Lizada: Lake Sebu and other surprises

WE HAVE been going to Marbel once a month for over a year now because of work. But we had never been to Lake Sebu. We had always wanted to go, so in our most recent trip we decided, once and for all, we would visit the lake.

So one early Sunday morning, we climbed into the car and headed for Marbel. Early morning drives are such a joy. We had the mandatory Sotanghon at Mers and the sweet yellow corn of Tupi. We arrived at Marbel past nine and our hosts were waiting. After a quick trip to the restroom, we were off to Lake Sebu. Finally. After a year and a half.

I was pleasantly surprised with our road trip to Lake Sebu. If you are familiar with the place, you start up a hill and then the land majestically spreads before you. I was literally in awe because of the contour. I kept telling Chona, this is nice, this is really nice. It was about to get better.

When we got to Surallah, I was really amazed. This looked like a wonderful place. It was quiet, no traffic, shaded lanes, no traffic, breezy, no traffic and no traffic. This looked like a nice place to retire, I thought. One of these days I will explore the place.

As we drove on, the scenery changed from good to wonderful. I have always liked driving, and driving the Allah Valley was sheer fun. The roads were paved so well, no traffic, trees and more trees, mountains on each side, the cool breeze. Houses dotted the scenery. A solitary carabao in the distance. Children playing. A horse. All these were enhanced with the music of Jo Stafford and the like. I was really having a wonderful time.

When we got to the Lake Sebu area our first stop was the Divine Grace Shrine/Garden. The initial ascent was cemented but as we got closer, the cemented road disappeared. In short, it was a rough road in the final 800 meters (I wonder why that is so, even the Padre Pio Shrine here in Davao has rough roads).

The Divine Mercy is located at the top of a hill and it was cool. There was a mandatory orientation for all. Women were supposed to wear skirts and if you had none, they provided them. Rosaries were free. The statue of the Divine Mercy was on top of a flight of stairs that seemed so high. So Chona and I took several deep breaths and started the climb. After about several pit stops we got to the top.

We had bought candles and we lit them at the foot of the statue. There was a great view of the place and we had the pictures taken but we cannot post them on Facebook because of the anguished facial expressions due to the climb.

There was a chapel a few steps up and there were a lot of people praying the chaplet of the Divine Mercy. After a few moments of silence, it was time to go to have lunch. And I cringed at the thought of going down the same rough road but there was no choice. Luckily, the trip down seemed shorter.

We took a shortcut to the town of Lake Sebu. Again, more rough roads. But we got there. The place seemed to be so distant, so far from the city and I liked it. Lake Sebu actually reminded me of Arishiyama in Japan. But we were hungry and so we went off to lunch at the shores of Lake Sebu.

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