When you hear South Cotabato what often comes to mind is conflict. However, this is not the case – the province is blessed with beautiful natural and cultural attractions that will easily fill a day’s itinerary. The region has mountains, lakes, and others that will make your trip worthwhile. The easiest way to reach South Cotabato is by plane. There are many direct flights from Manila to General Santos City operated by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
If you’re planning to visit this province, here are some of the things to do and attractions to visit.
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
Experience Zip Lining over the 7 Falls of Lake Sebu
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try zip lining while in Lake Sebu. The zip lines you can try are around 200m high and with lengths up to 420m and 740m. This activity is the closest you can get to flying. Feel the wind blowing and shout as loud as you can as you soar above the 7 waterfalls. Take pictures or videos of the short but sweet flight.
Join the Festivities of the T’nalak Festival
South Cotabato has a rich cultural heritage that is uniquely its own. This is best showcased during the celebration of the T’nalak Festival. The festival takes place every July in the city of Koronadal. It celebrates the ingenuity of the T’boli women who weave beautiful patterns on abaca cloth. There are various events held during this special occasion such as a beauty pageant, street parties, concerts, a parade, a showcase of local products, and a singing and dancing competition.
Relax and Unwind in Lake Sebu
Lake Sebu is an idyllic destination where you can leave the daily grind behind and just enjoy the peace, quiet and nature. Verdant, rolling hills, placid lakes with mirror-like waters, farmlands and small villages create a serene ambiance for those who want to take it slow during their trip in South Cotabato. Go trekking to some of the 7 waterfalls the area is famous for. The rugged terrain may be difficult at first, but seeing the waterfall up close is worth the effort. Go on a short, boat ride on the lake or rent a kayak. Try the tilapia dishes to fill your tummy and renew your spent energy. Spend a night or so here to fully experience the place.
Enjoy Nature at Lake Holon
If you enjoyed hanging out at Lake Sebu, you will enjoy Lake Holon as well. This piece of paradise is still unspoiled by mass tourism. Its rawness is part of its appeal. The views of the rolling hills, rugged trails and the lake are nothing short of spectacular. The lake is Mt. Parker’s crater when it was still an active volcano centuries ago. Locals say that the trek to the lake takes approximately 3 to 5 hours depending on pace and physical condition. The long trek is worth it because of the beauty of the lake and its surroundings. Dip in the cool waters, ride a kayak or set up camp to spend the night here.
See the Cute Little Tarsiers
Bohol isn’t the only place where you can see these doe-eyed creatures. You can find a tarsier sanctuary in Barangay Linan, Tupi. Be careful not to stress them out or disturb them while you take pictures and look into their beautiful eyes.
Explore Mt. Matutum and DOLE Plantation
The DOLE Plantation is a sprawling pineapple plantation that measures approximately 12,000 hectares. Walk around to enjoy nature, breathe in the fresh, cool air and feel your muscles flex and break out a sweat as you explore. Take photos of the mountains in the distance and just marvel at nature’s beauty.
If you have the time and are up to the challenge, you can hike up Mt. Matutum which towers over its surroundings at more than 2,000 meters above sea level. The trek is challenging but worth it because of the views you will see at the top and along the way.
Make a Brief Stop at the Surallah Landmark
This landmark located in Surallah’s roundabout showcases the cultural heritage of the region. Kublai Millan, a prolific Mindanaon artist, made the sculptures which are a mix of the diverse cultures of the province. Take a brief rest and stop for a photo op with this town icon.
Where to Stay in South Cotabato
General Santos City is your jump-off point to explore the province. Here you will find plenty of private and public transportation to get you to Lake Sebu, Surallah and other parts of South Cotabato or nearby provinces. There are malls, restaurants and fast food chains in this city. You will also find several accommodation options. This is a good base to start or end your trip.
You can also go camping in Lake Holon, but bring your own equipment, plus food and water, during your trip. Alternatively, there are homestays, resorts, and guesthouses in Lake Sebu. The latter is a good place to get away from the concrete jungle and block out the noise.
But if you decide to make General Santos City as your base, here are some of the highly recommended hotels by Agoda users.
- Garden Haven Suites. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- Amandari Cove Hotel. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- London Beach Resort and Hotel. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- Greenleaf Hotel Gensan. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY