|My T’boli family at the new School of Living Traditions (SLT)|
The T’boli School of Living Traditions (SLT) in Lake Sebu I helped raised funds for was finished late last year. Nearly 50 donors made financial contributions to the project, amounting to PHP 60,000. Solar News Network also pitched in to help, donating PHP 50,000. As I was in the USA for more than three months, I unfortunately missed the reopening of the school, run by T’boli cultural worker Maria “Oyog” Todi. My mother and sister were able to visit Lake Sebu on my behalf in November while I was away.
|The newly rebuilt School of Living Traditions (SLT)|
Upon returning to the country, I made sure that I will take the time to visit the SLT. I spent three days in Lake Sebu reuniting with my “T’boli family”. It was great to see the SLT becoming a venue for visitors to experience and understand the indigenous way of life. During my visit, 30 eco-tourism students from Camiguin Polytechnic University also stayed in the school, which also doubles as a traditional homestay for travelers. Led by cultural educator Rosalie Zerrudo, they were on a week-long trip around Mindanao for sightseeing and cultural immersions. After the Camiguin students left, another group of sociology students from Koronadal also made a day trip to the T’boli school.
During my last day, I learned to perform the T’boli warrior and monkey dances. It was an emotional farewell, as the kids gathered to express their gratitude for the help extended to get the school back on its feet. On behalf of the T’boli community of Lake Sebu, I thank everyone who supported the rebuilding of the T’boli SLT! I invite everyone to help sustain the school through a home stay experience and patronizing the handicrafts they sell, such as traditional textiles and jewelry.
|Enjoy a home stay experience at a traditional T’boli longhouse!|
HOW TO GET THERE: From General Santos, ride a bus to Koronadal (Marbel), PHP 65 (non-AC, 1 hr). Then catch another one to Surallah, PHP 28 (AC, 30 mins). From Surallah, take the final ride to Lake Sebu aboard a jeepney (PHP 36.50, 45 mins) or hire a motorbike (PHP 100, 1-2 pax, 30 mins).
WHERE TO STAY: Maria’s homestay is located at Sitio Lambanig, Barangay Poblacion, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. When you take a jeepney or motorbike from Surallah, tell the driver to drop you off near across Greenbox store. Bring a sleeping bag as it gets very cold at night. Maria does not specify a rate for her homestay. PHP 200 per night would be a fair rate (excluding meals). I encourage visitors to donate more for the upkeep of the house, and to support her cultural works. Contact Maria “Oyog” Todi at +639066345367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This trip was made possible through Airphil Express, the fastest growing airlines in the Philippines! Book online at http://www.airphilexpress.com