Just when I was starting to smell the fresh air emanating from Lake Balanan the van we were riding abruptly stopped. Engine off and all I can hear was the swooshing sound. We all got off and stared ahead at the part of the road which was overran by the rushing waters. All hopes of seeing Lake Balanan momentarily went to dust that moment. Should we walk over this rampaging currents and risk getting swept away to the ditch on the other side? Fortunately a kid who saw our predicament pointed to us to a trail beside the road leading to Lake Balanan.
A short 5-minute trek over a forested trail led us to this scenic lake, where you feel like a curtain dropped and exposes a world to another dimension. It is covered by century old trees and a lush greenery inhabited by chirping birds I don't recognize and a number of bees and insects, which would make a macro photographer achieve instant orgasm. A large calm water foregrounding a rolling hills, totally opposite of the ones that roadblocked us, greeted us as we alight out of the short forested trail.
I saw a few kids doing old-school fishing by the lake. One has collected bunch of tilapia fish, rounded up lifeless hanging on his stick. The sky was overcast and a patch of dark clouds hovers over the nearby hills. A lone tree house protrudes from a bunch of tree branches about 30 feet high. I found out later that it can be rented as sort of a honeymoon suite for visitors.
Silent water runs deep indeed and I've known a few people who can free-swim in the open sea but won't do so on lakes. They reason out the visibility in lake waters is about zero and the thought of some previously undiscovered creature lurking underneath wondering if your legs is worth it's meal for the day or not, buzzes at the back of their head.
Lake Balanan is located in Siaton, Negros Oriental, and it used to have a large settlement until the local government relocated the others to a nearby community. The few who remained were tasked to maintain the lake by serving as tourist guides and comprises the tourism hospitality staff. It is another good model of an eco-tourism and local-empowerment at the same time.
We had lunch overlooking Lake Balanan as the sky spills us with a heavy downpour. The rain lasted as long as I burped my last over a delightful filling serving of food. In the aftermath of our small feast, I took another walk along the cemented path by the lake. I heard the birds sounding off as they flew in freedom, I saw ripples forming in the lake brought upon by a few flipping fishes and the green leaves of the trees shines as each drop of rain-water falls underneath. Then soon, the dark clouds which kept the tip of the rolling hills hidden earlier, cleared out exposing a wonderful background to the scenic lake.
It was a great way to start the afternoon. How we went around a small roadblock and found ourselves a bit of this world's version of paradise. And yes, silent water does runs deep and beautiful.
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