Weather can be a bummer at times. Just when I brought my full snorkeling gears (which I rarely do these days) as I was ready and excited to commune with sea turtles at Apo Island but found out later we can’t cross the seas because of the weather. “So where are we going now?”, Adi and Jacq, our gracious host from GoHotels handed me a brochure for Lake Balanan while having dinner. Okay, this bone-shaped lake looks interesting with a few waterfalls, I thought but I still remained skeptical. So next day, we took a drive south of the island for the town of Siaton in Negros . While I still feel glum as the weather, I kept an open mind on what we’ll see.
It’s a shame it took us a delayed flight to visit this gem of a place. “Of all the places we’ve mapped in the coastal towns, Divilacan Isabela is the most beautiful and is our favourite!” said one of the NSO Mappers we met at the flight check-in counters in Maconacon. The working duo has been mapping Eastern Isabela for months already and are ready to go home. But the fickle status of our flights had other plans in mind. Our flight was cancelled and had to stay here for another day which is not unusual for this region. But wonders never cease as we met the cheerful Tourism officer of Divilacan, Natalie, who was also waiting for the flight. In no time she quickly whipped up an endorsement letter and then found ourselves riding a motorcycle to Divilacan.
The motorized long boat roared through the lake waters coming from the boat landing site. It seemed funny that I have the whole boat all to myself as I sit in the middle chair. Each chair has umbrellas for passengers to use. I only have 2 hours to spare on my tour around the Inle Lake but Monterey, my boatman and guide said it would be enough to explore the top portion of the lake. We will visit a couple of villages, tomato farms and a small factory where they make cheroot, a local cylindrical cigar.
“I think we missed our turn somewhere” I exclaimed. We were already going downwards on an unfamiliar paved road. It was cold but it’s getting darker under the fog laden surroundings going deep in the afternoon. I checked my map on my mobile phone and that small triangular shape with the label of Lake Danum was already behind us for some meters already. We tracked back and thought how the hell we got lost. I guess the paved road confused us or how the fog had hidden the view from our eyes. I’ve been here before but it seems I’m visiting it for the first time.
I was careful not to step into the water getting as close as possible to capture my subject. It was early morning and the light was perfect. The placid water only interrupted by the slow moving boat while a gentle mist lifts up on its surface. A boy, probably at least ten in age, sitting on the edge of the lake signature narrow boats was tending the nets. It’s a familiar scene on this part of the world known as Lake Sebu, yet a welcome and relaxing sight for a city dweller like me.
It was 3 years ago when I first stepped on the land of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. Oh I remember how our jeep from Koronadal struggled to climb the 300m elevation to Lake Sebu Market then taking a habal-habal to take us to our resort. It was a memorable journey as we met locals during the jeep ride who shared us some caramelized bananas for snack. The place exceeded my expectations and it’s only fitting that we hold our third Backpack Photography here in Lake Sebu and share the wonderful sight we ourselves came to appreciate.
There is another lake in Coron, Palawan aside from Kayangan Lake that is worthy a visit. With just a few minutes boat ride from Kayangan, you’ll soon find yourself at the entrance of Barracuda Lake. There is an entrance fee of 75 pesos per person to access the lake.