LAKE HOLON: Journey to the Gem of South

It was our second time to visit South Cotabato but this time in the province of T’boli. T’Boli is a first class municipality in the province of South Cotabato, Philippines. It is also where many Tboli’s, one of the indigenous people of South Cotabato dwells. This province has something to offer  among locals and tourist especially the beautiful Lake Holon. Going there was never a piece of cake but once you’re there, you’ll never regret.


Before you can visit the lake, you have to go to their Tourism office to register yourself to guide and assist you on your planned trek. Then go to Barangay Salacafe which is the jump start of your long trek.


There are two trails to reach  the lake. One is in Sitio Kule which they also called the Hunter’s trail and the other one is in Sitio Nabol which is the easier trail and good for beginners in Barangay Salacafe. We chose Sitio Kule trail because we want to see the top view of the lake and yes it was not easy for me since I am not used to of mountain climbing.

After 1 hour habal-habal ride, finally we reached Sitio kule. We are greeted by their staffs who are so welcoming that you can see in their faces the happiness that visitors visit their Sitio. Right then they will arrange your guide as well as porters if you need one.


One of the staff told us tale that the lake will show up to those who have a good heart so we are crossing our fingers that the lake will show it’s clear view to us ( I guess we are kindhearted naman hehe) Before we started our trek, they offered us prayer (in T’boli) for a safe climb. We left around 10am.



As we started our trek, we are greeted by some locals and Tboli kids “HYU HLAFUS” which means Good morning.


Going deeper into the forest I can feel the cool temperature as I am also catching my breath that I ended up giving my bag to Jab, our guide ( because I was too confident not to hire porter) who offered his help. You can hear the loud sound of cicadas and wild birds, beez buzzing in your ears and any other sound which is not usual for you to hear. My hearing senses was sharp that time that any small hissing sound makes me stop from walking (too paranoid to step onto snake hehe )


You have to set your mind, your goal. To see the view of majestic Lake Holon. It was tiring and exhausting but full of determination. I can hear my heart beating faster than the usual.


It wasn’t an easy trail indeed. Feeling hungry and tired already. The sun is so up. The scorching heat of the sun makes it more difficult but there’s no turning back. Hours had passed I can sense we’re almost there as the cool wind touches my skin. Jab was pointing the view deck already. I want to run but I can’t. My legs are tired and shaking but it didn’t stopped me. I continued walking panting and catching breath and then….

The Majestic Lake Holon!

After 3 long hours of trekking, finally! Finally we’re here! Lake Holon you are so beautiful. It was all worth it. You are so captivating! We reached the view deck almost 2pm in the afternoon and glad that we had a full clear view of the lake. Hunger was eased for awhile as we are enjoying the beauty of the majestic lake. I’m also proud of myself that I survived and made it there on top.

Stayed in the  view deck for more than 20 minutes to capture the view. Then, we decided to descend to the campsite which will take another hour. We started walking again and seen plants you can only see in the mountains (like the pitcher plant). Feeling hungry already, we had our lunch in the middle of the narrow trail to fill in our stomachs to continue our journey. I thought going down was easier but then I slipped many times so make sure to buy the sticks they sell in the receiving area for only 20.00 pesos it’s really useful (Y) 🙂


As we arrived in the last station, Jab has to paddle us by boat to the campsite. I can see the lake closely. The water is calm and inviting. Traveled for a day, trekked for 4 hours in back-breaking trail to finally reach Lake Holon I realized, this is I guess the best so far of all my experiences.


We arrived in the campsite safely,  feeling relieved and happy. There are no other campers but us. Isn’t it amazing? The place is ours. Oh Lord! Thank you for letting us experience this wonderful creation of yours. I muttered the word “wow” many times for the indescribable feeling. This is the best place to relax plus a prepossessing  panoramic view away from the busy city life. Later that afternoon one other group arrived in the campsite.




As the sun is setting, we prepared our dinner with the help of Jab which is fresh tilapia sold by local fisherman from the lake. Yum! 🙂


Darkness started to fill in the whole place and the loud sound of cicadas and other animals was so clear. The skies was filled with bright stars and looked so near (unfortunately I’m not good with constellations hehe ) and the temperature is getting low. It was cold and chilly.

campfire ❤

Though tired, we’re so grateful to see this wonder only few could experience. Since we don’t have anything to do and the place is so quiet, we slept early and it was one of the best sleeps I had.

Awakened the next day by the sound of birds humming around the place with the alluring view of crescent moon from afar. Few minutes later, Mr. Sun started to show up.










Leaving Lake Holon was never easy. It was our home for a night giving us good memories and relaxation time. As I gave my last glance, I try to memorize the scenic view. My heart is filled with gladness that I reached this beautiful place. Though it was tough but it was very fulfilling experience. Lake Holon, I hope your beauty will remain. This place is sacred and well taken care by Tboli’s who are so warm and welcoming. I bet many people never knew that one of the wonders of Mindanao exist here. With our experience, somehow I want to change the peoples outlook on how they perceive the South.



Adventures are the best way to learn.

How to get there?

From Davao City

Go to Ecoland Terminal ride a bus Davao to Gensan – travel time 3 hrs (240.00)

Gensan to Marbel bus ride – 1 hour (75.00)

Marbel to Tboli van transfer – 1 hour (60.00)

From Gensan

Go to Gensan Bus Terminal

Gensan to Marbel bus ride – 1 hour (75.00)

Marbel to Tboli van transfer – 1 hour (60.00)

From T’boli

Coordinate to their tourism office (walking distance from van terminal) to organize your planned trek. From there, ride a habal-habal for 1 hour to Salacafe for P450.00 for two or which trail you prefer. You also need to pay P25.00 each as an entrance fee to the lake. It is advised to  hire a guide which is 600.00 pesos +meal. Habal-habal ride is P350.00 for two from Salacafe going back to Tboli proper (based on our experience).

For more inquiries:

Contact Numbers: A public Information
Municipal Tourism Office Tboli


Watch our video compilation here 🙂



20 thoughts on “LAKE HOLON: Journey to the Gem of South

    1. Been there recently (y) it was I guess the best of my experiences so far. Learning about the culture esp about Tboli. They closed it for regeneration for three months until March. LAst March 5th it was re opened again.Unfortunately due to El Nino that causes forest fire, they have to temporarily close it again this April. But it’ll be open very soon I guess but yes! You should go there it’s realy amazing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Magbabakasyon ako sa Gensan (my hometown) this September. Can you advise kung okay siyang puntahan kahit mag isa? KAya ba siya ng isang araw or you need to stay 1 night? Appreciate also if you can give me information the trail you tried.

    Thanks and best regards,



    1. Hello there Tyrowe! Well, they will always advice you to have a local guide with you. You can coordinate to their city tourism officer nasa last part po ng blog ang numbers nla or look for Sir Alex. It took us a day to reach the lake so it’s best to stay there for a night to enjoy the beautiful place. We tried Kule trail because you can see the full view of the Lake.

      P.S: It is best to go there during weekdays kasi wala masyadong tao

      Dorz 🙂


    1. Hello Bev thanks for dropping by!Going up there to see the full view of the lake is Kule trail, going down the next day is sa Nabol( Salacafe) which is wider and easier trail. Hope you’ll enjoy your Lake Holon trip! 🙂


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I had my doubtsa bout climbing since dalawa lang kami ng bf ko, but your post assured me that it’s safe even if a party of 2 lang. 🙂 may i ask a few questions though? Did you bring sleeping materials with you, like sleeping bags? Di ba mas mabigat if you bring those plus cooking gear pa? Also magkano po ung habal2 ride to Sitio Kule plus the payment for the guide? Also san natutulog ug guide? Hehe! Sorry if this seems too much. Again thank you for this post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hello there Rei thanks for dropping! yes we brought our sleeping mats and sleeping bags. Jas carried the rolled camping mats and I carried the sleeping bags and yes heavy with the cooking gears but you can hire porter if you want. Habal2 ride to Kule trail is 450 pesos for 2, 600 pesos for the guide fee for 2 days. Guides have their own small huts where they can sleep but you need to include their food sa budget ninyo 🙂


  3. South cotabato’s pride. 🙂 Loved your pictures and your blog as well. Lake holon os truly a paradise on earth! Would love to trek and visit this amazing place soon!

    Anyone want to visit other places and wanted to rent a motorbike instead, you can at


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