|Cattle and boats for hire line the lake shore|
After our brief sojourn in Batac City, we next proceeded to the Malacanang Ti Amianan (Malacanang of the North) in Paoay. Along the way, we made a brief stopover at the view deck of Paoay Lake National Park. This 470-hectare, horseshoe-shaped lake, the largest in the province, was declared as a National Park on June 21, 1969 by virtue of Republic Act No. 5631. Once known as Naguyudan, it is known to the locals as Dakkel a Danum and is a popular picnic site. The lake is artificially seeded with various species of colorful fish and is 10 m. deep, yet the surface is below sea level. Its fresh water comes from a subterranean source.
|Lakbay Norte 2 at Lake Paoay National Park|
According to a charming but Sodom and Gomorrah-like legend, it is said that a once-prosperous town, San Juan de Sahagun, once stood where the lake is now. The materialism of the town and the indolence of its people incurred God’s wrath, so he sent an earthquake and flood waters that swallowed up the town and formed the lake. Town elders will tell you that the original townsfolk, in gaudy fiesta finery, can still be seen as colorful, transformed fishes swimming around with earrings and bracelets. Geological studies indicate that the lake was formed by a massive earthquake that caused the ground to sink and be filled with water from underground springs.
|A barge used to cross the lake|
The lake is ideal for bird watching Common residents here include the endemic Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica), the White-Collared Kingfisher (Halcyon chloris), the White-Throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smymensis), the Brahminy Kite, cattle egret and little egret. Migratory birds that linger for a while here include the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), great egret and the osprey. Cottages (PhP50) can be rented at the viewing deck.