2013: Lake Sebu Revisited
There are places I’ve visited and photographed a number of times but continue to remain in my bucket list because I missed some interesting areas, people or activities that I really want to photograph. For example, I’ve been visiting Mongolia since 2004 but I still long to see the Tsaatans or “Reindeer People” of Hovsgol Province; I’ve been to Papua New Guinea four times in the past twelve months but I still have to photograph the elusive bird-of-paradise of Western Province or feast with the “mud men” of Goroka; I was based in Indonesia for a year but I still hope to see the Borobudur Temple of Java; I’ve explored parts of Georgia (country) but I still wish I have visited Svaneti; and so on. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do these things in my lifetime but it’s always nice to have a bucket list.
A fish farmer paddles his dugout canoe to visit his fish cages
The highland municipality of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, the Philippines has remained part of my bucket list even if I was just there last month and I’ve done a number of visits to this exotic hideaway many times before. The one thing I have not done even during my recent visit was to see Lang Dulay, one of the Philippines’ National Living Treasure Awardee and the T’boli Dreamweavers, indigenous spoolers of the exotic t’nalak fabric. As in the other countries I previously mentioned, my shallow excuse for this shameful omission was my tight travel itinerary. Nevertheless, I still managed to snap a few photos to complement those I have taken in 2010.
The lakes have remained as enchanting. The urge to forget about the rest of the world and spend timeless hours in a hammock on one of the floating bamboo and grass huts in the middle of the lake is still a big temptation.
Feeding the tilapia: Aquaculture or farming tilapia in fish cages continue to be one of the main sources of income for the locals
Waterfall #1: Lake water continue to pour down to the plains below
Zipline: Hanging from a cable, in the midst of adrenaline rush, one can get a glimpse of where the waters flow
Seven Falls: Lake water thunders towards the lowlands, cascading over 6 more waterfalls
Superhuman: Like superheroes, zipliners punch through a lush rainforest
Waterfall #2: And then the zipline thrill ends where the wonder of the second waterfall begins
Punta Isla: It’s time to head down to the lakeside resorts to fill the stomach and relax the veins
Colorful: Most resorts are staffed by authentic T’boli young people in their colorful garb. A boat ride around the lake can be arranged for a fee.
A sumptuous feast of native dishes featuring tilapia, the main product from the lakes, is not something to be missed
And then the navy comes along. The same kids I photographed 3 years ago diving approach the lakeside huts.
They ask for coins to be thrown into the water. Water lilies (hyacinths) make it more difficult to retrieve the coins but it’s child’s play for them.
If there are no coins to retrieve, they’re just happy to show off their skills. They do tumbles and back flips from the dugout.
And they do backflips from the bamboo frames of the fish cages
The water hyacinths can be a pleasant sight but they can reproduce too rapidly and cover large portions of the lake thus affecting the local livelihoods
Meanwhile the boys have called it a day and started counting the coins they have gathered from their small show and play
With the tilapia feast over and the acrobatic boys on a dugout having retired for the day; it’s time to head out to the souvenir shops and pick T’boli products to be brought home to friends and loved ones. It’s always the best way to end a visit.
Apo Lang Dulay, I shall return….
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