Travel to where your heart is being called and bear that smile with you along the way. ( January 2, 2017, just a day after the start of the year, we took on a Mindanao Star bus ride from Bulaong Terminal,General Santos City to Mindanao Star Terminal, Koronadal City. It cost us Php 85.00 for the ride. There is actually a different transportation option, a van goes directly from Bulaong Terminal to T’boli Tourism Office. You might want to check it out for details.Something i wasn’t able to do)
I almost forgot that bus rides offer limitless opportunities to see wonders after wonders.( I was happy to see Mt. Matutum on our way to Koronadal City. Right then i wondered, when will i be able to climb it? I remember singing our high school anthem “In the presence of lofty Matutum…” Sigh. Soon enough. Soon.)
Take the gang with you. Tell them to bring their friends just as you will bring yours too. Get to know them during your travel and when you part ways, you already have a part of them in you. (Getting off the Mindanao Star Bus, We walked to a van terminal just beside the bus terminal and took a van from T’boli Coop to Lake Holon. The driver was so accommodating that he offered to drop us right in the doorstep of T’boli Tourism office. The ride cost us Php 60.00 for less than an hour ride.)
A year can be so long that new things were created as it pass and so short that you can still remember the people you met. ( Touchdown T’boli Tourism Office. It’s their new office! They had it built late last year for the sole purpose of getting T’boli Tourism a notch Higher. Good Job to Sir Rodel and the Team!)
All set to go and see Lake Holon. ( We were able to talk to Rolly who went through all the details of what we might be needing in Lake Holon. We paid Php. 100.00 for the Entrance Fee and Php 50.00 for the Environment Fee. Told us to keep the receipt and show it to the Salacafe receiving area which we took for this trip.)
It’s amazing how one can travel in different ways. ( We took a habal-habal ride to Salacafe receiving area. The ride cost Php 300.00. We took it in pairs so individually we only paid Php 150.00. There’s an option to take it in three’s but since we have stuffs, like our bags and tents and cooking gears, we opted to take it in pairs.)
Enjoy every ride knowing that it will take you closer to where you want to be. ( The habal-habal ride took as a little less than an hour. It’s an exhilarating ride over a shallow river, hills, mountain sides, banana plantations and bamboo groves. Just hold on for your dear life and have fun!)
Don’t forget to say Hyu Hlafus for a good morning to Pastora when you get to the Salacafe Receiving Area. ( We gathered around her table to listen to the orientation and some mystical stories about the lake. We also presented to her the receipt we got from the tourism office. We paid Php 20.00 for the walking pole, which is a good support during the trek, and a deposit of Php 200.00/group for the garbage. You can only get it back though if you didn’t leave any garbage in Lake Holon. Salacafe Receving Area is one of the two receiving areas to Lake Holon. There is also a Kule Receiving Area for those who wanted take the more difficult route, Kule Trail. Salacafe guides costs Php 300.00 per day. Kule guides costs Php 600.00 per day)
Hiking baggage are heavy, Emotional baggage is painful, Eye baggage is ugly. ( You can ask for a porter to carry extra stuff for you like your tent, cooking gears or even your back pack for Php 20.00/kilo. Please do consider that porters are humans too.)
Now this is one big family. ( The gang with Pastora at the center, our Guide on the far right, Kuya Tony and our Porter on the far left, Kuya Jomar. From left to right, me, Jonell, a colleague, Rose a newfound friend from Cotabato City, Aine, my friend and churchmate, Emelyn, Rose’s friend and also my newfound friend from Cotabato City and Ian, my vgroup brother, Aine’s palalabs.From the Salacafe Receving Area, we took of the Salacafe Trail to Lake Holon)
On the early leg of our trek just before we entered Sitio Nabul, I came across a pig who plays dead (click the for full story). The big was such a joy!
One of the pit stops for the Salacafe Trail is Gono Kemfi where they serve native coffee. You can take a rest and eat local delicacies like casava and some other stuffs.
Take the journey but do not hasten to get to the end instead enjoy every step you take. ( Fog began to descend while we were on our trail. Rain fell for a short span so we don on our raincoats every now and then.)
Keep yourself in check. You get to see more of these on the trail. The trail took us almost 4 hours to finish.
It’s station 3! and you need to sit on the big rock for a selfie!
I hear the roar of the river. I hear her life screaming from the depths of this cliff. (Along the way you will come across a viewing deck where you can hear the river roaring. It was said to be the outlet of Lake Holon. The over the far distance you can see the Municipality of T’boli.Knoon!; Maganda in tagalog )
Meet the guardians. Just in case you missed them along the way, try to count them one by one on your way back. ( The guardians are known to be protectors of Lake Holon itself. They resembled the fifteen points of the crater that sorrounded the Lake.)
Welcome to Kotung Busaw, where it was said to be the place where the witches cook. I can still remember the creepy smile of our guide when he said Kotunng Busaw meant the cooking pot of witches. Well, you can take a rest here!
Just a few steps from Kotung Busaw is the Salacafe viewing deck. It’s Hello Lake Holon from there! Then from the viewing deck, the descend to the Lake will begins. It is the most challenging part of the trail since your leg strength will be put to test.
Let the rain fall as the sky celebrates on this wonderful day. ( When we arrived at the camp, the rain was falling. Our knees and the soles of our feet hurt from the descend but the sight of the camp was a relief. The next thing we had in mind was to get our tents pitched and take a rest.)
Hello Lake Holon! but she was shy. She was barely smiling. How i wished that the sun was out that day just like when i first saw here. I wrote a Travel Literature about my Love-Hate relationship with Lake Holon. (click the link for the full story)
“ ” Our early morning got so cold. We woke up and boiled water for coffee.The whole night was a series of wind blowing and tent shaking and erratic rain falls. Talking about adventure eh? Yung gusto ko sa kape, yung matapang, yung nagagalit pag hindi mo iniinom
Never miss out in waking up with Lake Holon. Wake with her if you can manage the cold but be rewarded as her beauty unfolds.
Lake Holon waking up to a grey sky. Well, this is a black and white photo but the skies that morning were cloudy and heavy.
Soak in her peace. Soak in her beauty.
Enjoy the warmth of a cup of noodles (no endorsement intended) on a cold morning by the lake.
Cheers to our porter and our Guide. We walked with them, we talked with them. We ate with them but i wonder where they went when we slept. 🙂
Enjoy the Lake while taking a boat ride for Php 100.00 per person/hour.
Getting into the Lake means wearing life jacket is compulsory.
Captured a tiger cub on his morning trip to the lakeshore to play. 🙂
Bonfires are a good way to spend the night at the camp site. You just have to pay for the wood and enjoy the bonfire at this designated place.
Well, comfort isn’t everything but trust me you’re going to need this for release.
A designated area for cooking is assigned.
Spring water is a resource. You might want to get refilled for your trek back to Salacafe Receiving Area.
Cheers to the gang and to the adventures we had.
When you get back to Gono Kemfi, you might wanna check this bamboo mugs for only Php 50.00. Limited edition only.
Taking a pit stop at Gono Kemfi for food and souvenirs.
Drop by this souvenir shop beside Gono Kemfi.
You might actually want to take a horse ride for Php400.00.
That tired and fulfilled smile after hours of trekking. We bid farewell to Kuya Toni and Kuya Jomar. We also made sure that we brought our garbage with us so we can get a refund of our deposit.
Finally, It’s T’boli Tourism Office once again. ( We took a habal-habal ride from Salacafe Receiving Area to T’boli Tourism office, still for Php 300.00 per ride. We dropped by on our way home to log out from their records and get our certificate.)
There goes our ride home. If you want to take a one-ride trip to General Santos City. You can have it for Php 160.oo. The last trip is by 3pm but since we were not able to catch up with that trip. We took a van to Koronadal City Yellow Bus Terminal for Php 60.00.
From YBL terminal we took a bus ride to Bulaong Terminal, General Santros City for Php 95.00. We actually waited for a few minutes in line before we were able to get aboard the bus. Might want to consider going home around 4pm because it will be the afternoon going home rush. Finally, It’s home sweet home.
There are reasons why i took this trip. One is to go back to where my love for trekking began. These photos were taken a year apart. The first photo below was taken this year. The second one was last year….
Check out the full story of last year’s trip here :
Into the Heart of the Guardians: Lake Holon