Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunrise Garden Lake Resort - Lake Seloton, South Cotabato

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato

I went out of our room for what supposedly just a temp check when I incidentally gazed on the horizon. It was a playful display of colors as the heavens started to transform. I went back to the room, woke my buddy up and grabbed my camera. We hurriedly went near the lake and watched as one of the spectacular shows on earth came before us. Lake Seloton was calm and serene as the sun started to emerge, and we were such ardent admirers.

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
Lake Seloton
Lake Sebu in the province of South Cotabato is roughly 2 hours from General Santos City, that is if you have your own car. As the best researchers in the world, me and my buddy took a non-aircon bus (P75 each) at Bulaong Bus Terminal (GenSan) going to Marbel (Koronadal City). From there we rode an aircon van going to Lake Sebu (P80 each) not knowing that at Bulaong Bus Terminal, there were vans going straight to Lake Sebu at P150 each. Tsk tsk tsk.

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato

We arrived at Lake Sebu where a number of habal-habal drivers courteously approached us. They weren’t as pushy like the trike drivers in other parts of the country. We hopped on and squeezed ourselves on the motorcycle.

And I was not informed how rocky and scary the ride will be going to Lake Seloton. Or maybe I just wasn’t used to it. I merely closed my eyes because I was terrified. But our driver assured us of his driving skills, he’s been doing this since his teen years, even so, I still shut my eyes.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato

We arrived at Sunrise Garden Resort in one piece. Kuya Eric was really good that we got him as our official habal-habal driver on the course of our three-day jaunt (Kuya Eric Aguilar | 0935.970.1986).

Sunrise Garden Resort is located at Lake Seloton in the town of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Only then when I realized that there are three lakes on this area; the biggest of which is Lake Sebu (also the name of the town), Lake Seloton (the middle child) and Lake Lahit (the smallest one).

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato
Sunrise Garden Lake Resort
Surrounded by rolling hills the 48-hectare, Lake Seloton is the deepest of the three lakes at more than 200 feet. It is famous for being the Sunrise Lake and the only resort in the area is aptly named as such.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato
View from the resort's balcony
This place is so relaxing, I uttered as we went up to our room. The resort offers six different room types from Dormitory to Family Rooms (check room types and rates). Our Superior Room had the perfect view of the lake and an easy access to the resort’s balcony. I sat there and watched the tranquil lake from that viewpoint.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato
Superior Room
Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato

Our room was huge with two beds, TV, AC and private toilet and bath with hot and cold shower. It was spacious and could fit in a group of four.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato

We headed to one of the native hut cabanas overlooking the lake and checked out the menu for lunch. We were stunned on the food options as there was a dedicated section for Tilapia dishes freshly caught from the lake.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato
Our dining/chillout place
We feasted on Chicharon na Tilapia (P250) and Tinolang Native Chicken (P250). We also had a refreshing Zesty Sunrise (P40) drink that was so fresh I could taste the lime and the cucumber.

Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Seloton South Cotabato
Freshly caught Tilapia all day, every day
The Tilapia was really fresh. To actually appreciate its crunchiness, you should eat it while it’s hot. The fried fish fillet was good but what I loved most was the crunchy bone part (the one that’s left after filleting), it was so crispy that we were surprised when we saw the aftermath of our lunch, the fish was tormented.

Pinaputok Na Tilapia Lake Sebu
Chicharon na Tilapia (P250)
The soup from the Tinola was tasty. I’m not a fan of native chicken because it tends to be tough and rubbery. But I enjoyed sipping the hot soup and the young papaya fruit.

Tinola Native Chicken Lake Sebu
Tinolang Native Chicken (P250)
We had a hefty lunch that we felt like slumbering any moment. The peaceful environment wasn’t helping to; it almost lulled us to sleep. We had to fight that feeling so we ordered some booze. It was a fun beer sesh as we had the best view of the lake.
Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
Local kids having an afternoon dip at the lake
The sun was about to set and its radiant glow completely added some drama on the lake. Fishermen on their way home smoothly glided on the placid water. And the smoke from the burning pits around the lake enhanced its almost dreamy state. We had consumed more beer than we expected we could until dinnertime came.

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
Almost sundown...
For dinner we had Sizzling Sisig Tilapia (P220) and Linagpang na Native Chicken (P230). I tried the soup and enjoyed the first sip. The native chicken was grilled and then braised with some native chili and tomatoes. The grilled state of the chicken brought about a distinct flavor to the soup. This changed my thoughts about me not wanting native chickens. It was so good that I totally forgot that we had Tilapia Sisig as well which practically was chopped filleted fish on a sizzling plate with tasty sauce.

Linagpang Na Native Chicken Lake Sebu
Linagpang na Native Chicken (P230)
Tilapia Sizzling Sisig Lake Sebu
Sizzling Sisig Tilapia (P220)
We finished our beer night and went to bed at around eight in the evening. Lake Seloton dozed off with us.

I woke up at four in the morning, took a quick shower and went out to check if it’s chilly outside (it wouldn’t be dubbed as the Summer Capital of the South for nothing). It was cold, yes, but not as cold as mornings in Baguio City.

I gazed at the sky and noticed the wonderful play of natural lights on the horizon; it was the crack of dawn. I hurriedly went back to our room and woke my buddy up who reminded me last night that sunrise at this elevated part of South Cotabato.

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
Break of dawn
Pinkish red water lilies softly floated (or were those lotuses/loti?), traditional T’boli dug-out wooden boat calmly parked on the banks and morning fog covered the lake. We found the perfect spot to catch sunrise and we waited patiently as we started to click our shutters.

Lake Seloton Lake Sebu South Cotabato
A relaxing morning scene
It was relaxing and serene. The sweet chirping of the birds broke the deafening silence. It was a great morning and we’re so ready to explore more of Lake Sebu.

The sun was starting to show its brilliance as we sat again on our favorite hut. It was six in the morning as our breakfast came. It was, Fried Tilapia with rice and fried egg. Again, the fresh fish was fried to perfection. I could finish one or two more of this.

Fried Tilapia Sunrise Garden Resort Lake Sebu
Fried Tilapia for breakfast
We had to leave the comforts of Sunrise Garden Resort early to explore more of Lake Sebu. It was a disgrace that we didn’t even have the chance to try the bamboo raft. But before we left, I asked if I could try paddling one of the traditional boats. 

Tboli Wooden Boat Lake Sebu
You gotta try the T'boli wooden boat before the tradition dies out
I was struggling with balancing as I got to the end of the canoe and I started to paddle. I wanted to stay a little bit more but we had to leave, which I hated. Nonetheless, it was a sweet escape.

Tboli Wooden Boat Lake Sebu

Sunrise Garden Lake Resort (book online)
Lake Seloton, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Contact Numbers: (+63) 936.416.9344 | (+63) 917.556.7763
Email Address: