I ♥ SOUTH COTABATO
Overnight Side Trip to Lake Sebu (A Travel Guide)
After years of wanting to go to Lake Sebu, I finally found an opportunity to visit this place. We were planning our annual family vacation (which we’ve decided to be Davao this year) so my husband and I figured we could book a flight to General Santos City, go on an overnight trip to Lake Sebu before heading to Davao to meet the rest of the family. This blog entry details our 2-day trip to Lake Sebu via General Santos City before we headed for Davao.
Where is Lake Sebu located?
Lake Sebu is a natural lake located within the Alah Valley Region in South Cotabato. Lake Sebu is also the name of the municipality where it is located. This 42,450 hectares landscape is recognized by UNESCO as one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mindanao. The lake itself is considered by the government as one of the key watersheds in the Philippines and is recognized as an ancestral domain. The municipality of Lake Sebu has been successful in preserving the culture of the T'boli tribe including T'nalak weaving. The municipality of Lake Sebu is about 100 kms away from General Santos City and about 45 kms away from Koronadal City.
What are the things you can do in Lake Sebu?
Lake Sebu, more than anything, is a cultural hub filled with the rich heritage of the T'boli tribe. Most travelers who come to Lake Sebu for a cultural immersion shouldn't miss the dream weavers and the wood carvers. But apart from learning about its culture, Lake Sebu also has one of the most impressive and well-preserved natural wonders. One shouldn't miss exploring its lakes and its most famous Seven Waterfalls. Once you get to the Lake Sebu bus/van terminal, you will see a list of attractions that you can go to. Lake Sebu Tourism Office has categorized the tourist destinations into 3 groups - culture, adventure and nature.
How to go to Lake Sebu from Manila?
Going to Lake Sebu was easier than I had expected. I was imagining long bus rides on bumpy roads but it turned out to be a way easier route than other more popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. Here are the steps on how to reach Lake Sebu from Manila:
How many days should I spend there?
I would suggest to have at least a night to spare when you want to explore Lake Sebu. The best time to explore the lake would be early morning about 5:30 to 7:00 AM so unless you are able to travel from General Santos City at 3:30 AM, then a day trip will do. If you are going to do a day trip, then follow Day 2 in my suggested itinerary below. This itinerary is for a 1-night stay in Lake Sebu plus a 1-night stay in General Santos City.
DAY 1: TRAVEL FROM GENERAL SANTOS CITY TO LAKE SEBU, SUNSET WATCHING
There are also other sunset viewpoints which you can go to on your first day. We were hungry the moment we arrived in Lake Sebu and all we could think of was food so we chose an overlooking restaurant. If food is not your priority, my suggestion would be to go with Evelandia Lake Vista or Divine Mercy Sanctuary.
DAY 2: LAKE SEBU DAY TOUR
How much should my budget be?
The budget for a Lake Sebu trip really depends on the activities that you would like to do during your trip and how long you are staying. For our one-night trip, the cost is roughly P9,000 per person. This includes airfare but excludes the expenses for one more night stay in General Santos City after the Lake Sebu trip. Note that these are prices during our trip in 2019 and most likely have increased since then.
Where can I stay in Lake Sebu?
There are only a few hotels/resorts in Lake Sebu but I have done enough research on each of them to be able to make a good decision. My first choice would have been Punta Isla Lake Resort. Although they don't have a good rating in Tripadvisor.com (only 3.5 out of 5), I believe they are one of the biggest and most travelers end up staying with them. There are about 2-3 more resorts in the area but it was farther away from the lake. My goal was to get a place overlooking the lake but near enough for us to lounge and watch the sunset/sunrise if we had a chance. We found a more expensive but newer resort called Dolores Lake Resort which was on their introductory promo when we came to visit. Read about our stay in Dolores Lake Resort here: A Review of Dolores Lake Resort
Here's a list of the resorts in Lake Sebu based on my preference:
There are also several other accommodations but has very limited information online:
Below are some photos I took of Dolores Lake Resort and Punta Isla Lake Resort...
Is it possible to do a day trip in Lake Sebu?
It is definitely possible to do a day trip in Lake Sebu from General Santos City, especially if you have your own transportation. If you don’t, there are several cars/van that you can rent. Here are the rates according to one of the car/van rental companies where we have inquired:
There are several transportation rental companies that you can contact in General Santos City. Hotels in General Santos City should also be able to arrange this trip for you. Just inquire at the receptionist of your hotel. If you don't have any contact, you can try reaching out to Kuya Loloy at 0927-766-4278 or 0910-437-8122.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them here: