Did you ever feel stressed from work? Have you ever felt the need to freshen your mind or at least to escape the feels of being in the city? Well, Lake Holon might have some “saving grace” just for you to escape your plain routine with an adventure that you will never forget.

Why Lake Holon?

— locally known as Melibengoy, is a stratovolcano on Mindanao island in the Philippines.

It’s always fun and exciting to visit other places, isn’t it? So, my group of friends and I have decided to visit the gem of South Cotabato: Lake Holon, which can be found in the rural area of T’boli — located in the southern-most part of Mindanao.

We’ve decided to visit the place not only for the lake itself alone but as well as the challenge that you may encounter going to the lake — you are to trek 7 kilometers starting from Sitio Kule going to the lake; 9 kilometers descent from the lake heading to Salacafe.

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Sitio Kule, T’boli, South Cotabato (Photo Credit: Ailleen Ropa)

 

So, since we’re from the northern part of Mindanao  — which is Cagayan de Oro City — we have to travel for nearly or at most 12 hours going to T’boli, South Cotabato.

Many of you might have second thoughts on going to the place since it’s South Cotabato, but I, too, didn’t expect how safe the place is. It’s a common misconception to us northerners of thinking that it’s not safe there, which we should eliminate and give those places a chance and re-track those impressions.

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Tourism T’boli, South Cotabato (Photo Credit: Ailleen Ropa)

 

The trail heading to the lake has five stations and is rated 3/9 by most guides which I’ve spoken to, so it’s not really that hard for people who’ve just started trekking. Well, it’s normal to feel like catching your breath because of the slopes — granting that it’s a mountain you’re climbing heading to the lake. As the saying goes: “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.” Yes, indeed, it doesn’t matter how slow the pacing is as long as you don’t give up.

In about 2 hours of trekking (common pacing for a newbie), you’ll reach the view deck which allows you to see the entire Lake Holon and takes pictures with it.

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A view from the top of Lake Holon

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The view from view deck overlooking Lake Holon

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Lake Holon with friends

 

Let’s skip other details regarding the trekking part and fast forward to the lake itself.

Pristine waters. Stunning view. Enchanting serenity. Just a few impressions you’ll realize once you reach the lake — or even just by riding the canoe as you head through the campsite.

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Riding the canoe in Lake Holon (Photo Credit: Ailleen Ropa)

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With the canoe

 

ITINERARY:

DAY 0
8:00 PM – Meet up at Dunkin Donut D.V. Soria (Cagayan de Oro participants)
9:00 PM – Departure
11:00 PM – Arrived at Valencia to pick up other participants

DAY 1
6:00 AM – Arrived at Marbel for breakfast
8:00 AM – Arrived at T’boli Tourism, South Cotabato for registration
11:30 AM – Arrived at Sitio Salacafe for lunch
12:30 PM – Arrived at Sitio Kule
1:00 PM – Start trek
3:00 PM – Arrived at view deck
4:00 PM – Arrived at the campsite/lake
4:30 PM – Socials and explored the lake
(Note: Kayak to explore Lake Holon = 100/head, free swimming, and fish spa.)
7:00 PM – Dinner and Socials
10:00 PM – Lights off

DAY 2
5:00 AM – Wake up call, coffee, prepare foods for breakfast
9:00 AM- Break camp, start the descent
12:00 NN – Arrived at Sitio Salacafe
12:30 PM – Lunch
3:00 PM – Departed Sitio Salacafe and head back to CDO
7:00 PM- Dinner somewhere
3:00 – Arrival CDO

That’s basically not the itinerary we followed, that itself is the overall timeline of the escape we had — since there were delays.

THINGS TO BRING:

– Clothes for trekking and extra drift shirts
– Socks
– Trek shoes or trek sandals
– Raincoat and jacket
– At least 2L of water
– Sleeping bag
– Eating utensils
– And of course, your camera
NOTE: Travel light, and don’t pack unnecessary stuff.

COST:
The cost of the travel package was Php3000, but the agency/organization offers discounted prices if there are three or more persons in your group.

Package deal:
1 person = Php 3000
2 persons = Php 2900 promo
3 persons or more = Php 2800 promo

So, if we are to include other expenses and pocket money, it’d total of exactly Php4000 (this is if you’re only from Cagayan de Oro).

Special thanks to Subida Mindanao for guiding us safely through the entire journey. Cheers, and hoping for more adventures with you guys!

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That’s all for this episode of travel to Lake Holon in T’boli, South Cotabato. I hope this, at least, sparks the traveler spirit within you. Stay tuned for more travel reviews and guides. Thank you! <3

The rates, contact details and other information indicated in this post are accurate from the time of writing but may change without cityescape.ph's notice. Should you know the updated information, please let us know via [email protected]


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Nichole John Tuba

An optimistic lost soul with the burning desire to travel and share wonderful experiences with this world.

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