Those who make the journey here find adventure, wonder, a new beginning, or a little bit of everything.
The municipality of T’Boli in South Cotabato is home to Mt. Melibengoy (or Mt. Parker) and its crater lake Lake Holon—two of the biggest drivers of tourism in the area. Both are treated by the Tboli tribe as sacred, and upon reaching the summit of 1,430 MASL where Lake Holon can be viewed in all its glory, the immeasurable midnight blue water instills a sense of reverence from locals and tourists alike.
The hike through Mt. Melibengoy is, in itself, a sensorial experience. On your way up, nature will treat you to sky-reaching trees, a variety of flowers painted in oranges and pinks, and plants bearing coffee cherries.
After climbing for a good two hours, the breathtaking Lake Holon always welcomes you at the top, giving life to the phrase: good things come to those who wait.
Some tourists opt to make their way back down after reaching the summit, while some continue to head to the lake’s campsite where you can have a dinner of freshly-caught tilapia and spend a peaceful night under the stars.
There are visitors who have gone here to see a side of the Philippines they have never before, to move on from a breakup, and even to propose marriage. Whatever your intention, a visit to this place allows you to discover at least one of these things we spend our lives searching for: beauty, identity, love.
How to get to Mt. Melibengoy & Lake Holon:
- Drive 1 hour, 30 minutes to the municipality of T’Boli from General Santos City
- Register at the T’Boli tourism office (entrance fee: P100/person, environment fee: P50/person)
- Take a habal-habal for 1 hour, 30 minutes with a tourist driver from T’Boli to either the Salacafe or Kule trailheads (P700 roundtrip)
- Hike two hours with a local tour guide to the Mt. Melibengoy summit to see Lake Holon (P450 to P600/guide for a group up to 10 people)
- If staying overnight, hike 1.5 hours down to the Lake Holon campsite (Other fees: tent, P100; boat ride: P50; porter: P20/kilo/way)