I've been to South Cotabato last 2014, but I came back this because of its beauty.

One of the things I lvoed the most about this trip was our accommodations, Mountain Lake Eco-Resort. We booked this place because it was recommended by someone I know from the Department of Tourism - Region 12.

Here are the reasons why I loved the resort:

Lovely View of Lake Sebu 

The resort is located at the edge of Lake Sebu, which is composed of 3 lakes. When you go down from the main dining hall, you will get to see this beautiful view.

Breezy Nipa Huts

We stayed at an elevated nipa hut that was good for 3-4 persons. 

What I found interesting about the nipa huts at South Cotabato was there are patterns put to the walls.

The resort had WiFi and we were provided with a TV with cable. The hut was very spacious for the affordable price we paid for 2 nights.

We didn't even have to use our fan a lot because the breeze from the lake was so cold. The patio was where we ate and just hanged out when we went home after a full day of exploring.

I woke up around 5:30A.M. on our second day and got to witness this sunrise at the patio. Who would want to return to the city after seeing this?

Delicious Food

Even the dining hall had a view of the lake. 

I liked how it was an open space which made us see the view while waiting for our food. I also got curious about the red center piece. I found out that this was the design that was used for umbrellas of T'boli princesses back in the day.

Whenever we ordered food, it usually took one hour before serving. I wouldn't have snapped if this happened in Manila but the ambience in the place just makes you calm and patient.

What shocked us was for Php150, I thought I was getting a bowl of lomi. They gave us a full container of it.

Lake Sebu is known for their tilapia dishes and the ones cooked at Mountain lake Eco-Resort did not disappoint. They have a fish farm where they harvest tilapias every morning for their restaurant and lake cruises.

The first tilapia dish we had was the Tilapia chicharon. It was so good. I prefer it than the pork chicharon.

The best tilapia dish we had was the Pork and Tilapia Kinilaw. I've tasted kinilaw from various restaurants but this was the best so far. You can tell that in every bite into the pork or tilapia, it was marinated and cooked to perfection. We had this for two consecutive meals. It was that good. 

Lake Cruise

The activity that we enjoyed most was the lake cruise. We enjoyed it so much that we joined the breakfast and lunch lake cruises in the same day.

Jun Tuan, our tour guide, is a DOT-accredited tour guide and a full-blooded T'boli. It was so fun listening to him about the heritage of Lake Sebu and the T'bolis.

Other resorts have lake cruises, too, but this one was special because Y'egas, the T'boli princess known for her singing of T'boli songs, was with us for both cruises. 

How to get to Mountain Lake Eco-Resort?

If you're commuting from the General Santos Airport, here is how you'll get to Mountain lake Eco-Resort:

Taxi | GenSan Airport - GenSan Bulaong terminal  P300.00

Bus | GenSan Bulaong terminal to Marbel (Koronadal) via Mindanao Star Php80.00

Bus | Marbel - Surallah - Php30.00

Jeep | Surallah - Lake Sebu - P35.00

Habal-habal going to the resort | (depends on your arrangement with the resort)

If you want to make reservations, you can contact Mountain Lake Eco-Resort through their Facebook Page or through Ms. Aileen at 09173113071.

For the habalhabal rental, I highly recommend Kuya Toto. He was referred by the resort and was very accommodating to us. You can reach him at 0916 128 1477

How about you, have you stayed at Mountain Lake Eco-Resort? How was your experience? Let me know at the Comments Section below!

Some photos by Lara Catarroja and Ani Liwanag
Christmas is indeed the season of giving. There have been a lot of charity events in the metro which has held various fundraising activities and also engaging the donors in a fun way.

My officemates and I attended one just this weekend! Krispy Kreme held Crafty Christmas, a special activity that partners with renowned local contemporary artists to inspire customers to let out their inner artists for a good cause.
Last December 12, from 11 am to 8 pm, Krispy Kreme transformed their flagship store in BGC High Street into an artist’s Christmas workshop as patrons are invited to personalize their own Krispy Kreme tin cans, in the hope that participants will use this opportunity to create a unique tin can that features their take on the spirit of the holidays.

To inspire the participants, popular artist Kerby Rosanes doodled on a giant Krispy Kreme tin can live! 

In order to further motivate the customers-turned-artists, specially decorated tin cans that embody the Yuletides made by famed artists Leeroy New and Olivia D’Aboville was exhibited on-site.

At the end of the day, the creator of the best decorated tin can will be awarded with a year’s supply of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Aside from being a fun and interactive experience, the tin cans can perfectly hold six Krispy Kreme doughnuts making them the ideal gift that sends a sweet message to the Santas in our lives.

Best of all, the proceeds of the Krispy Kreme tin cans will go to the creation of an art room at Catmon Integrated School in Malabon. This aims to support the children’s creativity and to give them a venue in which to express their imaginations through art.
I was with 2 of my team mates and I could say we all had fun! It's not everyday that we get to unleash our creativity while helping out at a cause, right? 

Here's a close up shot of my tin can. I just highlighted the cover of the tin can.

Thanks for the fun crafternoon, Krispy Kreme! This iniative will surely put a giant smile to the kids's faces when they get the art room to unless their creativity!

During our first day at Zambales, we arranged a boat ride through LookLeft Commune Beach Resort to go to Capones.

I won't write much in this entry because I want you to see the beauty of Capones,Zambales through this photo log:

How about you, have you been to Capones? What other activities did you do aside from going to the lighthouse and swimming? Let me know through the comments section below!

Photo Credits: Nez Urbina, Gerard Castaneda

When you're someone who lives by the beach, it's a rare occasion that you go on a vacation to go to another beach destination. I always thought that, "Why go far from home when I have the sea at my backyard?"

One of the rare times that I got the itch to go to another beach was last May when my officemates went to Pundaquit, Zambales and stayed at LookLeft Commune Beach Resort. I wasn't able to join them because it coincided with my Hong Kong trip with the family.

They raved about the place so much and told me that they wanted to go back. It got me curious on why they were so eager to take another vacation at the said beach resort, so I insisted that the next time they went back, I should come with them and see the place for myself.

We all went back for a quick get away last November 21 - 22!

The Beautiful Scenery and Secluded Beach Front

To get to LookLeft Commune Beach Resort, there's  a 5-10 minute walk from the main road. What first struck me was that it's not as congested as the other areas of Zambales.

I personally like this because I go to the beach to relax, hang out by the sea shore, and take sunset photos. Yes, not really to swim. There's just something so calming about hearing the ocean waves and just relaxing by the beach.

A Beach Resort that Encourages Interaction with a No Fuss Accommodation Experience

What I immediately noticed when I entered LookLeft  was that there were many communal areas where you can hang out with other tourists in the resort.

This includes common dining areas and a central common area comprised of a tree house, a dome where people can jam and drink in the evening, and huts distributed inside the beach resort.

I would say that this is not the typical beach resort set-up because most of the ones I've been to before had open huts rented exclusively by specific guests.

For the accommodations, we were lucky to get the room for 10 - 15 people which was perfect for us since we were 14 in the group. There are also other huts for rent for 4 people if you're going in a smaller batch.

It somehow felt like home because the room was mainly made with bamboo and most of the houses at our place in Batangas have the same structure. You can tell I enjoyed my stay a lot because I slept from 9PM - 6AM with no interruptions.

Fun Activities You Can Do While Staying at Look Left Beach Resort

We just stayed in the resort for one night but we've done many activities! If you're going to stay at LookLeft Commune Beach Resort, here are activities you can do to make the most out of your trip:

1) Cook your heart out at the common kitchen area.

Yes, there is a common kitchen area inclusive of your accommodation fee, as well as a grill guests can use. This also includes kitchenware and dining utensils you can use.

The resort staff were also very helpful during our stay.

I don't know how to cook but my officemates did an awesome job of preparing our meals for our entire trip. Guess what I did?

Take their photos!

2) Enjoy the sea through various water activities


Our stay was during an off-peak season so we almost had the beach to ourselves. I think 70% of our stay was spent swimming.

Who wouldn't? Just look at how clear the sea water is!

Hi Kyle, Nez, and Lyle! 


The owners of LookLeft Commune Beach Resort, Jay and Marion, are members of AlonPinas. It is a skimboarding group that promotes the sport in the Philippines.

Guests can request for skimboarding lessons from them or from other members of AlonPinas during their stay.

We got lucky enough that Manoy, one of the top skimboarders in the country, was also staying at LookLeft that time so he was the one giving lessons to the guests.

And can I just say I find it really cool that you can actually get to skim board with the resort owners? I could say it's their love for the beach and water sports that fueled them to establish LookLeft Commune Beach Resort.

Jay in action!

Let me work on my beach body so I can have skimboarding photos like Marion's.. by next year :P

Island Hopping

You can also arrange boat ride schedules at the resort so they can arrange trips for your group. Last May, my officemates went to Anawangin but this time, we went to Capones (which I'll write about at my next post!)

3) Meet new friends

During our stay, I got the chance to chat with some AlonPinas members Marthen and Manoy. I think that wouldn't be possible if I was staying at a traditional beach resort where you don't really have the chance to mingle with the other people.


I know you can already sense by now that my stay at LookLeft Commune Beach Resort was pretty awesome and I would be coming back with different sets of friends! Many of them love the beach and will appreciate this other side of Zambales for sure.

I think you might have some questions like:
  • Why is it called Look Left? What's at the left side of the beach resort?
  • Are there any other activities that people can do there?
  • How do we get to Look Left when commuting?

I'll answer these questions through an article at When In Manila I'll be releasing in the next couple of days, so watch out for it.



Here is my post at WhenInManila.com: 

Also, my officemates went to LookLeft last April 23 - 24 and had an awesome experience as well!

How about you, have you been to Pundaquit, Zambales or have stayed at LookLeft Commune Beach Resort before?  How was the experience? Let me know through the comment section below!

LookLeft Beach Resort
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LookLeft.bythebeach
Instagram: @lookleft_bythebeach

Photo Credits: Nez Urbina, John Patrick Perez, Ian Olmedo, and Gina Palomares