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Lake Sebu Lodges: Estares Lake Resort & Punta Isla

September 29, 2011

With its rich cultural traditions and natural attractions, more and more tourists are visiting Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. Dubbed the Summer Capital of Southern Mindanao because of its cool climate, Lake Sebu is a peaceful, idyllic fishing town, and the ancestral domain of the indigenous T’boli tribe.

If you’re heading to Lake Sebu and looking for a place to stay, Estares Lake Resort and Punta Isla are two places worth checking in.

Estares Lake Resort

Estares Lake Resort is one of oldest lake resorts in the area and was the hotel recommended by a guide for me to stay in. The resort has seen better days, but if you’re looking for a quaint place to get away from it all, then this isn’t a bad option. The best cottage rooms are located on an elevated hill which offers a good view of the lake.

The cheerful reception area is decorated with native touches, like a t’nalak wall covering, a hand-embroidered sign of the resort and carved wooden sculptures, which are the traditional crafts of T’bolis.

The cottage rooms are spacious and comfortable. The VIP rooms come with satellite TV, wall fan,  hot and cold shower, and have a private balcony overlooking the lake. Air-conditioning isn’t really a necessity as it gets pretty cold at night there.

Cheaper rooms for backpackers and budget travelers are also available in an older building beside the lake. Though the budget rooms are a bit run-down compared to the cottages and amenities are basic, it can be a good option for those who will  just be stashing their bags for the day.

What makes Hotel Estares worth staying in is its location beside the lake. In the morning, you can enjoy a quiet breakfast of daing na tilapia in the lakeside huts, while you watch the fishermen go about their business. Estares is also just walking distance from where vans will drop you off at the poblacion.

Estares Lake Resort

  • Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines
  • Mobile number: 0915-9885175
  • Email:
  • Facebook Page: Estares Lake Resort
  • Room rates: K’mayaw rooms – twin bed, CR and bath (good for 3) – P400; K’naban Rooms – family room with CR, wall fan (good for 6) – P700; Gono Blum Rooms – VIP room, matrimonial be with CR, hot & cold shower, TV, wall fan (good for 3) – P,1000; Dormitory rooms with stand fan, CR & bath – P100/head

Punta Isla Lake Resort

Punta Isla Lake Resort provides another great view of the lake, but you’ll need to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) going there from the poblacion, since it’s about 5 minutes away. I didn’t get to see the rooms here, but based on the rest of the place, it looks like a nice place to stay. It’s a popular choice for events and conferences in the area because of its amenities.

Aside from the main restaurant with a good vantage point, Punta Isla has a floating restaurant right on the lake that you need to take a small boat to get to.

Punta Isla also offers boat tours (P500 per boat), which lets you cruise around the lake and see the different fishpens and lakeside houses dotting the different islets.

Like Estares, Punta Isla specializes in tilapia dishes. They serve over 50 different tilapia dishes including tilapia fuyong, tilapia kilawin, paksiw na tilapia and their specialty, tilapia chicharon (crispy tilapia rinds). Food servings are large if you’re eating alone, but if you’re with a group, this is a cool place to relax and unwind for dinner.

Punta Isla Lake Resort

  • Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines
  • Contact numbers: (083) 826-0962 and (083) 238-8503
  • Email:, reservations.puntaisla@
  • Facebook page: Punta Isla Lake Resort
  • Room rates: VIP Room – single bed w/bath (good for 2) – P950; Family room with twin bed, bath, toilet & cable TV (good for 4) – P975; Family Room dorm type (good for 6) – P750; T’boli House (good for 15 persons) – P1,350

How to get to Lake Sebu: (commuting)

General Santos Ariport to Yellow Bus Terminal (YBL) – P300
Non-aircon bus from YBL to Marbel (Koronadal) – P65
Bus from Marbel to Surallah – P27
Van from Surallah to Lake Sebu – P35
Habal-habal to hotel – P10
Van from Lake Sebu to Marbel (direct) – P55
AC Bus from Marbel to GenSan – P83
Taxi from GenSan to Airport – P300

Coming soon: Things to do in Lake Sebu & One-stop Pasalubong Center: COWHED

14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 1:49 pm

    wow! affordable nga… thanks for sharing!

  2. September 30, 2011 6:16 am

    WOW. The place looks awesome and reaaaally affordable! ❤

    • October 2, 2011 1:39 am

      Hey Robbie. Both Estares and Punta Isla are pretty affordable. 🙂 Food is better in Punta Isla though since lumipat yung chef ng Estares to another resort.

  3. September 30, 2011 10:45 am

    Estares Lake Resort’s cottage room looks so cozy! I’d love to check in there someday when I finally get to visit Lake Sebu.

    • October 2, 2011 1:42 am

      Hi Gaye. There are a lot of other new places like Mountain Lodge Resort and Dolores Inn, which I wasn’t able to visit. The zipline there is the best though baka hindi pa pwede yun kay Luna. 🙂

  4. eilho saavedra permalink
    November 19, 2011 2:30 pm

    the pLace is so awesome!! punta isla improves a lot! i’ve been there 3x but it was a Long time! im pLanning to visit there next year!!when i got home!!!

    • November 22, 2011 3:42 am

      Hi Eliho. Punta Isla was very pleasant and the food was very good there too. Sarap ng tilapia chicharon. Lake Sebu is such a beautiful place to visit.

  5. February 8, 2012 4:47 am

    Thanks for this info. am planning to celebrate our monthsary this coming feb. 19. . .

  6. macky permalink
    March 20, 2012 3:40 pm

    hi can what is the best resort in lake sebu i have visitors from manila. ang punta isla lang ba nag poprovide ng tour sa 7 falls? thanks!

  7. macky permalink
    March 20, 2012 3:40 pm


    • March 20, 2012 11:11 pm

      Hi Macky. I would recommend Punta Isla since they have a good resto, boats for lake tours, and can probably arrange the 7 Falls tours for you. You can also just talk to habal-habal drivers and arrange for them to take you to the falls. Baka lang mas mahirap yun if you are in a big group. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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