KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato,  Mar. 10 (PIA) --  After a two-month hiatus, popular eco-adventure tourism destination Lake  Holon   in Tboli, South Cotabato  reopens Friday, March 10.

Rodel Hilado,  tourism  officer of Tboli LGU, told  Philippine  Information Agency that 250 individuals are  joining the  Pilgrimage to Holon Season 3 dubbed  as "The Great  #Hugot Trek" on March  10-12, which also signals  the  reopening of  Lake  Holon to  adventure seekers.

"Why  #Hugot Trek?  Last  year  65% of the over 48,000  who visited Holon were 'hugot people,'  millennials  who when asked for their  reasons for climbing  Holon replied,  'to move on, 'dahil sa  Holon  may  forever,'  'si Holon lang ang  naghihintay sa  akin'  and similar  'hugots'," Hilado  explained.

As in the previous pilgrimages,  trekkers  will  take  either  the Sitio Nabol  trail  or the  Kule Trail. Of the two  trails,  Kule  is more challenging but is popular because the deck  along its route offers a panoramic  view of the Lake Holon.  Reservations for Kule trail  were filled three days after the registration, Hilado said.

"Along the  trail, climbers  will compete  with each other  on best hugot lines that they will write on  freedom walls  installed  in pre-determined stations based on the 15 guardians of the lake,"  he said.

This  year  at least  six celebrities  will be  joining  the  pilgrimage, Hilado  said but refused to  disclose their  identities. He, however, pointed out  that  like the other  pilgrims, these  VIPs  will randomly be distributed to  groups   such as  Team Sawi,  Team Move On,  Team  Pag-ibig and other  hugot teams. 

At the campsite  on Saturday evening,  trekkers  will be treated to a tribal entertainment of dances, music, chants as well as  Tboli short stories by cultural  masters.

Meanwhile,  PCInsp. Ramil Villagracia, chief the Tboli PNP assured the security for the  pilgrims  saying at least  62 members of the Barangay  Peacekeeping  Action Teams  have been  trained  to  augment the police force deployed to Lake  Holon and along the trails.

These  besides the   emergency and  first aid  personnel  positioned in strategic  positions, Hilado added.  

Holon  was  closed to  visitors  on January 6 in accordance with  the local government's  annual program to  allow the lake and its  environment  "to  rest"  and  conduct  activities  intended to  rehabilitate the  area and  improve  its facilities.

"While Lake  Holon  was  closed  the  Municipal  Tourism Office  conducted  activities  to  upgrade the capability of the  frontline  service  providers," Hilado  said.

At  present,  Tboli has  more than 1.400  service  providers including motorcycle  drivers,  guides, porters, cooks and others. 

Because  motorcycle  drivers  play major role in the  transportation of  visitors to Lake Holon and  other tourism destinations in  Tboli, the  Municipal  Tourism Office  required all  motorcycle drivers, locally  referred to  as  "habal-habal  drivers" to  attend  a  course on  safety  driving, guest handling, first aid and personal  hygiene.

"As  a new rule,  motorcycles-for-hire are only allowed to carry two passengers.'  Hilado  said. "Also, it’s only in Tboli that  motorcycle drivers  issue  receipt  to  passengers they convey  to our tourism  destinations."

Besides  Lake Holon,  Tboli is also  known for its  other  popular destinations  such as  the Bakngeb  Cave that offers a 3-kilometer  water  rafting,  Hidak  Falls  which is being  developed into  an exclusive  rainforest  resort, and Lamhaku  hot spring, to name  a few.

It has  also  put in place a  homestay program  that offers an experience with the rich Tboli culture, traditions and  cuisine.

Tboli is  one  of the Top 10 Green Destinations  in the World in 2016. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12)