Philippines · South Cotabato · Travel Tales

Travel Tales: Lake Sebu, and some thoughts on traveling

Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, on an overcast day in January
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, on an overcast day in January

I wanted to go to Lake Sebu primarily because of the following poem by Marjorie Evasco:

Dreamweavers
Marjorie Evasco

We are entitled to our own
Definitions of the worlds
We have in common:

Earth  house          (stay)
Water well              (carry)
Fire stove               (tend)
Air song                  (sigh)
Ether dream          (die)

And try out new combinations
With key words
Unlocking power:

House on fire               sing!
Stove under water    stay,
Earth filled well         die.

The spells and spellings
Of our vocabularies
Are oracular
In translation

One woman in Pagnito-an
Another in Solentiname
Still another in Harxheim
And many other women
Naming
Half the world together

Can      move their earth
Must    house their fire
Be         water to their song
Will      their dreams well.

I actually do not know if Dr. Evasco had the t’nalak weavings of the T’boli people in mind. I suppose the essence is the same, though; women create, weave, with threads or words or dreams. Either way I was, and still am, fascinated by these women who dream of patterns and weave them into cloth, and I wanted to see them in Lake Sebu.

Sometime last January, my family and I went on a road trip through southern Mindanao, from Panabo City to General Santos, passing through Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and finally, South Cotabato. You’d better believe it, we passed through those areas all in one day (it was my indefatigable uncle who drove), even stopping in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao to see the banana plantation where my uncle works. I guess I equipped myself with a bit of knowledge of the type of bananas we send abroad (i.e. green and perfect, not a spot or a renegade finger in sight).

I’d requested that we go to Lake Sebu, which we did. Unfortunately, we had limited time as our actual destination was General Santos. We had time only for a boat ride around the lake to see, quite from afar, how the people lived. It was quite a touristy thing to do. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing interesting to see from afar, as the following pictures would attest:

DSC_6408

DSC_6404

DSC_6399

DSC_6391

Now that I think about it, I guess that even with mere months since I got into this traveling hobby, I’d already been so used to roughing it, exploring on foot, and communing with people and places, that only passing through them seemed — well — foreign to me. I need to see something (dare I say it) poetic in my travels, and I need it up close; I need time with it.

And I know that soon, I’m going to be zipping across Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia in only a little more than three weeks, but I think I already know the experiences that I want to take away from my trip. That is: when I come back home, I’m going to tell stories not just of places, but of people in them, too.

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8 thoughts on “Travel Tales: Lake Sebu, and some thoughts on traveling

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