negros oriental | sibulan: lake kabalin-an's tranquility
Large trees in the middle of the lake? That would be interesting to see, I thought. Normally you'd see these in swamps, and I have not been to many swamps.
I was on my second day traveling around Negros Oriental. I just came from Manjuyod and was mulling where to go next while on a bus heading south. Waterfalls? Lakes? There's certainly many of those around here.Then I remembered those eerie photos I saw of the trees in the middle of the lake. A quick check on Google and I have my next destination: Sibulan. One good thing about traveling solo is that itineraries can be very flexible.
Rain was pouring when I alighted the bus in Sibulan. I headed straight to the market, that's always a good place to start with if you are new in town. I grabbed some hot bread from a nearby bakery and started to ask around for directions to the lake. Its amusing that sometimes the locals do not know the name of place in their own town (or they probably call it by another name). I had to show some pictures before someone exclaimed: "you'll find that near the Twin Lakes!". After some quick haggling with the habal-habal driver, we were on our way.
The road heading up the mountain was quite scenic. If it were not for the rain I probably would have stopped several times just to snap some photos. The road was decent too, portions were being paved. I read from some old blog entries how difficult it was before to get to the Twin Lakes (Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao and its surround areas are now part of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park).
The ride took more or less about 30 minutes. We stopped by a kiosk to register and when I looked around at the back of the kiosk, lo and behold: the trees! Lake Balinsasayao is about 100 meters further up on the same road but I was not interested in it. The trees in Lake Kabalin-an were what I came for.
The rain has waned to a drizzle, and there was an eerie silence, except for the occasional racket made by some of the locals fishing for tilapia. They would sit still by the shore or in their yellow dinghies for minutes that I would sometimes feel I was completely alone there. The illusion is of course broken once in a while with victory shouts and drunken mumbles.
I am not quite sure how the trees got there. Were they deliberately planted there? I should have asked but I did not. I was probably too enthralled that I did not care.
I later found out though that the trees were some species of willow, probably Indian willow (Salix tetrasperma). I stayed for a while before deciding to take a quick look at Lake Balinsasayao.
On the way down I gave the trees another quick glance. I could image how interesting it would be to see them in thick fog. Looks like I'll be coming back.
Enjoy the rest of my Kabalin-an photos: