Rushed to Lake Sebu

While seated together with siblings, we talked about foods and places we like to visit. At first, going to Lake Sebu was only a suggestion but it just like everyone packed things and prepared to go.

At 02:30pm, we left our home in North Cotabato and few minutes stop over in Tacurong City’s Jollibee to calm our budging stomach. We then continued our travel passing towns of Sultan Kudarat province. The Lake Sebu is one hour travel from the town of Surallah, South Cotabato.

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The lake at dawn

The Lake Sebu is a mountainous town where one of the country indigenous people, B’laan is living peacefully. The area could be compared to Baguio City because of cold weather, pine trees and rice terraces. The town’s name is derived from the natural and protected lake which is abundant of fresh water species especially the tilapia.

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Punta Isla Lake Resort

Location: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines

Where I Stayed: Punta Isla Lake Resort

Buddies: Group (5+)

RESORT. We booked the Punta Isla Resort, the most known resort in Lake Sebu. The dormitory type costs 1,600 pesos which is good for eight persons. We arrived at almost 6pm and was surprised that we were the only group who has booking. They were obviously expecting our arrival because their restaurant staffs are waiting at the reception. They offered a lot of menu but most of them, the raw ingredient was tilapia fish. Their best sellers were chicharon and kinilaw. They also have floating restaurant but a staff told us that we could dine there in the morning if we want to. The Floating Restaurant is normally open for lunch buffet.

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The hotel has swimming pools but without water and not for use. They also have many guest houses and restaurants. The room price was cheap so we didn’t expect much amenities. The room was so basic with old and thin bedding, towels and blankets. Since the area was on the lake side, insect repellent should be applied all the times. There were many mosquitoes, so we directly closed the room’s door once open.

The fantastic view of the lake greeted us in the morning. We only stayed in the resort overnight and didn’t have enough time to wander the whole area. However, I have pictures as souvenirs.

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We visited the known seven falls in Lake Sebu for adventure. The first falls was accessible through the road. The 2nd to 5th falls could be seen by riding two zip lines for a price of 250 pesos. The sixth and seventh were so far and in different sites. This was my highest zip line adventure so far which claimed to be the highest zip line in Southeast Asia at 600 feet above the ground.

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The 5th Falls as highlight of zip line adventure.

 

Spying Underground River and Caving in Ugong Rock

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Our tourist guide named Ernie picked us in the hotel at 7pm. On the way, we picked us a couple, and a family with four members. All of us have the same status as explained by Ernie. Booking for Underground River tour should be done a month before of planned vacation. Our group just have booked yesterday so this local guide gave us chances to visit underground river. Anyone can justify that it is illegal but I proudly say, he gave justice to our vacation itineraries. We occupied those names who has booking but confirmed that they wouldn’t come. We’re just like an undercover agents having different identities. Me and my wife having the names of Mr. and Mrs. Narciso Lopez with matching identification card. Very clever!

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The underground river is in Sabang, two hours away from Puerto Princesa. As we traveled, we passed those roads categorized on how its name implied. The zig zag road, roller coaster road, massage road, and the rocky road. Ernie also surprised us as he is also a puppeteer. He managed to entertain us using his monkey puppet.

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UNDERGROUND RIVER. We arrived in Sabang and we enjoyed ourselves taking beautiful shots while Ernie registered us to Sabang Park, the entrance of the river. After 30 minutes, we boarded a boat going to Sabang Park where wild alligators were freely roaming. They said that there are monkeys too, but we saw nothing during that time.

We headed to the river entrance where we put on our life vests and helmets. A paddled boatman whom our underground tour guide arrived to pick us and started the tour inside the longest underground river which was now included in the Seven Wonders of Nature. I’m seated in the front seat so I’m maneuvering the spot light of the boat. I clearly saw stalagmites and stalactites in vegetation, animals, and biblical forms. Also, the entire cave is with foul smell because of bats and cave birds. The paddling tour took for 45 minutes.

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We were back to Sabang beach with the same boat which waited for us in the park. In the beach, our buffet lunch was served as part of Underground River package tour which costs P1,500 per head. The lunch was so delicious because of pork liempo and chicken adobo. Tamilok, edible sea worm, in vinegar was also served for P100.

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UGONG ROCK ADVENTURE. “The villagers here are nature destroyer…before”, nicely explained by Ernie. The money earned from every tourist visiting Ugong Rock contributes and helps the villager to do other livelihood instead of damaging the nature.
At the tourist receiving hall, they asked us if we like to do caving, spelunking, and zip line. Caving costs P200 while zip line is for P250 per head. “What is spelunking?”. It is a climbing technique during caving by pulling the body with rope. Everyone in the group agreed to do caving but nobody assured to do zip line. We put on helmet and gloves as required to avoid contact with the growing stalagmites and stalactites. The group started caving Ugong Rock which its name derived from the humming sound when knocking rocks and walls seen in this cave. Ugong Rock Adventure is merely a mountain climbing activity which the final destination is on the top of the mountain.

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At first, the caving was funny for it was just an ordinary cave. But when we went higher, the steeps, channels, and slopes were getting more exciting. We needed to enter in side ways, climb stairs, and spelunking until we reached the summit for more than 30 minutes.

After the sweaty caving, we took a rest at the shade on the top of the summit. How can we go back? The staffs gave us two options, by going back through the same channels we had passed through or by 11 seconds zip line. Even the eldest in our group preferred the zip line for he felt his knee trembling and tired. Besides, going down is more difficult than climbing up.

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I went ahead for it was my first time to do zip line. I felt nervous. My entire body was almost numb and I closed my eyes when the frictionless motion of the harness begun to slide. In the mid air, I adjusted, relaxed and enjoyed the ride.

We left the Ugong Rock with a smile for most of us were first timers. We arrived in Puerto Princesa at 4:30pm.

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Dinner at Ka Lui is the most suggested food tripping venue by locals. The restaurant don’t accept walk in costumers, so we were advised to book it early. We asked the hotel receptionist to reserve us a table in Ka Lui and we were scheduled for 6:30pm dinner. The place was with native decorations and we entered  the restaurant leaving our shoes on the rack outside.
The foods were excellent especially the Trubattaha salad. They served the food orderly from soup to desserts so our table was never full of serving plates. The best thing here was the food price was cheap though it was a well known restaurant.

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