Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tayo nAPO sa Lake Apo!

There's Mt. Apo, APO Hiking Society and yes, there's also a Lake Apo. This is the story of our trip there.

We woke up to a rainy morning but since we were eager to take the trip, not even the rain could dampen our spirits. Off we went to Davao City and to Bukidnon. True enough, the skies cleared. We were meant to go to Lake Apo that day after all.

Lake Apo is 209.3 km. from Tagum City (or approx. 3 hrs, 1 min.) via the Pan-Philippine Highway and 128.7 km. (1 hr., 51 mins.) from Davao City via the same highway. From Cagayan de Oro City, it is 142 km. via Sayre Highway or 1 hr., 58 mins. travel.

From Davao City, we passed through the town of Quezon and off to the town of Maramag. Although Lake Apo is part of Valencia City, we took the road going to it from Maramag. That town is the home of Central State University.

How to go to Lake Apo from the Highway.

Upon reaching this junction, there's a sign on the right for directions. Turn left to Kisanday. There are stalls along the road and motorcycles (habal-habal) to take passengers anywhere.

These are the views along the way. The road is paved for around 3 kilometers. Take note of that mountain in the middle picture. Lake Apo is somewhere there.

Upon reaching another junction, turn right to a dirt road. Landmark for that is the Kisanday Elementary School. Just keep on driving but you can also ask locals for directions if you want to be sure where you're going.

The road which goes up is unpaved but well-maintained. It is flanked by corn fields and sugar cane fields for the distance of around 2 kilometers.

When you reach a place with a covered court on your right, turn left. There's a sign that points to Lake Apo.

Take note of the sign, "This way to Lake Apo."

Upon reaching Lake Apo.

The area has a spacious parking space. Lake Apo is on the right of the photo.

The entrance to Lake Apo can be reached through the stairs.

The stairs as viewed from below.

These are the scenes one can see right away as soon as one steps down from those stairs.

Visitors need to register for the barangay and the Tourism Office.

"Lake Apo is a crater lake in Barangay Guinoyoran in the City of Valencia in Bukidnon province in the southern Philippines. It is located in a hilly area about 640 metres in elevation, about 11 kilometres WSW of the city poblacion. Lake Apo was awarded the cleanest inland body of water in Northern Mindanao Region (Region X) in the late 1990s. The green body of water has an estimated area of 24 hectares (59 acres) with maximum depths reaching up to 26 m (85 ft)." Wikipedia

This is the area on the left side of the stairs. We went farther left.

Cottage rafts like this are rented out by the Barangay Development Council and the Tourism Council. Price is affordable. We rented ours for only P230.00 for 3 hours.

"The name of the lake come from the Filipino term "apo," meaning elder or grandparent. According to legend, there was a man living in the mountains who assaulted his granddaughter and was punished by the mountain deities for his disrespectful act by flooding the area forming the Lake Apo." Wikipedia

From the shore, the cottage rafts are taken into the middle of the lake.

Is this our cottage raft?

Yes, according to Jundrie. He helped us get aboard and left us on our own. We brought our own food since there was no store or restaurant around.

C'mon, Kids, PULL!!! The passengers need to pull the rope to get to the middle of the lake.

Good job pulling, kiddos. We got into the middle of the lake alright! See those other cottage rafts? That was where we came from.

Things that can be done in the middle of the lake.

Hey, thinking of what to do?

What does one do with water? Swim, of course! Just make sure you can swim because the average depth of the lake is 17 meters. It would be best to put on a life vest or bring floaters. Brace yourselves for the cool but refreshing waters!

Be careful when stepping into the raft. I caught my leg here due to a misstep.

Over on the other side of the lake is the Timeless Place Resort owned by Dr. Almer Alfonso, Sr., a retired surgeon from Valencia City. One needs advanced booking to stay there. Since we didn't plan on staying overnight, we didn't bother to ask for details. (Mea culpa!)

A closer look of the resort. It can be reached also via those cottage rafts.

There are kayaks and jet skis for rent there.

The lake is surrounded by lush vegetation.

The waters are clean and clear.

The hills are alive in this part of the world.

The skies seem bluer and so are the waters of the lake.

There's so much serenity and beauty in Lake Apo.

So, if you're a nature lover and you would want to visit a place which is not so crowded, then this is it. Bring along your family and friends; the more the merrier! Just remember to keep the place clean.

Views on the way down from Lake Apo back to Maramag. Lake Pulangi can be seen from this area.

Looking for a place to go to for the long holidays or for your summer adventure? Try Lake Apo! It's worth the long trip!


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