Mount Parker, locally known as Mount Melibingoy, is a volcano located in South Cotabato. The hike consists of thick forests, beautiful lakes and local communities. The environment is teeming with different types of flora and fauna. Keep a look out for the wildlife that live in the area. Furthermore, Lake Holon is the highlight of this trip. The craggy, green peaks of the crater surround the beautiful body of water. It creates a secluded spot that is enough to take your breath away. The water is pure and clean
Hikers will also encounter the native T’boli tribe in the mountains. Mount Melibingoy is a sacred place for these locals with their history and culture deeply embedded in the place. Their eerie stories are all the more interesting and definitely worth the goose bumps. Mount Parker got its English name from an American pilot who crash-landed in the mountain. It was named in honor of General Frank Parker who died together with his co-pilot. There are many mysterious stories surrounding the origin of the name. Some locals even claim that the bodies were never found.
As for Lake Holon, another curious story lives behind it. It is said that a long, long time age, a witch once lured a group of people to this very place. She claimed that the world was ending and the lake served as a portal to heaven. These people followed her words and jumped into the waters. They were never found afterwards. It is said that they still haunt the mountains up to this day. These stories give Mount Parker a somewhat mystical sensation. If an opportunity arises, be sure to ask a local for a quick story time to get to know the mountain more!
Elevation: 1,400 m above sea level
Mount Parker is one hike you surely do not want to miss! Make necessary research before you start your journey. Look for updated information regarding the situation of the area, especially the accessibility of Lake Holon. Regardless, all will be worth it once you finish your trip. Being immersed in the natural environment is an experience of a lifetime. Also, the magnificence of Lake Holon cannot be justified by a few description words. You really have to see it for yourself to believe the beauty of it!
Days needed to complete hike: 1 day
Average hike duration to reach lake (From jump-off point): 2 to 3 hours
Major jump-off point: Barangay Salacafe, T’boli, South Cotabato
Start your trek and tackle the wide paths from the jump-off point. Enjoy the serene walk as it goes for a few hours. Hikers will eventually enter the thick forest. One gets to enjoy the natural environment as they climb through mossy rocks and go through fallen logs. Tall trees and overgrown plants cover this part of the trail, creating a cool shade overhead. Continue of the path until you reach the highest point of Mount Parker. Don’t stop there! The view you’re waiting for is just a few steps away.
Proceed to descend down to Lake Holon. Savor the wonderful view of the water as it reflects the vast sky above it. Hikers will definitely feel at one with nature and gladly forget about civilization as they take in this view. Those who are gutsy enough to brave the freezing waters can go for a quick dip. There are also canoes available. Paddle with the natives who frequent the area themselves. Don’t forget the stories though! Stray too far and the portal just might swallow you up. Spend a few hours or camp overnight there before you start your trek back.
It’s important to plan your trip in advance to make sure you know exactly what to do and where to go on the day itself. Here are some ways to get to your destination:
Mount Parker is located in SOCCSARGEN region in Mindanao. There are several ways to get to the jump-off point of this hike. Manila hikers may book a flight to get to either General Santos or Davao City whichever is more convenient.
From General Santos City, ride a bus bound for either Marbel or Koronadal. Get off once you reach Marbel and proceed to take a van straight to T’boli Town Proper. Once you get there, drop by the municipal hall to register your hike. After, hire a motorcycle, or a habal-habal, to bring you to Barangay Salacafe. This is where the guides and porters are waiting. Proceed to the jump-off point once you are ready to begin your journey.
If you are starting from Davao City, proceed to the Ecoland Terminal and ride a bus headed to General Santos City. Transfer to another bus bound for Marbel or Koronadal. Or if possible, from Davao, ride one bound directly for Marbel or Koronadal. Once you reach Marbel, follow the same steps as the one above.
Alternatively, you may alight at Koronadal instead of Marbel. Ride a van or a bus headed to Surallah. From there, take another van to T’boli town proper and follow the same steps above to the jump-off point.