As soon as I got the invitation from a good friend slash travel blogger Olan about the outreach climb, I instantly nodded without a doubt. Perhaps, It's a fresh start for me to rather focus on productive things than ponder about the distress life has rewarded me the past few weeks.
I am not an adept climber thus the limited experience I have is something I need to deal with along the way. I even asked myself about the bittersweet reality.. Am I ready? Well, at least, spiritually I guess. The only reason that motivates me to tag along this journey is the great cause of lending a hand to the local community of Sitio Kule in Tboli, South Cotabato.
photo by: thetravelteller.com
We arrived at Koronadal City around 7am. A bit tired from the long hours of bus ride from Davao City, there we met the rest of the equally adventurous souls who will participate for the "TakladTaMig Diyes Outreach Climb" organized by the Friends of Holon and Melibingoy (FHM) with the participation of the Mindanao Tourism Council (MinTC). It aims to provide basic necessities such as medicines, foods, school supplies and slippers to the kids and households alike.
Our first challenge was to endure the butt-numbing, dusty dump truck ride to the remote community of Sitio Kule. Good thing mother nature was on our favor that she granted us a gloomy weather as we ascend. Bad news? I was sitting at the back portion of the truck that whenever it hits a hole or an uneven road the hard bounce was enough to crack the pair of balls I have which I took cared off for 20+ years. I had the feeling that after we alight from that one hell of a ride, my crumbled eggs is ready to fry. hehehe!
I've seen a complete different perspective as we enter the humble kingdom of the Tbolis. The scarcity of the basic needs was obviously deprived to them, yet, their genuine hearts tickled my innocence with joy as they welcomed us with open arms; even serving us the best they can offer to which for me is a very heartwarming gesture. The warmth of their smiles was more than enough to forget the exhausting hike we had earlier. I am now convinced that the most genuine and pure hearted spirits lies at the almost forgotten sitios of the hinterlands and the Tbolis are just one of the living proof to my claim.
they are happy for the school supplies they received
The rhythmic beats performed by the authentic tboli tribe member
Adorable little Tboli dancing their authentic tribal welcome ritual
We spent a couple of hours at the community before heading our way to the mystic Lake Holon. We were welcomed with a mesmerizing chant by one of the few remaining chanters of the Tbolis - Ma Sinam Muan. We turned over our presents to the residents then planted trees to partake the theme "Grow a tree, lend a hand, be amazed". In return, they offered us foods that does not only enticed our sense of smell but also let us taste and embrace their rich indigenous culture which captivated not only our taste buds but our hearts as well. That offering made all of my senses filled with joy, and with that, I am now more than ready to conquer their precious gem beneath the mountains of Mt. Parker. Let's go!
We started our ascent at around 1:30pm. the next 20 minutes was consumed traversing the open fields of the sitio. It was just an easy; hassle-free hike and the whole group was still intact.
We entered the verdant forest after the easy traverse, the team splits into a smaller groups as some took a couple of breaks to prepare for the next sequel. The hike was fair although the path is getting narrower and as we dig deeper into the greens, the trek is starting to get more challenging and exhausting. There are portions of lose soils that we have to be extra careful for us not to slid.
At some point, I cursed myself for giving in to the invitation. I am running out of strength yet, my struggle seems getting worse at each tiring step. The short breaks we had along the way was a relief enough to refresh my preoccupied mind and regain enough strength to continue our ascent. The only motivation left pushing me to hold on and move forward was the picture of Lake Holon’s beauty I viewed on the internet which keeps on flashing back in my mind every time I feel pain and cramps. Because to tell you the truth, this is just my second hiking experience.
I got bruises and scratches, slid a couple of times, shouted fvck countless times. I was tired and drained, almost giving up then, but, as I reached the view deck - where the mystic Lake Holon is proudly exposing her beauty - I got stoked, struck by its astounding charm, and the only word that uttered my mouth was “WOW”! All my struggle was worth it.
I only took a few minutes to enjoy the view as I still have to waste another hour to get to the camp site. The view was enough to regain all my strength. In fact I got more excited to continue the final stretch to Lake Holon.
It was 5:30pm then when we reached the campsite. The lake was unfortunately covered by fog and it is getting darker at each minute that passes by. It seems my tired body does not have enough strength to roam around so I just decided to rest. We were among the few who got to the camp site early so we had enough time to take some rest. I pitched my tent, secured my belongings and then took some nap. A nap which lasted 10 hours so I missed my dinner, the social gathering and the rewarding of the certificates.
I had enough rest so I was able to wake up early to catch the sunrise. I was greeted by the awesome view of the 300 hectares of mystical beauty. I wandered around, took photos and randomly pause for a moment. I appreciated every detail my eyes witnessed and I realized that indeed, mother nature has crafted Lake Holon to perfection for the people with genuine hearts such as the Tbolis. This is their gem. Their most precious treasure. I am thankful to be here.
As we leave, the memories I had at Lake Holon and the Tbolis still haunts me. I know I'll be coming back! To when will it be? I don't know yet but I know I will.. And this is my journey to Lake Holon..
this post was originally published at my travel blog www.lakawero.com which was taken down last 2016. The domain I used is already expired so take precautions in trying to visit it as it will redirect you to an advertisement page.
All images used in this post are mine unless otherwise stated.
There is an established trail via Sitio Nabol in case you want to trek the mystic Lake Holon. It is an easy 3-4 hours trek recommended for beginners and newbies. The trail we traverse was the hunters' trail which is actually open for the locals only.
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