South Cotabato Travel Guide

Travel post mortem: Project Aerie

By on June 26, 2010

group pic at Punta Isla Resort

Project Aerie showed me that South Cotabato is far from the war-torn region described by a popular Asin song. The residents have somehow fostered deep respect for each other’s differences and stewardship for their environment over the years. Since its provincehood forty years ago, it has been aggressively positioning itself to become one of the major eco-tourism destinations in the Philippines.

But I must admit that the province was not in my bucket list this year. It was then Michaela’s curiosity of a certain ‘eagle’s cove’ in Lake Sebu that sparked Project Aerie. She wrote it down as one of her midyear goals during our meeting last January. Soon enough, our young professional group became interested with the idea. After we bought our promo flights, she then drafted an itinerary together with the other ladies in the group who also hailed from the same province.

What we did
Day 1
activities: arrival in General Santos City Domestic Airport, sidetrips at Durian Garden at Polomolok, Apareja’s Buko Halo-Halo (This has sweet camote chunks but it tasted really good.) and the Kablon fruitstand (you could buy ridiculously low priced fruits here) at Koronadal

collage 1

cleaning a live Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) at the 7 Falls, preparing the groceries for a mini-outreach, Cyel’s first Durian bite.

collage 2

Day 2
activities: zip-line rides, waterfall trek to Falls Nos. 1,2 4 and 5
collage 3
trek to Sitio Kangko community and birdwatching deck, community socials.

collage 4

Day 3
activities: rivertrek to Hikong Mahi, Tilapia overload and Lake Sebu view at Punta Isla Resort.

collage 5

Day 4
activities: bought pasalubong at the General Santos Airport and we almost missed our flight back to Cebu.

What else could be done
If we had enough time and budget, we could have stopped over Kalsangi Golf Course and Blooming Petals. For those who want to experience a different culture, you could spend some time with a T’boli family or with Lang Dulay, a National Living Treasure Awardee. A boat tour around Lake Sebu is also offered by nearby resorts. You must also try riding an owong, a dug-out native canoe. A short trip to Barangay Tasiman is an off-beat tourist destination.

But if given another opportunity, I would like to be back for a trek to Lake Holon or perhaps participate in Amyak Maleh sometime in March.

How much was the damage
Excluding airfare, I spent Php 1400++ for 3 days and 3 nights.

We spent the first 2 evenings in tents and the last in a friend’s house. We stretched Php 1800 (groceries and 2.5 kilos, at Php 80/kilo, of live Tilapia) for 5 meals (at least 10 persons in every time). Our most expensive meal perhaps was our lunch at Punta Isla. We spent Php 2400.00 but that was even a bargain: for 8 generous servings of Tilapia dishes, it satisfyingly overfed 11 persons.

We hired a van for Php 2500 in Day 1. This took us from General Santos Airport up to Lake Sebu. This may have taken a dent in our budget but the tradeoff is worth every centavo. Public transport along the national highway is hard to come by. We also did not have enough time for every transport stopover and transfer (jeepneys, taxis, motorcycles and buses). By the way, watch out for the ridiculous ‘fixed’ rates charged by the airport taxis at the General Santos Airport.

Project Aerie wordle

Ladies and gentlemen, that wraps up Project Aerie. If you have gone to South Cotabato recently, what other destinations, sidetrips, activities future travelers must not miss next time?

Post mortems like this would hopefully become a regular feature in Baktin Corporation. It is a simple review on a recent travel I have done – budget tips, off-beaten paths and to-do items later on. It is not comprehensive and may not be updated. There are other information you can get from travel blogs, government tourism portals and LGU websites. But you can start drafting your itinerary with this post as a reference.

  1. Reply


    June 28, 2010

    bongga!!! this entry would certainly help others who plan to visit South Cotabato. i was never really interested in this province.. but your posts made me look again.. and yes, South Cotabato has lot of things to offer. Will recommend this place to my friends,too.

    now, im craving for tilapia..will cook tilapia this weekend.

  2. Reply


    June 29, 2010

    Hi sister. I'll buy you promo seats for General Santos this January. What sayeth thou?



Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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