|The Tboli children sharing their stories through music|
Ms. Maria “Oyog” Todi, a Tboli cultural worker who has traveled the world to tell their stories, runs the SLT in Sitio Lambanig in Barangay Poblacion. Nomads who want a more enriching experience and wander out of the beaten trails of Lake Sebu are welcome to stay in the Tboli house for a homestay experience. Researchers, artists and backpackers from all over the globe would stay in the house even for months for the experience.
|Ate Mayang Todi telling her stories and struggles in establishing the SLT|
|Serenading the night away with a Hegalong|
Ate Maria’s nephews and children welcomed us as we arrive in chockfull backpacks and high spirits. The children knew how to treat their visitors. My wife Kai had fun conversing with them in Ilongo dialect. T’boli and Ilonggo are the major dialects spoken in Lake Sebu, both comprising 95.5% of the population.
|Happy Apps for the happy children|
|Once you learn how these beads were made you'll surely get some for yourself to keep|
|Beads made from recycled plastics and styros.|
The Tbolis play traditional musical instruments as a hobby and it is said to soothe the mind. The children sampled us with Lemlunay, a song about a paradise, a place that is becoming more and more impossible as modernization attempts to overtake the local culture.
|good morning birthday greetings from the Tboli children|
|a cell of indigenous knowledge|
The Tboli house that stands on top of a small hill is Ate Mayang’s SLT’s second longhouse after the first was toppled down by strong wind in 2012. Travelers and private groups and individuals led by writer Edgar Allan of eazytraveler.com helped for the construction of the new long house by organizing an online fund-raising drive in the same year. Ate Mayang would not miss mentioning Allan’s name and the things he did for the SLT to her visitors.
It was a good night’s sleep on bamboo flooring in a partition reserved for us inside the long house. A horse’s nicker greeted us with good morning. “Perhaps the roosters were absent”, Kai quipped enjoying the rural setting.
The children loved surprises! They gifted us with bracelets and necklaces before we slept. The following morning three of them surprised me with freshly-cut stems of bird-of-paradise flowers and greeted me a happy birthday.
|Ye Barang, one of Lake Sebu's revered dreamweaver|
|It is also a sanctuary|
|Definitely, we're going back to spend more time with our newfound Tboli friends.|
As Kai puts it, it’s a learning and heartening experience minus the crowd of tourists. 
SLT Schedule during Saturdays:
Activities: Traditional music and dance lessons
Cultural Awareness, Hands on Arts and Crafts
8:00-12:00 NOON – Children ( Kem Nga)
1:00- 3:00pm - In and out of school Youth
Professionals and Adults ( Kem Tuha)
An overnight stay with traditional Tboli breakfast costs P200. I think that’s a measly amount for the experience. You may opt to add more to help maintain the SLT.
If you want to experience or witness traditional dances and cultural presentations, book in advance so they can prepare. Performance fees will go to the maintenance of the house and the presenters.
For details and bookings, contact Maria Todi at phone numbers: 09066345367 or 09129764041.
How to get there:
Lake Sebu is two hours away from General Santos City where an international airport is located.
From the airport, ride a multicab (P50) or taxi (P300) to Bulaong integrated terminal.
Ride a Yellow Bus to Koronadal City (P83) and transfer to another bus heading to Surallah (P24). The bus stops at Surallah Integrated Terminal.
From the terminal ride a van (P24) to Lake Sebu. Tell the driver to drop you at Greenbox Restaurant. The Tboli House is adjacent to the restaurant.
If you’re coming from Davao City, ride a Yellow Bus heading to Gen. Santos. The bus stops at Bualong Terminal too.
Transportation around Lake Sebu is thru a skylab, a single motorcycle with extensions for more passengers. Fare starts at P8 to P30 depending on the destination. Fare matrixes are posted around the establishments. There’s one in SLT.