photos by Brenda Pacana Milan
Lake Sebu in South Cotabato Province is regarded as a miraculous body of water by the highland tribe of T’boli. Surrounded by verdant forests, it is also home to seven beautiful waterfalls.
It is believed that Lake Sebu’s waters never run dry while continuously giving boats-full of harvest of Tilapia.
Every November, the T’boli tribe showcases their arts, culture, sports and other tribal activities like the traditional horse fight through the Helubong Festival. Helubong is a T’boli word meaning never-ending joy.
Beadworks and baskets and other woven crafts made from the abaca handicraft known as T’nalak are displayed during the festival. One can even see the T’nalak cloth being woven and worn by the T’boli men and women as they gather for the festival.
Dancing to traditional music from the tribe’s musical instruments is a sight to behold and a delight to the ear.
Witnessing the Helubong Festival is one way of touching ground with our diverse culture and having a clearer picture of one’s identity.
NOTE: Photos were taken by Ms. Brenda Pacana Milan during the Helubong Festival 2010.