January 2, 2015, marked the day of what I thought was just a usual lake trip with friends but turned out as my first ever trek and camping experience. It was my first trip to Lake Holon. I really thought that it’s just like a walk in the park, get there and go home, but Lake Holon is filled with so much surprises.
The trip started at the tourism office of the Municipal Hall of T’boli, where we were welcomed by the accommodating Municipal Tourism Officer, Rodel Hilado. We registered our names and contact information after which the tourism staff endorsed us to the habal-habal drivers who took us to Sitio Kule. The endorsement is one way of safe guarding the tourists during the trips to the drop off zone. It took us an hour to Sitio Kule, the hunting ground, one of the drop off zone/starting point of the trek to Lake Holon. From Sitio Kule, my first trek, the trek of my life began.
Our trek to Lake Holon through the Kule trail took us three and a half hours. This is how long it usually is for beginners. We started off with a tree planting then proceed to the trail. Being a newbie in trekking, it was difficult. I needed to catch my breath when we ascend the trail. I was carrying a bag filled with canned goods which added to the weight. I should have known that it is best to travel light especially on mountain trails. Sweat and rain mixed when the rain started to fall. It couldn’t get any harder. When we started the descend mud started to stick to my sandals. It lost its grip and I slipped four times, breaking my walking stick on the process. Without a walking stick, there are times when I made my way downwards with my butt on the ground. Amidst all those difficulties, one might think of going back but…there’s a big “BUT”… every time I see the beauty of the place, the wonders that God created, I can really say that it was all worth it. Especially when we got to the view deck. The view was breathtaking though at that moment, the lake was covered in fog. The view could have been more amazing. Right then, I knew the noob in me breathed and lived adventure.
When the Kule trail ended, we got on a dugout boat that took us to the camp site. I was fortunate enough to ride on the boat alone with JR,one of the locals, who navigated the boat. I was lost in full enchantment as I watch in wonder the beauty of the lake. The grandeur of the 15 guardians encircling and looking over Lake Holon.
That night, I found solace in the midst of the guardians. Their silhouette in the dark of the night reminded me on how Lake Holon is something that needs to be protected. Pitching our tent just a few meters from the edge of the lake gave us full view of its wonders. The night sky was covered with dark clouds and the stars were not out that night but still the lake gave off that enchanting glow. Yes, we did camp out for the night, had fun with friends and heard camp stories. We swam by the lake just before the sun set and gathered around the camp fire by evening, ate grilled tilapia caught by the locals and enjoyed each other’s company. Those can be done on other spots but i was glad i did it with Lake Holon.
By morning of the next day, we took a kayak around the lake and i fell even more in love with the lake but then, its time to go home. We brought only pictures, memories and aching muscles with us leaving the Lake to itself and under the watch of the 15 guardians.
Definitely, I am going back to learn about the guardians and experience the midnight blue and look at the stars at night and…and…and…there’s just more stories to make.
Definitely, I will be coming back.
Lake Holon will be closing on January 11, 2016 for the Breathing Period will open again on March 5, 2016. Holon will heal itself for the coming Pilgrimage this March, 🙂 Am soooo excited!