Lovelier the Second Time Around

I paid a visit to the twin lakes again. The trip was not on our itinerary but the governor suggested that I take our media friends on a tour of the lakes. I was more than willing to do so. No time is wasted in seeing the twin lakes of Sibulan.

We left the hotel at around 6a.m. for an early morning trip to Sibulan, an hour’s drive from Dumaguete. We traveled mostly on a dirt road, though portions of it are already paved by the local government. Upon reaching the end of the road, we found ourselves on top of Mount Talinis, and a few feet from the road is Lake Balinsasayao. It was 7a.m., and the morning mist still canopied over the mountains.

We descended onto the basin of the lake, where we saw a kid fishing on shallow water. As we approached him, we discovered that there were already three tilapias in his basket. I simply had to take his picture. The simplicity I saw in the scene was one of the most beautiful I have ever encountered.

Royal blue bancas line one side of the lake, ready to take its passengers on a memorable and meaningful exploration. The area is largely undeveloped. There is but a small cottage up the slope and the surrounding forests are untouched. It is a real paradise for nature lovers like me.

This was our banca, facing towards the ridge that separated Balinsasayao from its twin, Danao. The great lake was beckoning us to come and start our morning exercise of paddling and mountain-climbing.

I took a picture of my companions while we were on a banca, paddling our way to the other side of the lake. The serenity of the place also set us in a rather reflective mood. We quietly paddled our boat while listening to the symphony of birds and crickets on the woods on top of the mountain slopes and beholding the panoramic view of the mist-covered mountain.

Upon reaching the other side of the lake, we climbed the ridge that led to Danao lake. During my first trip here, the path to Danao was a muddy trek up the mountain then down to the lake’s basin. This time, I noticed that the local government had already placed stepping stones that made the climb easier. Upon reaching the pinnacle, I took this picture of Danao lake from the top of the ridge. I still wanted to go down and complete the quest but my companions were less adventurous today and opted to go back to our banca.

I may not have completed the trek this time around, but my second trip to the lakes may be described as less adventurous yet more meaningful. The place was lovelier the second time around. It is now that I have come to appreciate the stillness of the lakes, and can say I have experienced what King David said in Psalm 23. He leads me beside quiet waters.

Story and photos by Vanessa Velasco from her blog