Kofnit Cave: Lake Sebu beyond the Lakes, waterfalls and Tilapias


Lake Sebu, a scenic upland town in South Cotabato famous for the 7 falls, three lakes and countless Tilapia fish delicacies, has this charm and beauty I always want to experience. As to what this charm is, its what I'm still trying to understand. For those who have visited Lake Sebu, met its people, climbed its mountains and have taken their adventure days into its natural and cultural wonders surely have the same feeling.

Inside the Kofnit Cave
The newest addendum to its must-visit destinations is Kofnit Cave, a cave with portions of subterranean river/stream hidden in the hills of Sitio Lambila, Barangay Lam Fugon at approximately 800 meters above sea level . The cave is an alternative destination for adventurers who want more of Lake Sebu. 
The cave is not totally untouched but is still speleologically-rich enough to be considered as a living cave. The Regional Cave Committee (RCC) of Region-12 has recently considered the cave as fit for eco-tourism activities that still ensures preservation.

It is very much alive with an underground river running through it, still rich in speleothems like various cave formations, large and small cave columns, small stalactites and stalagmites, flowstones and soda straws. Its main chambers are wide enough to accommodate the size of two buses at the same time. Fruit bats and swiftlets (balinsasayaw birds) are aplenty inside aside from various cave faunas.


A river must be crossed before reaching the Lambila community 

Interacting with the shy members of the Ubo tribe

The steep trail down to the mouth of the cave
Guano-filled chambers still abound and the subterranean river rises up to waist level deep. You will get wet as soon as you enter the 550-meter long main chamber from its dropping entrance.

The community has been involved since its opening to tourists last year. The program is being supervised by the local tourism office, Department of Tourism-12 and the DENR-12 as part of their program support to eco-tourism. The Community too have members trained for cave guiding thru organizations like Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance.

The tourism office is also eyeing to integrate a Homestay program so that the Ubo community of just 6 households will have a direct involvement with the project. Homestay is an accommodation program for tourists that allows them to rent a room and stay with a local family to interact with them and learn about their culture, lifestyle and language.

Developing the area and readying the community will be a long process and careful preparation must be undertaken to make the stakeholders understand their specific roles in the development and in the protection of the environment.
The cave welcomes explorers with a dip to its underground stream


The Ubo kid that guided our group inside the cave

Cave scorpions consider the cave as their home

underground stream

flowstones




The chamber that could fit approximately up to 2 buses


Kuya Bensilo, an Ubo tribal leader who owns the patch of land where the cave is located, said he wishes for the development to truly benefit their community. He said ecotourism must be done in a responsible and sustainable manner as the preservation of the cave is ensured.

The community where Kuya Ben lives is currently home to just six households with eight Ubo families. Kuya Ben said there are around 20 more caves to be explored within the vicinity. Of all the caves Kefinit is the grandest, he said.

He said he wants the best for the cave and he relies on the help of the government and the experts. The decision to open the cave is hoped to be of genuine help to the development of his community and for preservation of the cave.




Julz with our newfound  Ubo friends
 

Skulls of monkeys trapped by the local hunters hang inside their homes



Sustainability of projects supporting this eco-tourism and environmental protection initiatives and must be ensured while involving the community to realize the objectives for community-based development. Involving the right persons and agencies will be another essential ingredient. We sincerely wish for the best for the Ubo people, the cave and their beloved community.

Next time you come to Lake Sebu, forget about claustrophobia and be ready to explore more than just waterfalls and the lakes. Cheers! []

All smiles and full of  dirt after exploring the cave

Hot to get there:
Lamlahak is around 30 minutes away from the town proper via a habal-habal or single motorcycle (P100). From Lamlahak area, Lambila is around 40 minutes away by foot. 

Lake Sebu is only 40 minutes away from Koronadal City (P85), the gateway to biodiversity-rich Allah Valley area where the town is located. 

Koronadal City is only one hour away from General Santos City (P90) where the nearest airport is located. Transportation vans and buses are the main means of public transportation going to Lake Sebu.

Our sincerest thanks to all our participants, donors and partners for taking part in this undertaking. Cheers!

6 comments:

  1. Hope for the best for Lake Sebu!!!

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  2. All the best for Lake Sebu and its people. all the best for SOCCSKSARGEN's tourism too.

    Thanks, bernie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. very nice.. i hope to visit Kefinit Cave soon...

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    Replies
    1. thanks nanardxz! may the RCC's decision be for the best of everybody and the cave. cheers!

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  4. I like! I'll ask some relatives in Lake Sebu if possible akong makapunta sa cave. How I miss Lake Sebu, thanks for this post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks saggi! Lake Sebu will be waiting for you.
      btw, nice blog you have. cheers!

      Delete

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