Lake Danao: The Lake Now

There’s fascinating warmth from the people, then there’s freezing cold lake water. There’s affordable and appetizing food, then there’s rich and exciting experiences. A stay in Lake Danao is a complete opposite of the tense urban life.

It was 17th of May when we departed for Lake Danao. The multicab we rode was drifting fast like a roller coaster that even the strollers could overtake. The old vehicle was coughing sick and can hardly escalate as the road began to be steep. Few meters away from the national highway, the engine died. Fortunately, a healthier multicab passed by and let us all in. The travel continues…

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The weather was perfect when we arrived. We diverted to the other side of the lake, the one developed by AGYLA, rather than on the usually crowded drop-off point of Lake Danao. There are two land cottages and two floating cottages that can transport across the lake. Thanks to Brgy. Councilor Richard Impas, our fellow, for the free accommodation.

We conducted our team building and had few hours left before lunchtime. I’m with a group of youth leaders so I entrusted them the food preparation. There is a little store and a dirty kitchen near the cottage. With the pots and utensils lent to us by the caretakers, lunch was served and savored.

The “kids” were excited with the games after lunch but were even more excited when I declared “swimming time”! It was around 2PM when we plunged into the greenish water that is gently cold and inviting. As the clouds covered the sunlight, the wind sent us shivering.

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We rented a “banca” for P150. It was quite big to accommodate all 9 of us but we are not really all aboard as some preferred to swim along with it. Had a few attempts to maneuver it towards the other end of the lake, but ended up going round and round just few meters away from berthing ground. No one from us, new generation people, knows the right way to paddle and steer. LOL

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Swimming hungered us. Good thing Maverick has a degree in civil engineering major in culinary arts, he prepared for us a satisfying meal with a healthy structural design. Nah, it’s not really as sumptuous as you think, we only had dried fish and vegetable, but it was different from the accustomed unhealthy dishes in the city, hence, satisfying. The vegetable by the way was too much, so we (unintentionally) gave the other half to the dogs. 😀

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Speaking of dogs, there are noticeable dogs roaming around. There are three of them, all white and fluffy. They keep on chasing their masters. In fact, one of the dogs swam and followed his master when he went fishing in the lake. Awwee.

Then the darkness surrounds us, the cold wind swishing.

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We informed the caretakers of our desire of putting up a bonfire, so they accompanied us boys collecting for woods. With only the flashlights from our phone lighting our way, we looked for woods. Remember the dogs I introduced a while ago? One of them is with us because his master is one of our company. The man’s best friend is running ahead of us as if leading the way, and turn backs on us as if saying “Area clear! Move! Move!”. I remember the movie Max, a great story about the loyalty of dogs to their masters.

So there we were around the bonfire. We don’t have marshmallows to grill in the fire like that in the movies, all we have shared are overly-emotional stories from each other. I’m starting to feel heat in my body. I’m not sure if it’s from the fire or the shots of “tuba” (coconut wine) we bought from the locals.

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It was around 9PM when the woods were all burned down and the fire gradually fade out. After a long day, of course we all have the same thing in mind: sleep.

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It took me quite a while to decide where to put-up my tent considering the ground (should be grassy) and the distance from the cottage. I originally installed it along the road where we had the bonfire but when it started to rain, we ended up placing the tent inside our cottage. HAHA

The tent, as advertised, is good for 8 persons. But since some of us are “healthy”, the other two -Maverick and Jet- had to sleep outside the tent but inside the cottage. 3 of the caretakers will be staying in the nearby store to “keep us safe” overnight as we have agreed earlier.

The night is solemn, we can hear each other very well. But when one by one started to doze off, I felt like I’m in a library. So silent I can hear my heartbeats (for her). There are no mosquitos to bite us, instead, the coldness of the night. Hugs anyone?

When I went out to pee, I realized that everyone is really asleep including the caretakers who are supposed to watch over us. I have a hard time sleeping for so many reasons. It’s sardines-tight I can’t stretch out and I can’t sleep with the lights on.

It was completely silent when suddenly a weird sound surprised me. It was not scary, but it was smelly. Mr. President might be having a bad stomach so we understand. Too bad he had to release the demon inside the tent where we are in, so everyone woke up to regain fresh air, then goes back to sleep.

The guys woke up in the dawn feeling uncomfortable with their tummy. They fetched water from the lake and did the ceremony in the lone comfort room around. I think it’s the coldness that we are not used to that made them felt that way.

It was a beautiful Wednesday morning for us when we continued the team building activities. After which, we played a childhood game called “Bahaw-bahaw”. Because I ran to the top of my lungs like a cat chasing a rat, my team won. Sorry guys, better luck next time. 😛

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After declaring the winning team in the team building, we were so excited to swim again in the cold lake-water. No more banca this time, instead, a rope. It was around 12 noon but the heat of the sunlight is overpowered by the coldness of the water.

We rinsed up in the “pasong” in the highway few meters away. The fresh spring water was freezing cold doubling the sub-zero temperature of the lake-water. How I wish we have this in the city. It reduces stress levels.

I felt a little sense of fulfillment when I suddenly noticed that I’ve been offline since the other day. The data signal in the area is weak, restricting us from connecting to the online world. In my always-online lifestyle, being offline for almost two days is a news. It’s because the place and the experiences worth more than the happenings online.

So it’s time to leave (because walang forever). After paying our dues, we thanked Kuyas and Ates for being so generous and for accommodating us. The last trip to the city would be on 3PM, we were told. It’s already 3PM so God bless our luck. HAHA

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Fortunately, we arrived at the highway before the last trip passed by. A relief was felt when we finally hopped in to the last multicab of the day. However, the relief was overtaken with worry as I see the familiar driver and the dextrose of the vehicle. It was the same sickly multicab we got in going there. HA HA HA.

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After few laughter, we noticed the multicab has quite recovered its health and can already possibly transport us to city. What goes up must come down, they say. I say, what goes around, comes around. We parted separate ways. It’s time to recall the duties left behind, but there’s no time to forget the awesome experiences left behind around the lake — the Lake Danao.

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