Day 4 is Saturday and an unexpected change in our schedule meant a field visit of a different kind to Lake Sebu. There are 3 main lakes, the biggest of which is Lake Sebu, a beautiful inland sea in the southern Tiruray highlands, surrounded by rolling green hills and forested mountains. As well as a nature lover’s paradise, Lake Sebu is home to 7 spectacular natural waterfalls, 3 of which can be viewed from one of the tallest zip lines in Southeast Asia…at a height of 200 meters. Here, I can “experience flying like a bird at its two zip line rides”. Flying is not one of my favourite pastimes, but this was an opportunity not to miss. I was feeling excited, until I got in the queue…then began to feel that my breakfast might soon reappear.
Oh well, here goes…
I really wanted another go, but it was time to explore on terra firma…
Lake Sebu is recognised as one of the most important watershed areas in the country and is proclaimed as a Protected Landscape. The main sources of livelihood here are fishing and farming and the lake is one of the water bodies that provide irrigation water for rice lands.
The T’boli highland tribe comprises of around 60 percent of the population of Lake Sebu and their very rich culture is being kept alive in schools, communities and through tourism. They are famous for their product known as T’nalak, a fabric whose design is woven out of their dreams; hence they are called the “DREAM WEAVERS.” Their customs and traditions are shown through their dances, music, rituals and beliefs, and it was delightful to observe a taste of this over lunch on the lake.
Check out this courtship dance….it’s all about the eyebrows, chin stroke and hip wiggle!
The T’boli people are also known for their artistic arts and crafts. Many of them are engaged in embroidery, complicated beadwork, woven work, brass casting and wood and bamboo crafts.
The women here are members of COWHED (Cooperative of Women in Health and Development) which was formed 10yrs ago. This cooperative runs weaving and bead-making businesses, and educates T’boli women on maternal and childcare issues and livelihood opportunities.
“The women used to attribute deaths of unborn babies and pregnancy-related diseases to traditional beliefs when, in fact, they lacked prenatal care”. “Health problems at home compound the problems of T’boli women. Through this project they will learn more about solid waste, water, and sanitation.”
Of course, what better way to support this fantastic cooperative than a bit of souvenir (and handbag) shopping!
It was wonderful to see this stunningly beautiful place and T’boli culture with my colleagues Doc Mads and Doc Aidee – a big thank you for being my zip line partner so we didn’t stuck half way across! This flying challenge pales in comparison to the one coming up, which is giving me sleepless nights already.
Next stop….Day 6 and the final episode of this series – Speak soon, Alli 🙂