Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mt Melibingoy (Mt Parker) and Lake Holon (Lake Maughan), T'boli, South Cotabato: All Hail This Hike!

There were a couple of thoughts battling in my head: Do I wrap my arms around the habal-habal (motorcycle) driver or do I cling on Edgar the Eazy Traveler's long legs for dear life? I was sandwiched between the two men. We, along with the whole group's lunch packed in a box and tied under our seat, were wobbling our way to Brgy. Salacafe. The road was unforgiving.

Then I concluded, if the habal-habal were to flip over, we'll all go down with it. Fo sho.

  Pet name Pocahontas since 1995.
So I let my hands freely feel the rush of the wind. I swayed with every turn. Shifted my arse with every bump. Cheered with Edgar whenever our habal-habal was on the lead even though there wasn't any actual race. An hour burned easily.

Before we knew it, we were at the jump-off point.
Edgar insisted we get on this habal-habal. For what reason? I dunno. [Photo by Louie of Nomad Perspectives]
The rest of our motley crew trickled by twos aboard respective habal-habals, a few minutes in between. James of Journeying James flashed his newly acquired scratches with a wide smile when he arrived, as if he just purchased some rare novelty souvenir. Speaking of flipping motorcycles, theirs did, apparently. Shortly after we all left the municipal tourism office of T'boli.

Lunch, after being unfastened from our habal-habal, was served straight away. And we began our trek when everybody licked their styros clean.

"You look like you're not wearing shorts." Yoshke of The Poor Traveler commented as he snapped this photo. I smiled in between huffs.
Our guide and overseer for the trek (make that, for the entire trip), Louie of Nomad Perspectives, led the way. Not only is he a fellow travel blogger, he also works for Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance (funded by LGSP-LED) who invited us for the familiarization tour. He has trudged the trail a ridiculous amount of times, which made him the perfect person for the task.

Climbing Mt. Melibingoy, also known as Mt. Parker. [Photo by Edgar of Eazy Traveler]

Mt. Melibingoy also called Mt. Parker (after an American General named Frank Parker who claimed to have discovered it), towering at about 1,750 MASL tall, is a dormant volcano. The objective of our group was not to summit its peak, but to camp at the bank of its gorgeous crater lake, Lake Holon also called Lake Maughan (after another American who was with Parker when he crashed during a survey operation).

Life on the edge. A viewpoint partially concealed from the trail, about halfway the course. Louie was gripping my flourescent-hued top while I sit and relax and take this in.

The lushest I've trekked.

The supposed two-hour trek on our itinerary was stretched to four. No, not because we ventured into further territory. But because some of us, myself included, got too preoccupied with our huffing and puffing (I must have asked "Are we there yet?" a dozen times). And well... Also because of our countless stops for pitcher plants, stick insects, wild berries, endemic flowers, tall trees and vines waiting to strangle unsuspecting trekkers.

How easily were we amused. We giggled all the way from Brgy. Salacafe through sleepy Sitio Nabol up until Kutong Busaw (1,500 MASL) the view point for Lake Holon where we laid our weary bones under the roof of an open cottage that had seen better days.

We must have spent fifteen long minutes gawking at this. So I say it again, how easily were we amused.
What now?! Dennis of Love Mindanao, plans his next step.

Beyond that point, it was all business for everyone. A peek at the obstructed view was a tease that drove us nuts. And so we all pushed on to the final stretch, another half-hour descent down to one of the country's cleanest bodies of water, without much procrastination. Throughout the trek, menacing gray clouds hovered above — but they remained empty threats. They merely shielded us from the sun.

The weather was more than ideal. And I called it, 'tent weather'.

One of the country's cleanest inland bodies of water.

Waking up to paradise.

The camp site was newly cleared and the scent of freshly slashed wild grass was still lingering in the air. We quickly dumped our backpacks in tents pitched for us by the support team. While the others climbed aboard wooden canoes, I sat on a rock. I watched them drift away. My mind too, drifted to far-flung places

Lake Holon reflected the sky that magically cleared.

I suddenly thought of the trek back the day after and how much more difficult it would be for me. Cause this... This is a sight that's hard to walk away from.

Because we felt like we're on a T'boli tourism brochure.

How to get to Mt. Melibingoy/Mt. Parker:

The municipality of T'boli, South Cotabato is about an hour and a half drive from General Santos City. Or forty-five minutes by public transport from Koronadal City/Marbel.

Mt Melibingoy/Mt. Parker hike can be arranged through the tourism office located near T'boli's municipal hall (just off the Surallah-T'boli Road).

Trip begins with a forty-five to one hour habal-habal (motorcycle) ride from the municipality center to the jump-off at Brgy. Salacafe. Part of the ride is on unpaved, bumpy road and weaves through banana farms.

Trek to Lake Holon/Lake Maughan via Salacafe trail takes about three to four hours. Remember to arrange for pick up the next day, it could be difficult to get a ride back.


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ayan villafuerte said...
August 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM

i want to go there even if there are so many instant lakes here now in Manila-may bago nga kwarto ko.

markyramonego said...
August 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

An edited lyrics:

"I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the green covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the lake..." in short same hashtag as before *inggit* #AllahValleyTourHindiKasama ako :(

killerfiller said...
August 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Who needs to swim at a beach kung ganito kaganda/kalinis ang lake?:D Panalo ung last photo!haha said...
August 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Aww, nakakalungkot ang instant lakes :( but yeah, hope you get to see Lake Holon someday. said...
August 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

One of my all time faves! said...
August 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Haha! Under the direction of EAZY pa yan!

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
August 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Worth it ang dusa dahil bongga ang dinatnan :D

Cute mo sa second photo :)) pwede na rin kayong model talaga ni Edgar :D said...
August 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Haha! Nagpahaging kami sa tourism office na sana kami na ang nasa next brochure. LOL.

Excursionista said...
August 25, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Pag talagang mahirap puntahan, guaranteed, the best ang view! ^_^

Shugah Pauline G. said...
August 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

ganda ganda tlga!!!! <3 bisitahin ko to on my next visit :) South Cotabato is starting to be my favorite. Been here thrice this year. lol said...
August 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Hope I could visit again soon also! said...
August 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM


lamyerda said...
August 27, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Wow ang ganda!!!! cute ng nmn ng pic na nsa bangka...

Pang magazine lg ung pic nyu ni Ed! ;)

winner ang view! Kng yan ba naman ka ganda ang view eh ang sarap lg gumising... said...
August 28, 2013 at 7:50 AM

Ah yesss! It's so beautiful to wake up to this!

Mary {The World Is A Book} said...
August 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

I'm not much of a "roughing it" gal but I would risk a motorcycle ride, a hike and camping to see this area. It's absolutely beautiful! Love those reflection shots!

Paolo Duran said...
September 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM

hello! also your trip on the :) so does the tourism office accept regular hikers on any day? gusto ko rin maexplore 'to :)

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