The long queue in the zipline zone is proof that Lake Sebu is fast living up to its name as one of Mindanao's best summer hang-outs.
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines - Today, we discovered a trick. The best way to get the kids off their beds very early in the morning is to announce a trip, particularly a ziplining and eating trip...in Lake Sebu!
By 7:00 am, everyone has bathe, taken breakfast and in the car. Ready to go. Sounds like a miracle but true. For these human beings who have the uncanny talent to sleep on until lunchtime, it was, indeed, a feat to remember.
Everyone's mind was filled with the zipline agenda. Eating lunch overlooking the famous lake in Punta Isla Resort became a poor second. I knew it was a temporary reprieve. Wait until we finish with the trek - food will be an obsession, as always.
We shoot past the zipline area in Lake Sebu's 7 Falls and have to go back as we kept asking where it is. The uphill trip of our car Avi was in itself a nice, refreshing experience. The government is doing a great job preserving the natural environment - the lush, greening vegetation fully intact. Even if the road was a bit rough, it was obviously well-maintained.
We were early but the line was already long. Our 3 zipline enthusiasts toed the line like eager beavers - anxious yet excited. According to Rene Edjan, one of the 11 landowners of the estimated 20 hectare-area, as many as 400 people troop for the experience during weekends and holidays. The slowest day could generate not less than 10 people.
"Sometimes, it is even hard for us to control the crowd who often come as far as Manila and neighboring cities like Davao, General Santos and even Ilo-ilo. Everyone is just too excited to wait", Rene said.
Ziplining has started in Lake Sebu only last year but already, the income has gone over P3 million (around US$70-80,000). Rene added that he has owned and tilled the land since 1955. This time, they seemed to have struck gold as local tourists keep coming.
I have seen it 10 years ago and it is still awe-inspiring, its beauty stood pat through time. We briefly talked to a woman who was busy getting shells. Unmindful of the visitors lined up to see the waterfalls from a bridge, she told us she got enough for a day's meal.
I cannot help but feel proud that this wonderful place is just in our vicinity and the locals know well how to preserve it as nature deserves.
Going ziplining is more than just gliding through the heights. One gets more pluses with the unbelievably beautiful sights that can only be found in Lake Sebu.
On our way back, Avi took some serious grunts while being maneuvered to a climb. Stones crunched. After stalling for few more minutes, we were able to survive the challenge. Avi delivers! As the kids filled the car with their adventure, we all headed for the much-awaited food part.
Note: Lake Sebu is a thriving municipality in South Cotabato, in the southern part of the Philippines. To get here, you take a roughly 2-hour plane ride from Manila to General Santos City, go by land for another 2 hours. Taxis and passenger vans are available for hire. If you do not have friends who can host you, there are guest houses. Zipline operators do not take reservations and follow the first-come, first-served policy.
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