What is Lake Sebu?
Lake Sebu : Home of the T'boli Tribe dubbed as the Summer Capital of Southern Philippines. Lake Sebu is located at the southwestern part of the Province of South Cotabato. It is approximately 40 kilometers away from Koronadal City, the capital town of the Province of South Cotabato. It isbounded on the North by the Municipality of Surallah, on the southwest by the Municipalities of Kiamba and Maitum in the east by the Municipality of T'boli and in the west by Palimbang of the Province of Sultan Kudarat. It is located at 6'10'N Latitude and 124'44' Longitude. Lake Sebu is an Indigenous Cultural Community. It is a T'boli home land. After 27 years of corporate existence as a Municipal Government, its progress is remarkable. This progress can be attributed to the harmonious and united constituents to a common vision towards Ecology, Culture and Tourism. But Lake Sebu has a long history of classical pasts and sixty years of pioneering immigrants, who faced undauntedly the challenges of nature and the vagaries of politics. Lake Sebu is inhabited by the Tagabili tribes and other ethnic groups who migrated to this part of Mindanao perhaps even before the birth of Christ. They were believed to be of pure Malayan stock. These Malayan pioneer led an isolated and peaceful existence. They remain isolated for centuries. When Mohammedanism reach Mindanao, only Malayan in the lower valleys where converted into Islam Religion. The Tagabili or T'boli as often called were not affected. Not even with the coming of Spaniards in the 15th and 17th century nor the American in the early 20th Century. This was largely because of geographical barriers and inadequate communication, infrastructure systems, Lake Sebu manage to remain autonomous throughout centuries. Then came a significant trust, under the administration of the Late President Manuel L. Quezon. Mindanao being the Land of Promise has been a site for settlement projects for people in Central and Northern Philippines. The first wave of settlers had come led by Gen. Paulino Santos, that was 1938. It was in the 40's when settlers set foot on these Indigenous Cultural Communities. From February 1938 to October 1950, 8, 300 families were resettled by the National Land Settlement Agency (NSLA). These migrations adversely affected the T'boli. In the wakeof home steaders came commercial ranching, mining and logging interests. Armed with land grants and timeber licenses, these entities increasingly enchroached upon the T'boli homelands and disenfranchised those who had resided on the land since time immemorial. By not having access to the instruments of ownership recognized by the Philippines Government, the T'bolis did not obtain legal protection from the former (CCP Encyclopedia 1994). The upland of Lake Sebu was dominantly inhabited by T'bolis and they called the place S'bu (until now). Swa system or barter was already a long practice by the people as the means of acquiring goods and services. The T'boli lived a happy, peaceful and abundant life. There were plenty of foods for their needs due to the land, which is still spacious and fertile, suited for agriculture and domestication. Datu Baay Seng, Tamfungan Dulay And Datu Sugan were recognized tribal leaders by the Local Government of Buluan in this place. Nevertheless, when Lake Sebu was placed under the one of the political geographical units of Banga, Mr. Samuel Undan was recognized as a leader holding a position of Barrio Lieutenant Datu Balicucos Abdul, a Muslim from Kiamba who married a T'boli lady was appointed head of the Barangay by Mayor Improgo of Banga in 1956 and 1957. Mr. Morito Dumaup(1962-1970); Mr. Juanito Aguilar (1970-1982) and Mr. Antonio Estares in 1982 with three T'boli Councilmen and 3 Visayan Councilmen composing a total of six members of the barangay council. Barangay Lake Sebu was created and declared a municipality last November 11, 1982, and then, a plebiscite in October 15, 1983 which is one year after the passage of Batas Pambansa Bldg. 249- an act of creating Lake Sebu into a new municipality of the Province of South Cotabato. The said act was sponsored by Hon. Assemblyman Jose T. Sison Sr. and was approved on November 11, 1982.