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Traveler Louie Lapat’s Lake Holon adventure:
Where was this photo taken?
This photo was taken last June 2015 in Lake Holon in the hinterlands of South Cotabato, some 128 kilometers away from General Santos City.
What’s it like to visit?
At the break of dawn, campers go out from their tents and brave the cold winds to witness the magic hour that is made more beautiful with the sight of a silhouetted mountain and the colorful mix of colors blue and red, reflected in the calm waters of the lake. (READ: At stunning Lake Holon, peace and quiet await)
My friends based in Soccsksargen region often call Lake Holon a “Beautiful Disaster,” as it was formed through the eruption of Mount Parker sometime in the 1600s. Today, the 2.9-kilometer caldera lake of this dormant volcano is a favorite weekend destination for those looking for the right mix of relaxation and adventure. (IN PHOTOS: The wonders of beautiful Lake Holon)
Waking up to this magic hour is only one of the great things you can do in Lake Holon. Tourists will surely enjoy the view from the viewing deck where you can have a panoramic view of Lake Holon.
Going down from the viewing deck for two hours to reach the lakeshore, one can opt to swim in the cold waters or to just sit by the lakeshore and let tiny fishes ease your weariness away. Help locals earn money by buying tilapia caught fresh from the lake. Believe me, grilled tilapia partnered with hot steamed rice is perfect for breakfast!
After a hearty breakfast, you can kayak all the way to the center of the lake. Kayaks are available to use for free, courtesy of the Tboli local government.
Visiting Lake Holon is a worthwhile experience, especially so when you’re with well-meaning friends and loved ones. I’ve been to Lake Holon twice already but something in its beauty makes me think my visits to Lake Holon aren’t over.
How to get there?
Catch a flight to General Santos City. It’s better to book a van that will take you from the airport to the town of Tboli. This will cost you P3,500. For budget travelers, head to Bulaong Transport Terminal and ride a bus to Koronadal City, with P100 fare.
From Koronadal, ride a van to Tboli. Fare is P60. From downtown, a one-hour ride via habal-habal will take you to either Sitio Nabol or Sitio Kule (two starting points for a trek to Lake Holon). One-way fare is P250 per individual. Habal-Habal single motorcycles can accommodate four people, including the driver.
Any important tips for travelers?
Summon all your patience and energy. From your starting point, it will take you approximately five hours of walking to reach Lake Holon. Don’t forget to bring your raincoats since it rains when you least expect it. Lake Holon, as I observed, always greets its visitors with heavy rain in between the trek. For this, you need to invest in waterproofing your gadgets before your trek.
It will be nice if you can contact the Tboli Information Office before the day of your trek. They can arrange for your transportation and porter guides. They can be reached through mobile numbers 09177779243 and 09129347580.
Whats next on your bucket list for PH destinations?
Canyoneering in Southern Cebu is next on my list on July this year, a trip that will also take me and my friends to Dumaguete and Siquijor. Batanes still remains a distant dream, as well as the beaches of Tawi-Tawi. Someday, someday. There’s still a lot to explore. – Rappler.com
More [Where I’ve Been]:
- [Where I’ve Been] Canyoneering in Alegria, Cebu
- [Where I’ve Been] For this traveler, PH’s Manjuyod Sandbar is ‘Maldives of the Philippines’
- [Where I’ve Been] Magic hour at mesmerizing Lake Holon
- [Where I’ve Been] A surreal experience at Lake Bababu in the Dinagat Islands
- [Where I’ve Been] The hypnotic ‘Blue Lagoon’ of Maguindanao
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.