BUKIDNON ATTRACTIONS: Lake Apo—An oasis in the city

BUKIDNON ATTRACTIONS:

Lake Apo—An oasis in the city (By Ruby Leonora R. Balistoy)

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/17 January) Surrounded with lush greenery, myrtles, huge ferns and wildflowers, the mirror-like Lake Apo is one perfect place to go when the hassles of everyday life start to swarm.

The lake’s pristine waters allow you to relax and be alone in an ambiance of natural beauty and serenity. The lakeside towering trees beckon outdoor buffs to trek and rest.

Perched on a mountain floor in Barangay Guinoyoran, about 12 kilometers west of Valencia City, Lake Apo has been a legendary place of privacy and peace.

This 18-hectare lake atop a mountain deck has a depth ranging from 17 to 26 meters.

Dr. Almer Alfonso, a Valencia city councilor, owns a scenic private vacation house along the lake’s shoreline. He said Lake Apo is ideal for retreat and reflection as it offers cool and peaceful space for renewing strength of mind and body.

He added that for close to 10 years, he could rarely see sightseers in the lake. Maybe, it is due to the unpaved and rough road to the lake.

Facilities and amenities

It is accessible through a motorcycle-for-hire or a public utility vehicle at a reasonable price. As you get to the place, you don’t have to pay anything–such as entrance fees –except for a parking fee of five (5) pesos for motorcycle and P10 for a car.

If you want to cruise the lake, large bamboo raft cottages are available for rent at P200. Its proceeds serve as livelihood and additional source of income of the friendly lakeside dwellers and neighborhood.

The raft cottages are anchored from one end of the lake to the other.  It can be moved by pulling it to where you want to have a picnic. A number of floating cottages are also available for rent.

Alfonso said their facilities include kayak, canoe, pedal boat and Jet Ski. But he said it is still for private use.

“Demand-driven, however, with the objective of preserving the lake and mountain heritage, I am planning to build classroom size conference hall, coffee shop and cottages for rent–which conform to the international housekeeping standards– as well as renting out water fun facilities very soon, such as Jet Ski, pedal boat, kayak, canoe, banana boat and water trampoline,” he added.

Alfonso said the lake’s capacity is 15 persons at a given time so visitors could really maximize the pleasure and fun while in Lake Apo.

“Therefore, no mess and overcrowding,” he said.

The legend

Folklore tells that an elderly man living in the mountain committed earthly sin. He was punished by the mountain deities for his disrespectful act by flooding the area–forming the Lake Apo.  The name of the lake comes from the Filipino term “Apo,” which means elder or grandparent.

Geologists, however, said the circular-shaped rift lake was formed due to the movement of the earth’s crust.

Clean and calm waters

The water coming from the springs near Lake Apo and from the middle portion of the lake is potable, according to a study on Lake Apo. It was graded Class AA that requires only disinfection treatment. Class A water requires complete treatment to meet National Standards for Drinking Water, while Class B water is for recreational purposes only.

Research results show that Lake Apo waters were clean. But since it was ranked as an oligotrophic lake, which means “with little plant life but rich in dissolved oxygen,” only few species of fish flourish. Hence the lake is best for bathing, swimming and other recreational activities.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in region 10, identified Lake Apo as one of the eco-tourism destinations in Northern Mindanao.

“I think it can help boost tourism in the city, which is also in line with the government’s call for more public-private partnership (PPP) program,” Dr. Alfonso said.

(Ruby Leonora R. Balistoy is information center manager of PIA Bukidnon. This article was first published in the agency’s One Mindanao e-news magazine.)

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