Friday, September 28, 2012

Lake Sebu: An Enchanting Place

Lake Sebu is a must-see place here in South Cotabato...Most of the land here are part of ancestral domains of the T'boli's, and with foreign and government aids, concrete roads were paved to make the area accessible to locals and especially to tourists. Travel has been very comfortable hence. There was a time when it was dirt-road all the way and when it rained, mudslides stranded the travelers. Now, one could enjoy the scenery sans humps and bumps. Well, that's not counting the dirt-road which diverts from the main road and leads to the private resorts . It's a short trip from there that's bearable anyway. This place, Lake Sebu, is so simple and rustic, although one will see  modern houses sprouting here and there. The general attractions here, aside from the two lakes (Lake Lahit and Lake Sebu) and the lush greenery all around, are the waterfalls which are accessible by hiking a few kilometers into the forest.  Lest we forget, there's the zipline purportedly the highest in Asia.

People living here are quite sociable when among themselves, as they gather in groups for chats at a neighbor's verandah, or outdoor bamboo benches built under shady trees. The people are generally timid, but very helpful when asked for directions. The kids are more amicable, waving hello or goodbye at strangers, flashing their toothy/toothless grins.

There is a museum that showcases T'boli craft, especially the loom and its products.  It's a low  house made of bamboo and wood.  Another house sells local crafts made by T'boli women, and the industry is supported by a Japanese institution.

Similar crafts sold at stores along the way are mostly made by the T'bolis themselves...from the bead accessories to the ethnic blouses to the famous T'nalak cloth which elder women weave in traditional looms. I surmise that it's the men who make the small bronze figures of bells and gongs which, I was told by a native, are moulded into shapes by burying them in the ground. How it is done, only the T'boli smiths could explain. The end-product looks very antique, as well as ethnic. If you are an expert at haggling, then good for you, and good luck, because these people know how to fix a good price for each item.

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