At stunning Lake Holon, peace and quiet await
If you want a breather from the hustle and bustle of the metro, Mindanao may just give you the break you truly deserve. (READ: 9 spectacular places to visit in Mindanao)
In the province of South Cotabato lies what can be considered as one of Mindanao’s prized gems: Lake Holon, which mirrors the rich biodiversity of Mindanao. Now that it is open to the public one year after the local government closed it for rehabilitation, a handful of tourists now visit Lake Holon, a place considered to be sacred among the members of the Tboli.
With the clear water of the lake and the area’s cold temperature, this is a prime destination for tourists with an appetite for adventure. (IN PHOTOS: Dahilayan Adventure Park, Mindanao's playground)
The journey to the lake may be strenuous, but the feeling of seeing a view as grand as Lake Holon is a reward in itself. To reach the lake, one has to walk for 3 to 4 hours under the canopy of towering trees. Tourists are also advised to prepare for intermittent rain along the trail. (READ: Perfect for summer: 8 cool-weather PH destinations)
Two points of entry can either be chosen by tourists, depending on the level of difficulty.
First is through Sitio Kulé, tagged by the local government as the Hunter’s trail. From the starting point, one goes on a 3-hour hike to the viewing deck, passing through cornfields and a forest with plenty of wild orchids and abaca.
A hot spring also awaits to soothe your exhaustion before going on a difficult ascent to the viewing deck that will offer a panoramic view of the 2.9 kilometer caldera lake of Mt. Parker, a volcano that last erupted in 1641.
The second trail – starting in Sitio Nabol in Barangay Salacafe – is the regular trail for tourists of all ages. Yes, this trail is an easier one, though one has to really prepare to catch his or her breath before finally taking a glimpse of the beauty of the lake. As they say, never underestimate the mountain. (IN PHOTOS: 8 PH lakes to add to your travel bucket list)
Whatever trail you choose, prepare yourself for the surprises that await. But really, nothing prepares you for the wonders of this mystifying lake – making it a perfect venue to finish a book, do some soul-searching, bond with family and friends, or to just find peace with yourself. (READ: From Davao City, make the trip to these 8 beautiful beaches)
The campsite by the lakeshore can accommodate 150 people at most. There are potable water sources by the lake while fresh tilapia from the lake can be a good option for breakfast while there. The fun part is that Tboli tribesmen fishing in the lake often sell a bunch of 6 tilapias for P50.
Be sure to be outside your tents at the break of dawn to catch the rays of the sun slowly hovering over the lake. The magic hour there is indeed magical. Once the sun is already in its full glory, the green trees are mirrored in the clear water of the lake.
This green hue mixes with the lake’s dark blue color, signifying its depth, that, until today is not yet measured.
Tourists who like to swim are advised to do so with caution. But since swimming in the lake is somewhat eerie, one may just enjoy a “foot spa” by the lakeshore, courtesy of tiny fishes in the lake.
Leaving Holon is like leaving a person very close to your heart, as tourists will surely develop that strange connection with the lake. It’s like finding a second home where relaxation is king.
So if you want a breather from your wired, busy life, consider Lake Holon. Many surprises await you.
How to get there:
There are direct flights from Manila and Cebu to General Santos City on a daily basis. If you are coming from Davao, Bukidnon or Cagayan de Oro, hop on a bus bound to General Santos City. From there, take another bus to the City of Koronadal, about an hour travel from GenSan.
Upon arrival, take another ride through a van to the town of Tboli which is about a 45-minute ride from Koronadal. One has to register at their Municipal Tourism Office which arranges for guides, porters and transportation.
From downtown Tboli, a one-hour habal-habal motorcycle ride will take you to either Sitio Kulé or Sitio Nabol, both in Barangay Salacafe. – Rappler.com
Louie Lapat is a government employee in Tagum City, Davao del Norte where he writes for a local government on weekdays. On weekends, he explores his beloved Mindanao and write accounts about it on his travel blog: dsprinkles.com.