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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Dipping (sans Brooke Shields) in the Blue Lagoon of Datu Odin Sinsuat | Maguindanao

Despite expecting the blue lagoon to be concealed deep in the forest reachable by at least an hour or two of trekking, I still expected a good ole surprise. When I stepped out of our van and saw a few kids dripping wet, I simply figured they came frolicking from a nearby stream. Our guide Jeff told us “I reckon, these kids just swam at the lagoon”. I was already standing at the mouth of a wide trail on the elbow of the Shariff Aguak Road when I heard him. “You mean, the lagoon is just nearby?” Claire asked. Jeff’s reply sounded like music to my ears—as I was in no mood for a lengthy hiking activity that day— “just less than 200 meters ahead”.

Who would’ve thought that such wonder of nature—a miniature version of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River—would rest just a javelin stone’s throw away from a main road. True to it, after a few strides, the gleaming blue waters of the lagoon revealed itself and instantly arrested my attention. I surveyed its size measuring barely a third of a soccer field and the magical setting where it is situated. I love how the lagoon is surrounded by towering trees, and how it dots the azure-colored waters with yellow and green leaves. 

Suddenly from the corner of my eye, A body of a boy hurled from above, sliced through the water like a needle. I saw him slither underneath disappearing into the abyss for a few seconds before resurfacing with a facial expression brimming with delight.

The lagoon hypnotically appear bottomless, especially if you stare at the sunken tree disappearing into the deep blue gorge. Watching a group of teens took turns diving into the fresh water gave me confidence to take a leap myself. 

I took a couple more jumps before deciding to just rest at the edge of a protruding body of a tree and marvel in silence. We later learned that the locals often go here not only to swim, but also to source their drinking water and wash their clothes.   

As I changed to dry clothes, I took one last look at the surrounding of the blue lagoon. It’s a beautiful place all right—just the kind of spot I could escape the real world from, for like a week picturing myself with a young Brooke Shields. I imagine the number of skinny dipping happening to hours and hours each day. As my quickie daydreaming ended, I imagined the many other wondrous set of nature that remain hidden in the vast countryside of Maguindanao. I bet, there’s a lot more to explore and discover.

Datu Odin is two hours away Buluan, Maguindanao where we covered this year’s Inaul Festival


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