This province is a home of ethnic group T’boli, it is also the official language of the province. But they can speak and understand English, Tagalog, Hiligaynon and Cebuano. People in South Cotabato speak different dialects. For instance, municipalities in Banga, Norallah and Surallah speak Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, as they came from Panay while the Cebuanos from Cebu settled in Polomolok. Some Ilokanos lived in Tantangan, Tampakan and in Tupi.
Going here is very easy. The fastest way to reach South Cotabato is to take a plane to General Santos City. Davao is also a good option since it is open for local and international planes. But you need to take 3 hours bus travel going to Gensan. After 30 minutes ride you’ll reach Polomolok where you can see one of the largest pineapple plantations. Along the way, you can also see Mt. Matutum After an hour, you’ll see the provincial capitol of Koronadal City. After 3 hours, you can either reach Lake Sebu or T’boli. But I’d suggest you better visit both.
Best in South Cotabato
1.Lake Sebu (Lake Sebu)
One of the most visited places in South Cotabato is Lake Sebu. It consisted of islets and large bodies of water of approximately 365 hectares. Lake Sebu is surrounded with rolling hills and mountains. The home of the T’bolis is also where fishponds abound and migratory birds visit. If you wish for a more challenging experience in this spot, go hiking en route to the Traangkini River or perhaps submerge yourself at Falls No.2 of the 7 Lonon River Falls.
Lake Sebu is the best place not just for adventure, but also to know more about indigenous groups. If you stay overnight in Lake Sebu, then it is best to stay in Punta Isla. However, because this is a popular home for local and international guests, you can also choose Estares Lake Resort, Merl Garden Mountain Lake Eco-Resort, and Dolores Lake Resort.
2. Seven Falls in Lake Sebu (Lake Sebu)
4. Mt. Parker Ranges and Lake Maughan in T’boli
Going back to T’boli. It is a town inhabited by different natives like Tagabilis, Blaan, Ubo, Maguindanao, Manubo Blit, Tiruray and Manubo Sdaf who later organized their own Tribal Datus.
Mt. Parker Ranges and Lake Maughan. The older version of the now popular eco-tourism destination in Luzon, Mt. Pinatubo. Its peak known as Asamblak peak stands tall at 1,750 m ASL and holds a mossy campsite. Overlooking is the Maughan Lake at 300 m below. It is the crater lake of Mt. Parker and is estimated to be 300 hectares wide.
5.T’boli Cultural Community ( West of Lake Sebu)
|School for Living Traditions – reconstruction was finished and now accepts homestay|
There are a number of minorities are found dwelling in the mountains. Among these minorities is the Tasaday tribe where they dwell in isolation in high caves of about 4,800 feet above sea level in a rainforest area. The T’bolis found on the western part are famed for their colorful costumes, intricate bead-work and signature woven baskets and traditional brass ornaments.
There is also a School for Living Traditions (SLT), where I met Ms. Maria Oyog Todi a devoted cultural worker and wants to preserve the T’boli’s tradition, values and culture. I salute her dedication for doing such a hard task. You need to visit this SLT and witness how younger generations learn and live their cultures. They cater homestay now after the reconstruction of the school, since it was destroyed by a heavy a few months back.
The T’nalak Festival is celebrated annually which commemorates the Foundation Anniversary of South Cotabato.