If you want a breather from the hustle and bustle of the metro, Mindanao may just give you the break you truly deserve.

In the province of South Cotabato lies what can be considered as one of Mindanao’s prized gems: Lake Holon, which mirrors the rich biodiversity of Mindanao. Now that it is open to the public one year after the local government closed it for rehabilitation, a handful of tourists now visit Lake Holon, a place considered to be sacred among the members of the Tboli.

With the clear water of the lake and the area’s cold temperature, this is a prime destination for tourists with an appetite for adventure.

The journey to the lake may be strenuous, but the feeling of seeing a view as grand as Lake Holon is a reward in itself. To reach the lake, one has to walk for 3 to 4 hours under the canopy of towering trees. Tourists are also advised to prepare for intermittent rain along the trail.

Two points of entry can either be chosen by tourists, depending on the level of difficulty.

First is through Sitio Kulé, tagged by the local government as the Hunter’s trail. From the starting point, one goes on a 3-hour hike to the viewing deck, passing through cornfields and a forest with plenty of wild orchids and abaca.

A hot spring also awaits to soothe your exhaustion before going on a difficult ascent to the viewing deck that will offer a panoramic view of the 2.9 kilometer caldera lake of Mt. Parker, a volcano that last erupted in 1641.

The second trail – starting in Sitio Nabol in Barangay Salacafe – is the regular trail for tourists of all ages. Yes, this trail is an easier one, though one has to really prepare to catch his or her breath before finally taking a glimpse of the beauty of the lake. As they say, never underestimate the mountain.

The view deck at Kule Trail

Whatever trail you choose, prepare yourself for the surprises that await. But really, nothing prepares you for the wonders of this mystifying lake – making it a perfect venue to finish a book, do some soul-searching, bond with family and friends, or to just find peace with yourself.

The campsite by the lakeshore can accommodate 150 people at most. There are potable water sources by the lake while fresh tilapia from the lake can be a good option for breakfast while there. The fun part is that Tboli tribesmen fishing in the lake often sell a bunch of 6 tilapias for P50.

You may want to purchase some breakfast from the fishermen nearby.

Be sure to be outside your tents at the break of dawn to catch the rays of the sun slowly hovering over the lake. The magic hour there is indeed magical. Once the sun is already in its full glory, the green trees are mirrored in the clear water of the lake.

This green hue mixes with the lake’s dark blue color, signifying its depth, that, until today is not yet measured.

Tourists who like to swim are advised to do so with caution. But since swimming in the lake is somewhat eerie, one may just enjoy a “foot spa” by the lakeshore, courtesy of tiny fishes in the lake.

RELAX. Could you stay here for hours?

Leaving Holon is like leaving a person very close to your heart, as tourists will surely develop that strange connection with the lake. It’s like finding a second home where relaxation is king.

So if you want a breather from your wired, busy life, consider Lake Holon. Many surprises await you.

Holon, Simply Amazing!


There are direct flights from Manila and Cebu to General Santos City on a daily basis. If you are coming from Davao, Bukidnon or Cagayan de Oro, hop on a bus bound to General Santos City. From there, take another bus to the City of Koronadal, about an hour travel from GenSan.

Upon arrival, take another ride through a van to the town of Tboli which is about a 45-minute ride from Koronadal. One has to register at their Municipal Tourism Office which arranges for guides, porters and transportation.

From downtown Tboli, a one-hour habal-habal motorcycle ride will take you to either Sitio Kulé or Sitio Nabol, both in Barangay Salacafe.

The Wonders of Cape San Agustin

Here’s a warning: The road leading to the southeasternmost point of the Philippines is no joke. Before getting there, you have to pass through rough and pot-holed roads.

Read More

0 Comments4 Minutes


Mystery and Charm combine in Dinagat

DINAGAT, by all metrics, is an island shrouded in mystery. But as what I discovered, charm is also King in this island province.

Read More

0 Comments6 Minutes

Wowed by Awao Falls

Awao Falls is a great addition to Comval's long list of tourism destinations. Now that we are experiencing the sweltering heat of summer, you might as well explore Awao soon.

Read More

0 Comments5 Minutes