Heights of Ecstasy in South Cotabato - S3X Tour Tres

I prefer not being on tours where everything is already set and not very flexible. One thing I do though to keep the trip interesting is to just skim through the itinerary and board the plane. As explicit as the title of the Soccsksargen EXperience (S3X Tour Tres) Tour was, it never really crossed my mind that I would be bound for South Cotabato too in this GenSan trip. This was how Day 2 started because I was reminded to put on "outdoor" wear. Surprise, surprise. The adventure continues...

And like many outdoor "balikan" (day-trip) roadtrip adventures, we were all set to go by 5:30 a.m. determined to sleep in the car on the way to our destination. Like a zombie, I followed the team in to the first stopover for the day at around 7 a.m., Blue Haven Resort and Durian Garden (Banga, South Cotabato). It's a resort with a pool, cottages, picnic area and a few animals. What really woke me up was my first taste of Durian Shake for breakfast. It was cold and milky and fresh. Too bad I didn't get to see the Durian Garden.

After that, I went back to sleep and woke up ready for the 7 Falls (Lake Sebu, South Cotabato). My Merrell shoes were no match for the short yet very slippery "trek" down and this was just one of the seven waterfalls in this area. Just look at the view from the bridge.

I couldn't keep up with them because it was unbelievable slippery and I couldn't run. My mind was busy wondering if slippers would do the trick and how to protect my camera if I slip and to clean the mud out. I was not too late for this shot of our new friend Anton (from Bethlehem) though. 

Naturally, I asked where the other six falls were. They told me to hurry and gear up for this first.

Let go and fly like Superman. The other falls will materialize from a distance or directly below you. 

Or behind you. I was a little worried it wouldn't stop as it picked up speed towards the end but they caught me just in time. There's nothing like the rush that you'll crash into the undeveloped wilderness.

You could have your pictures taken for P100 per 2 photos. P250 is good for this "tallest zipline in Southeast Asia" ride and a shorter one back. Guess what's next for P15 a person?

It was my first Habal Habal (motorcycle taxi) ride! It was a spur of the moment thing and there's no way up and back. We found out that our van, apparently, can't get through these narrow roads. The habal-habals are a preferred mode of transportation in GenSan too.

It was an exciting and bouncy ride. I survived and it was pure fun. Unbelievable and totally unexpected hahaha.

I was asking "What's next in the itinerary?" by the end of it.

I actually thought Lake Sebu was in Cebu hahaha. Here's the actual lake.

We stopped over the Lake Sebu Tourism Lodge, also known as the Lemobung Lodge and Restaurant. It offers cheap accommodations (for as low as P60 a night) with a magnificent view of the lake. It is owned by the Municipal Government of Lake Sebu and it must have been one of the oldest structures there.

The place really had a native feel and complemented the sereneness of the lake. Will you be willing to spend a night here? 

Here's a view of Lake Sebu from a window on the ground floor...

There were also old ladies selling their wares out front.

We drove closer to the lake for lunch at the Mountain Log Resort.

There, I ate a whole tilapia for the first time... farmed and freshly grilled from the lake. We also had tinola and pinakbet.

There were lots of huts and bamboo bridges around, even an open (as in open) cottage with a view of the lake where guests can spend the night.

I guess the view of the mountains and the fog at Lake Sebu mystified me. It transforms a normal fishing ground to a very serene place of contemplation.

We rushed to the Punta Isla Lake Resort to meet with Mayor Antonio Fungan Sr. 

I thought he was the mayor of South Cotabato, turns out he's the mayor of Lake Sebu (all 89,138 Hectares of it).

The view here was not bad either. We found a lot of people part eating and part enjoying the scenery.

It was a very unusual trip. We stopped over for ice cream at Ojie's Ice Cream Station. When we got to the master scooper, I perfectly understood why. I got Mango (my favorite of them all) and Strawberry...

then some Fruit Salad, Double Cheese Raisins and Ube. I paid around P18 to P20 per scoop. I allowed myself to each so much... These tasted different from the ones we had back in Manila.

Finally, on our way back to GenSan, we passed by Paraiso Verde Resort and Water Park (Koronadal, South Cotabato). It's like a new Splash Island arose in the South.

I wasn't prepared with the proper attire. I thought we were going to an actual beach.

So I watched the team get wet and burn their skin with the hot sun. And caught up with some sleep while I had all the shady cabana to myself. Haha.

It was the perfect time to relax and think about the adventure that transpired during the day and what I put myself through. This day was not actually over yet because there was another surprise waiting for us back in GenSan... This is dedicated to South Cotabato and Lake Sebu so watch out for the next post.

Heights of Ecstasy in South Cotabato - S3X Tour Tres