Lake Sebu Beyond the Lake

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.

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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.
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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.

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Perhaps, for both of us, Lake Sebu has come to be more than a place.
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It is an experience.
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It is verdant ricefields in far-flung baranggays.
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It is muddy trails that bring you to T’boli settlements which are home to master musicians.
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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.
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It is the sound of children laughing . . .
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and playing music they have heard from their elders.
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Of dances performed for you because you are their friend.
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Lake Sebu is a traditional T’boli meal prepared and communally eaten with friends in someone’s home.
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It is as pleasant to the palate as it is to the eyes as you gaze at the calm waters of the lake.
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Or at the beautiful clothes of the T’boli women.
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It is as much the rhythm of the t’nonggong
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as it is the rhythm of the boat rowers.
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And the rhythm of the weavers.
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Most of all, Lake Sebu is the wonderful T’boli I have met.
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If I stay here much longer I might just make it my second home.
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