Our habal-habal motorcycle slowly climbed the steep uphill drive towards our lodging with me and my travel buddy riding at the back with our big-ass backpacks, tightly praying that we don’t fall off and crash. After what seemed like an eternity, which really must have been less than a minute, we stopped by the front of the inn and gladly jumped off the bike. We took in the scenery below, our sigh of relief coming at the same moment our breath was taken away.
MUNICIPAL TOURISM LODGE / LEMOBUNG LODGE & RESTO
ADDRESS: SURALLAH-LAKE SEBU ROAD, POBLACION, LAKE SEBU | PHONE: (0918) 603-3354 | GPS MAP: 6.214966, 124.701919
|SECOND FLOOR OF THE MUNICIPAL TOURISM LODGE|
Our day started early. From the Sunrise Garden Lake Resort in Lake Seloton, we were fetched by our trusted guide, Eric Aguilar (0905-9701986, PHP 500.00 per day) and roared through the cold, winding and empty roads of Lake Sebu en route to the Municipal Tourism Lodge (Lemobung), our home for the second half of our Lake Sebu tour.
|PRIVATE ROOM WITH EN SUITE TOILET & BATH, PRICED AT PHP 300.00 FOR TWO PERSONS|
We were initially hesitant on sleeping at this government-operated inn, an old squat wooden structure perched on a high point overlooking Lake Sebu, not believing that they really have a 60-peso room. But indeed, it was true. They do have one but it isn’t air-conditioned, has no electric fan, and looks quite creepy at night. But since we’d only be staying here to sleep and the weather is quite cold in the area, we went ahead and booked a night’s stay.
PUNTA ISLA LAKE CRUISE
ADDRESS: SITIO TOKU-FUL, BARANGAY POBLACION, LAKE SEBU | PHONE: (0905) 289-5134 | GPS MAP: 6.217589, 124.704849
|LAKE SEBU FROM THE CRUISE|
With our bags safely locked behind, we made our way to Punta Isla Lake Resort for a lunch cruise along Lake Sebu. With the number of tourists along its lake-view gazebos, I think it would be safe to surmise that this is the most popular resort this side of town.
|WAITING FOR OUR CRUISE|
While waiting for our cruise we sat ourselves down on one of the huts protected from the sun by a copse of trees, we ordered a litro of Red Horse beer; the view called for a relaxing drink. Halfway through the bottle, a staff told us that it was time to go down the lake.
|KIDS PLAYING AT LAKE SEBU|
The roofed raft, which can seat about 50 people, was set with simple table and chairs. I watched a few local kids doing somersaults by the water as guests trickled into the boat.
|CHICHARON TILAPIA FOR LUNCH|
A minimum food order of PHP 500.00 per table must be made to avail of the cruise and we decided to spend it on Punta Isla’s chicharon tilapia, crispy pata and their specialty, sinanglay na tilapia; a gata (coconut milk)-based dish similar to Bicol’s laing, only instead of the fish being wrapped in taro leaves, they use cabbage instead.
|T’BOLI WOMAN PLAYING KUBING|
|ENJOYING THE LAKE CRUISE | SINANGLAY NA TILAPIA|
The food was alright, my favourite being the crispy chicharon tilapia, but the view was even better. Our huge raft slowly made its way across the 354-hectare lake as T’boli (pronounced taboli, according to them) women, garbed in their traditional dream-woven patterned dresses, played local instruments and performed their indigenous dances. We finished our food and beer as the cruise docked back on Punta Isla.
SEVEN WATERFALLS OF LAKE SEBU
ADDRESS: BRGY. LAKE LAHIT, LAKE SEBU | PHONE: (065) 8281-176 | ENTRANCE FEE: PHP20.00 | GPS MAP: 6.245779, 124.727996
|HIKONG BENTE, THE SECOND FALLS|
With our tummies filled to brimming, we boarded our motorbike and zipped through the empty roads of Lake Sebu once more, the zipline at the famed Seven Falls of Lake Sebu was next on our list. The series of waterfalls is one of the main attractions of Lake Sebu besides its lakes. I wrote about it in detail here: Seven Falls of Lake Sebu.
THE LANG DULAY WEAVING CENTER
ADDRESS: SITIO T’BONG, BRGY. LAMDALAG, LAKE SEBU | GPS MAP: 6.217198, 124.732840
|LAKE LAHIT, ONE OF THE THREE LAKES|
Passing Lake Lahit, the smallest of the three lakes in Lake Sebu, we proceeded towards Barangay Lamdalag where the house of Lang Dulay stands. The village is located on a relatively remote part of town and the roads we took were unpaved and very dusty. We were caked with a thin layer of dirt as we wended our way up the hill leading to our final destination of the day.
|INSIDE LANG DULA’S HOUSE|
Lang Dulay was a T’boli native famous for her T’nalak, a type of manually woven tapestry using abaca fiber. Her unique designs, which were said to be inspired by dreams, won her a National Folk Artist recognition. Sadly, we didn’t get to see her weave her dreams into hypnotic red and black patterns in person as she passed away short of a year before we visited. Her tomb can be visited on a humble plot of land, right beside her house.
|T’NALAK WEAVING IN PROGRESS|
|T’BOLI TRINKETS AND WEAVING BEING SOLD INSIDE LANG DULA’S HOUSE|
Even so, her presence and influence still lives at the weaving center as her close relatives take on the T’boli tradition of T’nalak weaving. Inside the center, numerous intricately patterned hand-made tapestries decorate each corner. These are available for sale to visitors too, a meter of which would set you back around a thousand pesos.
LAKE SEBU SUNSET
|SUNSET AT LAKE SEBU|
As our day drew to an end, we were at a quandary as to where best finish it. We asked our guide if he knew a place serving beer overlooking the lake. He told us not to worry, he knew the perfect place for us. A few minutes later, our motorcycle slowed down and stopped on a simple hut named Aguilar Eatery along the highway. Perched on a cliff, it has a commanding view of Lake Sebu. They serve crispy tilapia, they serve beer, they have a videoke, and we have the whole place all to ourselves. There can’t be a more perfect ending to our Lake Sebu adventure.