Lake Holon is nestled at the crater of Mt. Melibengoy(Mt. Parker) in the heart of T’boli, South Cotabato also known as “Queen Jewel of the South”. A lot of tourist and backpackers take their long trips all the way from Luzon, Visayas and different parts of Mindanao just to see this breathtaking view from all angles. The lake was re-opened April of this year, the City of Tourism closed the lake during January-Match to rehabilitate and preserve the place.
Why visit Lake Holon:
1. It offers a taste of serenity and isolation.
2. The water of Lake Holon is cool and clean for swimming.
3. You can do kayaking and roam around the lake (rent-100 pesos only).
4. Vast area of camping site for those who would like to spend the night to do star gazing and get to watch the proverbial sunrise.
5. T’bolis are one of the kindest and friendly people. The respect and love for this gem is their utmost priority.
This is a good place to visit especially for the first timer, it doesn’t need much of expertise in basic mountaineering, just a month of preparation will do. There are two trails you can choose. Salacafe trail, the easiest one, and the Kule trail also known as the Hunter’s trail, it is a bit of gasping trek but it will surely give you the best sight of the lake once reached the viewing deck. We chose Kule for our entry trail and descend at Salacafe trail. It took us three to four hours to reach the lake.
South Cotabato, T’boli is 6 hours travel from Davao, we highly suggest that if you are planning to visit Lake Holon, you have to depart from Davao at 12 midnight and if you are in groups or even solo better to book a slot ahead of time since the T’boli tourism office would only allow maximum of 100-150 campers on a daily basis.
We used to have DIY to visit different places, this time we opted to have an organizer/tour guide to lead us on our way to Lake Holon to lessen the hassle and since few of our friends wants to join(9 to be exact) with us. I highly recommend Kuya Russel to be your organizer, with him everything is smooth and hassle free, from slot reservation to preparation of food was all on him, by the way he also offers climb event. You may contact him at this number 09150035457 and visit his FB link fore details https://www.facebook.com/nomadphilippines22/
Here is the quick guide on how to get to Lake Holon:
- Depart from Davao at 12 midnight
- Arrive at T’boli at 6am for breakfast
- After breakfast, proceed to T’boli tourism office for registration and permit(Contact the Municipal tourism office of T’boli at +63912 473 1515, +63912 720 4151).
- Proceed to Brgy. Salacafe(jump off area) and ride a motorcycle going Sitio Kule, about 20 min ride. (Motorcycle fee-20 php)
- Orientation and registration at Sitio Kule
- Start trek (10am)
- Lunch at viewing Deck(12noon)
- Resume trek (12:30 pm)
- Ride a tribal boat going camp site(boat fee-50php/head)
- Reach Lake Holon camp site(2:3pm)
- Had our dinner at 7:00 pm followed by socials(really an enjoyable night)
- Wake up time at 6am for breakfast, kayaking and swiming
- Resume trek going Sitio Salacafe (9am)
- Arrival at Sitio Salacafe at 1pm
- Going home (2pm)
Some photos captured during our trip.
About 30 minutes of orientation at Sitio Kule prior the start of our trek. Run some errands, booked 2 porters and 2 guides to accompany us. Afterwards, getting ready for 3-4 hours trek going View deck. In a moment, we will be able to see the hidden glory of creation.
Upon reaching the campsite, you will be amazed on how wonderful the lake is, so majestic and very relaxing, great place for those who wants soul-searching and stress-freeing, even for couples for romantic date.
The great thing about this trip is, we are so lucky to have exclusively occupied the whole place of the camp site, we are the only campers who got to enjoyed the beauty of the place, it was Tuesday, we can do whatever we want, but of course we still abide on the rules and policy as a responsible hikers. Weekend has the most numbers of campers of Lake Holon, better do it on a weekdays.
Note: The campsite has its own comfort room and water source, about 10 meters walk. If you requested to have a dinner or breakfast of fresh Tilapia, you can also asked the care taker of the lake to get some(150 pesos per kilo) very delicious.
The interesting part in our Lake Holon trip is the “Bonfire”. We really had a great night and the best thing is, it surely gives us the kind of warmth we needed to stay up late and just feel the breeze of the cold place.