Most travellers stay no more than a few days in Lake Sebu. Some even just opt for a day tour. This is my third trip here and have been staying for more than a week and I have yet tire of it.
Admittedly, being here researching as an ethnomusicologist rather than sightseeing as a tourist has distinct differences. For one, I’m here for the people and the culture rather than the place and that can keep me occupied.
Still there are others like Martha, a solo Taiwanese traveler, staying with Oyog at her homestay and who after being here for a week and leaving this morning still had not had enough.
Perhaps, for both of us, Lake Sebu has come to be more than a place.
It is an experience.
It is verdant ricefields in far-flung baranggays.
It is muddy trails that bring you to T’boli settlements which are home to master musicians.
It is the sound of T’boli musicians proudly showing their music to anyone who would make the effort to locate and genuinely appreciate them.
It is the sound of children laughing . . .
and playing music they have heard from their elders.
Of dances performed for you because you are their friend.
Lake Sebu is a traditional T’boli meal prepared and communally eaten with friends in someone’s home.
It is as pleasant to the palate as it is to the eyes as you gaze at the calm waters of the lake.
Or at the beautiful clothes of the T’boli women.
It is as much the rhythm of the t’nonggong
as it is the rhythm of the boat rowers.
And the rhythm of the weavers.
Most of all, Lake Sebu is the wonderful T’boli I have met.
If I stay here much longer I might just make it my second home.