Hidden in the valley and mountains of Lake Sebu is the most extraordinary wonder of nature that has unique trait of both power and beauty. Lake Sebu has been in custody for some centuries of seven fabled waterfalls interconnected by series of rivers and streams. Yes! you read it right there are seven cascading waterfalls that supports life in the bio-diverse ecosystem that thrives in Lake Sebu. And with the onset of tourism in the area a zip-line was conveniently built from Falls 1 to Falls 2 making the most scenic one and also the highest one in Southeast Asia that is 600 ft from the ground.
Location: Barangay Lake Seloton, Lake Sebu South Cotabato Philippines
Entrance Fee: P20
Activities: Trekking, Zip-line, Trampoline Jump, Bungee Jump, Zorb Ball.
It was Saturday morning and I just check out of an overnight stay in Punta Isla at around 10:15 am hoping to cover 7 falls on the remaining time I had before heading back to General Santos before it gets dark. I know I should have checked out early in the resort but the beauty of Lake Sebu on daylight got a hold of me a little longer.
You can request the staff of the resort to fetch you a habal-habal if you have no rides going to 7 Falls but in my case I already requested the habal-habal the other day to come back on the next day for a fixed fee of P40. That is one way going to 7 Falls and you can haggle it to a bit cheaper because the regular rate is usually P30.
After an exhilarating 20 minute habal-habal ride on a mixed of paved and bumpy road we arrive on the entrance of Falls 1. We go directly to where the entrance fee of P20 will be paid and mostly where every adventure in 7 Falls starts. The site was quite renovated with cemented steps to help ease in walking and there are lots of vendors selling souvenir and pasalubong stuff. It's on this area that I see the most hideous arch I've ever seen in my life and it's sad because it is the welcome arch for the visitors in 7 Falls.
If you go straight navigating the cemented steps it will lead you directly to the Falls 1. You'll pass through the facility for the zip-line in your left side and then a concrete bridge on your way. The modernization of the place somehow takes away the native motif that would somehow coincide with the T'Boli tribe. A well made bamboo bridge would have worked well than the concrete one but somehow the people who runs this place doesn't care on the symbolic nature of the tribe.
- name means 'Passage' by the T'Boli tribe.
- Type: Block Waterfall
- used to be called Dongon Falls in tribute to the landowners.
- Height: 35 ft
Capturing her wild beauty is definitely a challenge and leaves me a lot of crappy pictures filled with water all over because I came unprepared. It requires a lot of patience on wiping the lens of my camera and finding a good spot with all the mud underneath my feet with mist all over. It literally feels like it's raining out there. I met and befriended a fellow traveler too!
Reaching Falls 2 from here is either by two routes. The expensive one is fun & exhilarating and the free one is adventurous & challenging.
You can trek your way to Falls 2 from Falls 1 by navigating 774 steps. It promised to be a very picturesque trek that will get you up close with the natural flora and fauna of Lake Sebu. Many reported to have seen monkeys on their natural habitat. I, unfortunately, wasn't able to take this route due to time constraints and because I want to experience the exhilarating one.
This is my favorite way in getting to Falls 2 from Falls 1's vicinity. This must never be missed upon your visit in Lake Sebu because this is the very attraction that competes with the 7 Falls itself. Just imagine flying above 600 ft in the air from one mountain to another with the beautiful waterfalls below you. I could not put into words such a once in a lifetime experience like that. The life threatening danger of falling from such height mixed with the stunning sight of the Falls 2, 3, 4, 5 just within your sight is just pure ecstasy that will imprinted in my memory forever. And you get to do it twice for a price of P300. This undoubtedly the most scenic zip-line ride I ever had.
Now let's get into details of this breathtaking experience that some bloggers may have missed. Your starting point is in the vicinity of the of Falls 1 after paying the required fee you will escorted to a platform where you will be prepped for the safety features to keep you from falling. They will also securely hooked in your camera and in my case my backpack too. This usually go by pairs but if you are alone you can experience it all to yourself. I swear when the plunge started I have doubts not to go through with it because of fear but when the beauty of the waterfalls starts to unveil in my eyes I never wanted it to end. It's the closest thing you can have of flying. The first plunge is from Station 1 to Station 2.
After a few walks and stairs climb I arrived in Station 3 for another plunge to Station 4. This is quite short and slow compared to the first one. Station 1 to Station 2 plunge is the most scenic and alonger experience. There are photographers snapping a photo of you flying in Station 2 and Station 4. They sell you the photos taken which costs P50 each for a printed copy and P100 for all of the soft copies. You will be paying separately for the pictures taken in Station 2 and Station 4. Of course you are not really required to get them but you could not resist the picture of you taken in that experience. It would be wise to take a good look of the pictures taken first before paying for them. And never hesitate to say "No" to the bad ones like I did. Here's what I think can help you in choosing - the photographer in Station 2 takes better but lesser pictures compared to the one in Station 4 who goes trigger happy in snapping not to so good photos. In the end it's up to you which you will get and if you have lots of money to spare then don't let me stop you to take them all.
Zipline #1 (Station 1 to Station 2) - distance of 740 m.
Zipline #2 (Station 3 to Station 4) - distance of 420 m.
- name means 'Immeasurable' by the T'Boli tribe.
- Type: Plunge Waterfall
- the biggest of all 7 Falls
- Height: 70 ft
A five-minute trek of descending walkway brought me to an area of Falls 2. You will cross a small bungalow of one of the landowners which lets you rent a T'Boli costume for picture taking purposes which costs P50. Further ahead more vendors selling souvenir items and a big hall indicates you are getting closer to Hikong Bente.
There are two areas where you can view Hikong Bente. The first one is on the other side of the bridge and the second one is by following the pavements on the right side. I'd say that the more photogenic part for Hikong Bente is one across the bridge because it clearly shows the stream that's trailing out of the waterfalls and all the vegetation around it.
PHOTOGRAPHER TIP! The bridge is a good sturdy place to position your tripod for a long exposure shot of Hikong Bente and adding the bridge in your picture of the waterfalls is good choice for some variety purposes.
If you want an unobstructed closer view of Hikong Bente then opt for the paved trail on the right side. For less than 5 minutes you will arrive on the vicinity and I was stun of the beautiful limestone formation beside it carved by the waterfalls itself for over a millenia of existence. It almost looks like a ruin of an ancient city and it makes a perfect pair with Hikong Bente. The limestone's most visible feature is the layer after layer of nature's masterpiece wherein water dripping on each layer from the mist of Hikong Bente.
Hikong Bente is really massive and her majestic beauty is most felt on this area. The roar of the water falling from the height of 70 feet is music to my ears and the massive mist cloud it created will excite your senses to see more waterfalls so it's advisable to head here first. This is the biggest of all 7 Falls in Lake Sebu and her beauty & power is just as immeasurable as her Creator. I guess it's true what they say that the most beautiful waterfalls are hidden deep in the mountains where no human can defile her beauty.
- name means left to right 'Coil', 'Booth' & 'Wild Flower' by the T'Boli tribe.
- Type: Cascade & Segmented Waterfall
- Height ???
Falls 6 & 7 can only be accessed by trekking a couple of hours down deep into the mountain. Way back then this would be a dangerous thing to do alone but with the effort of the local government it is now made convenient for toursits by the cemented steps they built. Unfortunately I was on a strict time service so I wasn't able to spare of couple of hours to trek down to see the two remaining waterfalls. I will definitely come back here just for that purpose.
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES:
ENTRANCE FEE : P20
ZIP-LINE FEE : P300
Station 2 PHOTOS - P150 ( P100 for all soft copies, P50 printed copy each)
Station 4 PHOTOS - P150 ( P100 for all soft copies, P50 printed copy each)
T'BOLI COSTUMES RENT: P50
from GENSAN -- 1 hr 30 mins --> MARBEL by bus for P65 -- 30 mins --> SURALLAH by bus for P24 -- 45 mins --> to LAKE SEBU by jeepney or passenger van for P25