DIY : Your Lake Sebu, South Cotabato Itinerary

Lake Sebu is one of the more visited destination in the province of South Cotabato. If you have been island hopping to a number of beach destinations around The Philippines, Lake Sebu should be a welcome breather for you. This idyllic town displays another side of the country and gives your more reason to extend your stay. The natural lake of Lake Sebu is the main attraction and your visit is never complete without the early morning boat ride.

Being consistent for making it to the list of sustainable tourism destinations in The Philippines, Lake Sebu just never runs out of reason for you to pass by and visit. 

Getting There

To reach the lush green town of Lake Sebu, the nearest gateway is the domestic airport of nearby city of General Santos City or if coming from the neighboring Asian countries, the Francisco Bangoy International Airport of Davao City. Both airports services Manila routes. If you are coming from Davao City, head to the Ecoland Bus Terminal. From there, take a non-stop bus to General Santos City. You should reach General Santos City in about 3 hours and fare is around PHP250.00

From General Santos City, flag a tricycle to get to Bulaong Bus Terminal. In the terminal look for van bearing Lake Sebu signages. The van will leave for Lake Sebu after every 15-30 minutes or so and note that the last trip leaves at 4PM.

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Prepare to bring snacks and water on board to keep you hydrated. The van fare is around PHP200.00 and the trip lasts for 2 hours. 

Must Read: Land Travel in Mindanao: 6 Essential Rules to Live By

Getting Around Lake Sebu

The best way to embrace Lake Sebu is by foot. Walk around its poblacion and people watch street sellers, as they seat together with their dogs and chickens while waiting for loyal patrons and tourists.  Habal habal (riding on the back of a motorcycle) is popular if you plan to do a half-day or whole day tour of the town. Price ranges for the habal habal ride starts at PHP350.00 to PHP1000.00 depending on the tour.

Where to sleep

As Lake Sebu is already popular with local tourist from Manila, there are already several prime resorts that have made their mark around the lake. 

Must Read: Recommended Affordable Places to Stay in Lake Sebu and Koronadal

But I highly recommend you to try the genuine experience of homestays. It’s the best way to interact with the locals and support their honorable causes. During my visit, I opted to stay with School of Living Traditions (SLT). Their stories of life, tragedy and hope will truly restore your faith in humanity. One of the biggest reasons I travel. And I believe so do you.

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For each night of stay in SLT,  the fee is PHP350.00 and includes a healthy breakfast of rice, eggs and vegetables grown from their backyard. You can arrange lunch, dinner and tours that you plan to take with the very accommodating SLT team.

Where to eat around Lake Sebu

There are a few resorts by the lake that have opened up restaurants that serves dinner. Though there are only a few here that serve ’til late night. 

Points of Interest

The popular activity that every tourist raves about is the 7 Waterfalls Zipline Adventure. But if you do have an extend stay, it is worth visiting the falls on foot with a local tour guide.

The cost of the ziplining adventure is PHP300.00 on weekends and PHP250.00 on weekdays and opens at 9AM daily. You can purchase a photo package of PHP200.00 if you want the photographer to catch your many facial expression while you zipline across the 740-meter metal wire, all your photos will be presented in a CD format and released to you at the park exit.

On your first morn here in Lake Sebu, it is best to wake up early catch the sunrise at the lake while boating. You should arrange for this activity the night before. The cost of renting the boat plus the tour guide is PHP350.00. Add to that also if you are taking the habal habal. It was a nice chilly morning for a walk so I saved a lot by walking around.

So your itinerary for your first morning should be something like boating/breakfast/7 waterfalls zipline adventure.

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You can opt to go back to your hotel for lunch and an afternoon siesta and finish the day off with a short walking tour of the poblacion and coffee or dinner at Bob Nowong, a popular dining place with a beautiful garden. Order a T’boli coffee, settle yourself in one of the tables at the terrace or around the garden and enjoy afternoon of  quietitude. The T’boli coffee is around PHP45.00 per cup and it is not actually made from coffee bean but milled rice and corn kernels.

Lastly,

The town of Lake Sebu may appear too quiet and sleepy to some travellers. But it is never boring. If you have 2 days, your visit will be adrenaline packed with ziplining at 180 meters, river rubber tubing and trekking the 7 waterfalls on foot. 

If you do have another day or so, immerse yourself in the T’boli culture and traditions. Visit the age-old craft of brass casting and the T’nalak women weavers. I encourage you to support their causes and to promote and buy their products. This is the only way you can pay back the sweet hospitality of Lake Sebu.

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P.S. – If you’re travelling to Lake Sebu soon, consider booking through the links in this article. Using the links doesn’t cost you any extra, and it helps keep the site free, fun, and community supported! If you have any questions, please e-mail me at carlaabanes@justtravellingsolo.com.

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Jatin Chabra - 7 months ago Reply

The picture from the boat is amazing. People in South Cotabato are lucky to have such an amazing lake and site. Else back home (New Delhi) we have destroyed everything in the name of urbanization. Though, great shots…

shayne - 7 months ago Reply

Lake Sebu is so picturesque! Hoping to visit one day. Your shots are amazing!!! how much is the ideal budget for this?

Riely - 7 months ago Reply

Lake Sebu looks beautiful from your photos. One destination I have yet to hear about in The Philippines. Waking up to the sunset on the lake when be a highlight I am sure. It would be nice to stay at a homestay rather than a resort to support locals and get to know their lives better.

woody world packer - 7 months ago Reply

We have been to the Philippines Years ago, where we visited Manila, Boracay and beautiful Palawan. We definitely want to come back one day. Island hopping sounds amazing, and Lake Cebu is definitely one destination we would love to include in our itinerary.

woody world packer - 7 months ago Reply

We have been to the Philippines Years ago, where we visited Manila, Boracay and beautiful Palawan. We definitely want to come back one day. Island hopping sounds amazing, and Lake Cebu is definitely one destination we would love to include in our itinerary.

Sara Broers - 6 months ago Reply

I have never heard of this place. The photos you have of the lake with the beautiful pink flowers are stunning. The Philippines look to have so many beautiful places and beautiful lakes to enjoy, that it does make me think about visiting soon. With ziplining and 7 waterfalls and an opportunity for peace and quiet, it looks like a win/win!

Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie - 6 months ago Reply

I love the flowers lining the top of the lake. Such a contrast from the turquoise beach photos you always think of when you see Philippines photos. Lake Cebu sounds perfect for the adventure traveler, too. I’d love to learn more about the T’boli culture. Always good to support indigenous crafts and skills.

Claudia - 6 months ago Reply

Lake Sebu looks like a lovely place to visit in the Philippines. I enjoy a slower pace of travel, where you can really get a sense of local culture and custom.

Brianna Simmons - 6 months ago Reply

When it comes to the Philipines I see tons of posts on the islands and neaches like Borucay. Thank you for sharing Lake Sebu with us and showing another side of this incredibly diverse country.

Jenn and Ed Coleman - 6 months ago Reply

What a fun adventure! Zip lines and water falls look amazing but you can also get immersed into the local culture and genuninely connect and help the local people. How cool is that?

Mel Jones - 6 months ago Reply

I have yet to go to the Philippines but Lake Sebu seems right up my street especially the ziplining! I did the fastest one in Wales a couple of years ago and it is so exhilarating isn’t it?! I’d love to have a go here too, you look like you had a blast! 😉

Reshma - 6 months ago Reply

Lake Sebu looks like a wonderful place for a trip in the Philippines. I’m surprised that none of the locals ever mentioned to me while I was there nor did I come across this great place. I would love to trek to the waterfalls too. At PHP 350, School of Living Traditions looks like an awesome place to stay.

Drew - 6 months ago Reply

I’m about to move to Asia with my wife and we are so looking forward to increasing our travel around the area. The Philippines is high on the list of places to go first! I can’t wait to get lost on a tropical island somewhere and Lake Cebu sounds like the perfect place to start!

RaW | Ramble and Wander - 6 months ago Reply

I love it when you recommend to try the genuine experience of homestays in Lake Sebu. I’ve just stayed in one over the weekend in Perak, Malaysia and totally enjoyed the experience. Like you said, it’s definitely the best way to interact with the locals and support their honourable causes. Anyways, I _think_ I’d love to try the 7 waterfalls zipline despite the fact that I’m afraid of heights. Looks so fun!

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