.

It's really fun trailing on-foot through the muddy paddies. Photo by Glen.

I remembered a pose in Siargao with a surfboard. Photo by Glen.

Ate Barbara was patiently waiting for the trekkers. Photo by Glen. 

Ate Barbara, our guide, was still so active.

A pose for Ate Barbara.

This is how Journeying Pinay treks. Hehehehe! 

Glen was aware a camera is being shuttered. Hehehehe!

Glen taking pics of the trekkers.

The drivers waiting for the trekkers. 

With a roller coaster-like ride, one would really prefer to just walk.


The GIVErs got wet from trekking. In the afternoon, the weather turned out fine. To utilize the remaining light of the day, we decided to go boating on the lake, but not the motorized one. We opted to row a banca joining the fishers attending to their stocks.

Instead of taking a motorized boat, the GIVErs preferred a row banca. 

I was overwhelmed to experience rowing at Lake Sebu. Photo by Glen. 

Heiz and Glen on a departing banca.

The floating houses in the lake.

Fishers attend to their stocks in the afternoon.

The weather turned out fine when we were rowing in the lake.

A fisher watching over his fish. 

Soysoy, the borrower and the rower of our banca.

Tupe giving a trekero pose. Photo by Heiz. 

Heiz covering Glen from my camera lens. Hehehehe!

The sun was almost setting when we were rowing.

A candid (intended???) shot. Photo by Heiz.

After an enjoyable communion with nature, every rolling stomach craved for an abundant treat. Nilasing na tilapia is always my favorite menu at Punta Isla Resort. (Tilapia gets wine-soaked before getting deep fried).

Nilasing na tilapia awaited for our hungry stomachs at Punta Isla Resort.

Halo-halo sa banca was more than a dessert. 

The GIVErs taking dinner. Photo by Heiz.


Time to rest, time for bonding with the very hospitable hosts. 
Upon arriving home, I knew this is the place prepared for me and Glen.

I was looking at my pics during the day. Photo by Heiz.

Maria Todi played so well with her instrument. 

Other instruments were played.

The team treated us with their cultural presentation.

Maria, Barbara and the rest of the performers.

I was so touched with these two little girls, Ria and Tamtam,
fitting their handmade bracelets on both of my wrists. Photo by Heiz.

Ria and Tamtam.

A pose with two lovely, talented and skillful girls. Photo by Heiz.


A bright, wonderful morn. But our hearts were about to mourn we're leaving so soon.
It was so nice to wake up in the morning in a T'boli house.

The hospitable family that received us in this T'boli structure.

The GIVErs before leaving the place.

It was so hard to leave the place you learn to love.

I was leaving the place along with my heart.

Thanks to Bon Panganiban for the contribution, Maria Todi for facilitating the activity, Ate Barbara for guiding us to K’nalum falls and Soysoy for borrowing and rowing a banca for us.
For the success of the event and the brand new experiences, LORD, BONG S’LAMAT! 


  1. thank you Tupe. Nice time travelling with you again. Happy Anniversary!

    1. tnx, jeyps. trekero turns 1 na pala. tamang tama ang trip na to.