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Lake Sebu's Seven Falls Zip Lines
Asia's longest 740m Zip Line
Getting to this awesome zipline requires some traveling in the Philippines. First off, from Manila or Cebu City (or other airports), you fly to Davao on Mindanao island. You might be able to fly into General Santos (locals call it GenSan) from Cebu City on Cebu island. Once there, if in Davao, you need to travel to GenSan (3 hrs), then Koronadal (1 hr), then Lake Sebu (1 hr) if by car. If by bus, allow more time. If you start in GenSan, then the road trip is just two hours by car. The road from GenSan to Koronadal is one of the Philippines’ few four lane highways in good shape built by Americans years ago. It looks like an American highway. Travel is usually 60-90km\hour. A few roadside fruit stands provide stops and by the time you get to Korandal, people need the restroom. There is a Jollibee fast food along the road there, just stop there, have a bite to eat.
Beware that there is a speed trap just before you enter Koronadal. When the speed limit drops to 40 km, best to obey it because there is a radar gun used by police hidden. It is easy to get caught after moving at 90 km \hour for a good time ( I know, I was caught). The fine for going 60 km in a 40 km zone was 1000 pesos ($25). The cop will take your license and make you follow him to the town hall to pay. Luckily, it is right along the road you’re on. Despite the fact my Filipina GF argued with the cop to reduce the fine, it did no good.
At Koronadal, you will turn off towards Surallah, making a left turn (the sign is not big, BTW), after about 10 miles, you will turn off again to Surallah town to Lake Sebu. The roads are fine to the lake. Mostly two lane. From Koronadal, the lake is about 15-20 miles of beautiful, scenic tropical vistas. The road to the lake was fairly empty on a weekday.
Lake Sebu town is not much, more of a village. It has several hotels , nothing better than 3-star at best, usually $25 a night. Look, the only reason to go there is for the ziplines. The lake is scenic but there is hiking or path around the like, there is nothing to do unless you take a tour of the lake in a boat. We stayed at the Punta Isla resort which is WAY overpriced for even $25 a night. The room was sub-standard and small, the bathroom simply bad. The grounds are beautiful. Service bad (we waited 1 hr for our meal!) and wifi did not work. No AC! The road to the place was a one lane dirt, rocky road, that had me wondering.
The Zip Lines
In a word- Awesome! Worth the trip to the lake and spending the night. First, the name is confusing, deceptive. Yes, there are seven waterfalls, but the zipline only goes over two of them! The first one is 740 yds long, the second, 460 yards, making for some of the longest ones in this area of the world. Getting to the launch site from our hotel (see image), was a short cut. The sign along the main road said, To Seven Waterfalls. Taking it, the single lane, dirt, pothole road, took us to a crawl and into remote country. We kept asking passerby’s, “is this the right way?”. The response was, “Yeah, just up the road”. Yah right! True. Eventually we arrived there after passing it once. Look, parking is, at best, good for a few small cars. The countryside was magical and very rugged and steep all over. We paid an entrance fee, maybe 80 peso, walked past some shops until we saw a big sign indicating, To Waterfalls. So, we turn left and start going down stairs…some 750 steep stairs! We kept asking, where is the launch site for the zipline? Well, once we got down to the bottom we realized we were at the base of the great waterfall! When we looked up, a person flew over us! Hmm, there is the zipline! It was a great cardio workout going backup to where the launch site was (had we just followed the path to the right, well, we didn’t..).
We paid 500 pesos per person for the first zipline (the 2nd one is free). Within 15 seconds, we were flying across a canyon of jungle and over the waterfall we had seen at its base. I felt like a bird. A Godlike experience. As I approached the landing, the joy turned to fear because the jolt at the very end was shocking as I braked- freaky! We then went on the shorter 460 yard line to the base. It, too, was awesome but not as good as the first. Upon landing, you can either hike up a steep road to the first launch site or for 20 pesos, ride a motorcycle back.
That is it. It happens fast but the memories last forever! All roads to the zipline launch sites are paved but narrow single lane roads.