Lake Sebu is not in Cebu, for those who know. For those who don’t, now you know that Lake Sebu is not in Cebu, it is in South Cotabato. Having spent Christmas last year with friends Edwin and Mike, both based in Koronadal City [formerly known as Marbel], Lake Sebu was on my list and I was not leaving without going. Even when the holiday celebration on Christmas day rendered my company lazy the next day, I forced them to go with me and because they were my hosts, they were not able to say no. Salamat po![See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here].
Koronadal City is an hour bus ride from Gensan, my take off point. From Koronodal City, we took a 30-minute bus ride to Surallah. In Surallah, we stopped a while because its major landmark in its major crossroad done by a major Mindanao artist, Kublai Millan [see pictures below], was worth a major stop. Ito na ang totoong major major! Took some shots and shoots before we finally headed to Lake Sebu, 20-minutes by jeepney. All roads were paved and I was surprised to see its excellent condition considering that in my pre-research, Lake Sebu is suppose to be the ancestral homeland of our brethren T’boli’s, and being so, I thought going to the place may be quite rough, but it was not. It’s mountainous, yes, but seemed like I was only going up to Baguio.[See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here]
Upon reaching the center of Lake Sebu, where the paved road ends, I witnessed a quaint locality and realized how simple living there is in existence. Kaya kong tumira dito. We then took a habal-habal to take us to Punta Isla Lake Resort, which is said to be the most popular, having been frequented by celebrities and politicians.
Punta Isla is overlooking Lake Sebu [don’t be confused, Lake Sebu is a lake and also the name of the municipality]. The resort is huge, and provide several cozy places to stay and dine, with view of the lake, all the time. As excited as we were, we hurriedly went down the lake, magnetized by its floating restaurant with a huge “tilapia” replica on top. Explanation: “tilapia” is the major source of livelihood of the T’boli’s which they grow in the lake. Other sources of livelihood are brassware, wood carving and cloth weaving, more popularly known as “T’nalak” [see clothes worn by a T'boli woman below], all of which you see on side streets for sale].[See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here]
We were informed though that dining in the floating restaurant will cost additional P150 per head. Pass, aside from the price, I don’t like catching my meal every time it shakes, it lessens my appetite and I frown upon challenges while eating except to take the most! :) We settled in one of the huts instead, where it was more comfortable.[See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here]
Noticeable was a group of T’boli performers going around each table for requests. They don’t charge, it’s part of the resort’s attraction, but giving them any amount is appreciated. Escaped my interest not were T’boli kids in traditional T’boli wooden boats, paddling around the lake wishing for some generous visitors for their spare coins. I did, in exchange for some of my most beautiful images of late.[See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here]
Food was good and because Lake Sebu is known for its “tilapia” industry, we went for an “all-tilapia” meal even when there are others in their menu like pork, beef, chicken, veggies, etc. We got kilawing tilapia, chicharong tilapia, and inihaw na tilapia. What was missing was tilapia shake! There is a free paksiw na tilapia for every table which I was informed are left overs of any “tilapia” menu where the meat was only needed. No worries, it’s still good because there is still meat to eat and because it’s free, you are not suppose to complain anymore. Magpasalamat na lang. We were only three, but for our order which was actually good for five and P700 was not really bad![See photos of Punta Isla Resort in my Flickr here]
Punta Isla Lake Resort is a showcase of Lake Sebu’s culture and Mindanao as a whole. The Lake was so inviting that we wanted to stay longer have we not planned to go to the Seven Falls [subject of my next post] on the same day. When in Lake Sebu, don’t miss Punta Isla. By the way, the resort also offers accomodation and provides venue for all occasions. Check out their Facebook Page for more information.
Related post/s on Lake Sebu: Lake Sebu: The Seven Falls