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South Cotabato is one of the places in Mindanao that both local and foreign tourists return to every year, despite the security threats that have clouded over the island in the past few years. Like other regions in Mindanao, South Cotabato capitalizes on its rich and beautiful nature. Its fertile soil has paved the way for migration and agricultural industries as well.

Dubbed the “Land of the Dreamweavers”, South Cotabato is home to the T’Boli tribe, known for their art of weaving that bases its patterns on their dreams. With lakes, waterfalls, vast plantations and well-preserved traditions, South Cotabato opens the doors to the picturesque southern region of Mindanao. That said, here are a few South Cotabato tourist spots and activities you can enjoy.

Lake Sebu

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Lake Sebu is one of the top tourist attractions in South Cotabato, and the town where it’s located is named after it.

One of the town’s three lakes, Lake Sebu is more than just a tourist destination; in fact, it’s a major watershed in South Cotabato. It’s also paved the way for a progressive agricultural scene and is an economic ace in the region.

There are several restaurants located around the lake where tourists can enjoy local dishes, especially those made with tilapia. You can also enjoy a calm and relaxing boat ride to see the fish pens as well as the verdant forests of Lake Sebu. If you’re a peace-loving traveler, you can opt to spend a night or two at any of the affordable accommodations nearby.

Lake Holon

With its lush forests and largely unspoiled beauty, South Cotabato is one of the best places to enjoy some well-deserved solitude. If you want to completely detach from the hustle and bustle of city life, then take a trek to Lake Holon.

People who have visited the place before claim that this lake is not just one of the cleanest, but it’s also one of the most beautiful.

The lake is the crater of Mt. Parker, formed during its eruption centuries ago. Considered sacred among those of the T’Boli tribe, the trek to the lake takes about 5 hours, and there are two trails. When you reach the end and catch a glimpse of this 300-hectare (742-acre) lake with deep blue waters, you’ll feel it’s well worth all the trouble it took to reach.

Some of the activities you can enjoy here include swimming, kayaking and camping.

The Pineapple Plantation

Mindanao is home to different fruit plantations, and the pineapple plantation in Polomolok City is one such example that’s also a must-see stop. Covering more than 180,000 hectares, it’s a recognizable area as you pass by, with the imposing Mt. Matutum as its background.

Managed by DOLE Philippines, the plantation is one of the largest in the world. A tour of this place will have you walking along the vast fields filled with pointed leaves and golden fruit. You’ll also learn more about how these pineapples are cultivated and harvested.

Aside from trying out some of the resorts in South Cotabato, you can also see the above destinations along the way. If you’re including all of these in your itinerary, make sure to plan your trip well so you can enjoy yourself without worrying about the next leg of the trip.