We were supposed to visit other beaches in Libjo area but the weather wasn’t getting any better when we left Pangabangan island. Grey skies continued to darken as the afternoon gets deeper. The waters were starting to get wild too. So my boatman suggested to visit the inland attraction, Lake Bababu instead. Found in Basilisa, Lake Bababu is under the management of Bababu Ecotourism Adventure Park (BEAP). BEAP consist of officers from the LGU and the family of the original founder of the lake, Peter Langit.
Lake Bababu is an enigmatic lake. My boatman, Jerry (not his real name) swears on its power to grant wishes. He said visitors who made it to the lake after the hike can quietly make a wish and keep it to himself until it comes true. I asked if his wish was granted. He smile broadened with yellowish teeth showing. This boat was his wish but he worked hard to earn it too.
We arrived on a small cove they call the Babas Cove. A small beach strip with a few huts and information board, serves as the springboard for visiting the lake. Just a short walk by the beach is the resting place of Peter Langit. He discovered the lake after World War II. His grave can be found on a small beach and his family lives, manages and guides visitors. He was personally appointed the the region’s spiritual leader and “Divine Master”, Ruben Ecleo Sr. as the caretaker of the place. Ever since, his family line had been “guardians” of the lake.
The trail to the lake is at 700 meters long in slopes with a steep descent down to the body of water. It was moderately challenging so a sturdy footwear with good traction is a must as it can get slippery when wet. Guide ropes are on the trail so visitors won’t get lost. It doubles as a hand-held assist on the trail. On an easy pace, it would take 45 minutes to reach the lake.
I was accompanied by my guide, Ramon (not his real name) and his dogs. They were amusing companions on the trail as Ramon, narrate stories about the lake. Like the 650 meter long underwater cave that connects the fresh water of the lake to the salt water at sea. Lake Bababu is one of the few meromictic lakes (a combination of salt and freshwater) in the Philippines. And the cave is considered one of the longest underwater cave in the country.
Lake Bababu under a gloomy sky looks more enigmatic. The waters has a deep emerald green hue masking the its depths and tales it hides. Ramon, who is also a descendant of Peter Langit, narrates to me how some of the divers exploring the cave were led back to the lake despite heading to the direction of the sea. Other divers even saw some fascinating humanoid formations at the cave rock walls and other grotesque figures. Whatever creatures, visible or not lurks in the area, the locals know that they should respect the place or any unseen entities.
This made me hesitate to go far away from the rocky banks when I took a dip. I basked in the silence of nature. Just hearing a sounds of insects, birds and rustling branches from the gentle wind were already comforting. A few splashes on the water and the dogs playing about disrupts the natural serenity. I say my wish. Jerry said to keep it to myself until it comes true. How long will that be I wonder as we made our way back to Babas Cove Beach.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.