October 2014 – I’m not a fan of hiking and climbing mountains—I’m clumsy, asthmatic, and panicky. But when I and my friends had the chance to visit Lake Holon, I knew I had to go with them. A quick Google search was all that convinced me to agree to a short hike in our ten-day vacation in Mindanao last year.

On the day of our trek, we went to the Tourism Office in Brgy. Poblacion, which was a few blocks away from the place where we stayed the night. Our guides called the habal-habal drivers in advance, so they were already there waiting for us.

Brgy. Poblacion, T'boli, South Cotabato

For more than an hour, we rumbled across the hilly landscape of T’boli, dashing past acres after acres of banana plantations. After a very uncomfortable but thrilling ride, we arrived at the Tourism Office’s receiving area at Sitio Salacafe, where we rested for a bit before we began our trek. After a relatively easy 30-minute climb, we arrived at Sitio Nabol, where we were offered roasted rice tea by one of the women. We then resumed our trek without further stops for two hours.

Short rest after the slippery climb

In some of the denser parts of the jungle, we heard weird calls from the distance, which we mistook for the rumbling of a chainsaw machine. (Illegal loggers abound in the mountains of T’boli, despite the fact that it’s a protected area.) Kuya Leo, one of our guides, told us it’s a kind of bird. It’s not hard to believe that there are many unfamiliar animals in the mountains since we saw many beautiful flowers and birds along the way, too. (Unfortunately, we didn’t see any wild monkeys, which were supposedly common in these parts of T’boli.) Indeed, Mindanao has a very rich biodiversity that would make any Filipino proud.

Photo by Grace Anne

We spent about three hours before we reached the camp site. Lake Holon beggared description — all I could think of was how peaceful the place was. Holon, which means “deep water” in T’boli, is a stunning sight that would calm the raging storms in anyone.

Here are a few photos from our trip.

Lake Holon, T'boli, South Cotabato Campsite, finally! (Photo by Lovely)

Camp Site at Lake Holon, T'boli, South Cotabato

Lake Holon, T'boli, South Cotabato

Lake Holon, T'boli, South Cotabato

What I wouldn’t give to see this view every day (Photo by Grace Anne)

It was such a charming place, and I’m thankful I had the chance to visit it.

Have you been to Lake Holon? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments section!


is a digital marketer in a firm in Makati who loves locally sourced coffee, a bowl of zesty pho, and rusty old trains. She likes to write about the places she’s been to and the places she wants to see.