if you thought that it was only the villages of Pampanga that was hardly hit by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991. it's time that we look at the other side of the Tri-Cabusilan mountain range, a village submerged with only the cross tower of a church visible from the new formed lake.
along with two of my favorite Pinay travel bloggers Chyng and Ga-el, we hopped on a bus to Zambales early morning to explore a lake spawned out of eruption and continuous heavy rains. beside the San Marcelino market was the jeepney terminal for the barangay of Aglao, the lake's jump off point."we stayed, even when the earth was shaking hard" says one local who was on top of the jeepney with us describing his experience of the eruption which happened 20years back. as i was talking to him, i can't help but take shots of the expansive lahar channel which we were cruising beside for most of the first half of the trip.when the jeep started to ascend the mountain range, road was already partly paved but the zigzag made the jeepney move slower. one of the locals asked where we will be staying for the night, we wondered as we were planning to take the last jeepney back on the same day. unknowingly that no jeepneys will be returning back to San Marcelino on a Sunday afternoon.but with the view of the lake from there, we proceeded believing we will find a ride back with our fingers crossed. jeepney dropped us on a road that led us down to the lake. the place was under broad day light at about 12:00nn but the silence and the serenity of the place made me feel like it was 12:00midnight.after some time, we found a boat man who to bring us to the submerged village which was far East of our location. the lake was big that it can actually cover a large town. with almost nothing left out of the village except for the church cross tower, who would have known that below the lake's water are houses.
when we reached the cross, we had the boat docked on it and walk our way on the lowest remaining portion of the tower. there was almost nothing to see underwater even at daylight. the idea of exploring the lake from that point by snorkeling didn't sound like a good idea. the other side of the lake was a flat area with pine trees growing and an enclosed area for carabao's can be found. it gave us another perspective of the lake, which was also our last stop. that reminded us that we need to get back to the nearest village to check for the best option to bring us back to San Marcelino.it was already pass 2:00pm and we haven't had our lunch yet except for what was left of the chicharon that we've munched while on our way to Aglao. good enough that we met Ate Allen who has a mini store and agreed to cook rice, some canned meal and ready-to-cook noodles. we for the meantime, played Bingo along with the locals. playing to about 6 rounds with nine cards on each game didn't even made me win.
after that late lunch, Ate Allen suggested that we meet the town chief who might be able to help us get a ride back. walked our way uphill passing by houses built on tilted ground. at a covered court, we met the town chief who was welding on a Sunday. it was a surprise to see a town chief doing this kind of task. "it is better to do this as it is expensive to pay someone else to do it. it is was my previous job anyway" he says when i asked why he was doing it.
we were blessed enough that there was a contractor with a jeep, who agreed to bring us along through the help of the town chief, back to town on that afternoon. the original village of Aglao was not the submerged village but it was in the area down along the lahar channel which was completely covered and washed out according to the town chief.
but what surprised me the most was when we learned that this lake was simply known to be as "Ang Lawa" and it was only some foreigners who visited the site that gave the name Lake Mapanuepe. simply the reason why most of the locals seemed not to be familiar to Lake Mapanuepe but more on the lake with a cross. "it was a different experience to sail on a lake with a semi-clear vision of a submerged village. And never leave the without setting foot in the sunken church. you'll feel the creep and its mystery" Chyng shown on photo above.
Chyng's take on our trip to "Lake Mapanuepe - Sailed Through a Submerged Village"Ga-el's take on lake mapanuepe "Tale of the Lost Village"
thanks to Chyng and Ga-el (shown in photo above) for joining me on this trip. to the whole community of Aglao, Ate Allen and daughter Jam (for the hospitality) and the town chief sir Mario Tagapuen for assisting us on the transportation back. photo below was taken by Chyng.
this is eskapo's contribution to Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival this month on "Dark Tourism" as hosted by Ga-el of The Pinay Solo Backapacker.
how to get there:
option 1: take a bus bound for Iba Zambales (recommended: Victory Liner), tell the bus inspector to drop you off at San Marcelino market. (estimated time: 3hours)
option 2: take a bus bound for Olongapo (recommended: Victory Liner), then take another bus from the same terminal in Olangopa to Iba Zambales. tell the bus inspector to drop you off at San Marcelino market. (estimated time: 3hours)
from San Marcelino market, look for the jeepney going to Aglao. tell the jeepney driver to drop you at the jump-off point of the lake. (estimated time is 45minutes)
closest gateway: San Marcelino via Subic/Olongapo
mountain view: 4.5
lake view: 4.0
boat ride: 3.5
overall escape factor: 4.0
14^ 58" 52' N
120^ 17" 43' E
this is on my bucket list. sana matupad.
grabe no? creepy factor talaga. thinking na maganda yung place pero panu nung time ng eruption?I think ito yung spot na nakita ko sa plane nung pabalik us ng Manila. sa likod ng Pinatubo.
DOm---interesado ako pumunta dito kaso bat ganun, nalito ako sa data sa baba
closest gateway: Tuguegarao, Cagayan or Ilagan, Isabela
Diba zambales? San Marcelino--that's before San Antonio ayt? regular ba ang mga byahe ng dyip? kanu pamasahe? parang nag arkila na kayo pabalik?
dong, astig talaga ng mga pinupuntahan mo..mga never heard of. im more than impressed!
this is unknown to me... sana mapuntahan ko din yan... thank you for sharing this...
ang ganda nung lake...especially dun sa may cross area...napakadramatic yung scene para sakin..
.. i imagine seeing the village below will be a lot creepier.
pano tayong mananalo eh nag-imbento sila ng own rules nila sa BINGO! hahaha!
it's a pleasure Dom to finally travel with you. jusko, last year pa since we started planning for this tandem trip. haha but I really enjoyed our kwentuhan and harutan.
I can finally say: nameet na kita. =)
kelan part 2? and 3? ^_^
Your post today is very interesting and sad that a village was destroyed. Thanks for sharing with us your interesting journey.
The first time I've heard of this lake. The cross standing there speaks a lot about overcoming the eruption. I think that there'a a lot of unexplored spots in Zambales.
never heard of this lake, Lake Mapanuepe. ang clear ng mga shots mo ever and now me model ka na, me travel buddy ka pa. looks like you enjoyed the trip a lot! nagalugad mo na kasulok sulukan ng 'Pinas, kakabilib ka Eskapo!
wow, you did travel with chyng and gael, nice! haven't met gael yet pero nakilala na sya ng 1 sa mga barkada ko. gael just commented on my post that she'll be in KL by april; sana daan sya penang...
sama ka, dom? sana weekend para la ako pasok..
anyway, what do i like most from the photos above -syempre yung may bangka...
Who would have thought that that place was devastated by volcano eruption more than a decade ago... Ngayon ang ganda na!
Never heard of this lake till now. Thanks!
ang ganda naman dito!
i remember seeing this lake featured in a TV show. this was like a basin? or a crater lake? amazing. sana makakarating din ako dito.:p
Very interesting post, great landscapes. The idea of the submerged village is sad, that tower with the cross in the lake is really striking.
sa cross po cguro lumubog siya ano..meron din kami niyan dito sa Bangui Ilocos.mganda siya.
Looks like you are all getting very shy...all the portrait pictures are taken from the back... :-0
Funny, but these photos made me think of Ireland and the volcanic mountains there. Of course, those are much older. Still, the volcanic mountains have a way of looking so young, so hungry for life. Thanks for the tour. You have me thinking how things can change quickly.
My three idols in one trip. Wow!!!
sobrang lalim lalim lalim lalim na talaga siguro niyan...at ganun ba talaga katahimik para isang napakalawak na lugar? natry ko na yun hehe pero tingin ko mas malawak to sa lake na napuntahan ko...ganda ng shots sir dong ^^
One of a kind adventure sir dong! :)
who knew that under such a wonderful lake lies a tragic past.
this is so exciting Dong. a great adventure
Dong. Tama si Chyng. Planner ka daw. Kaya na man pala eh. Isang Engineer. Kaya seguro maganda trip niyo dito sa Lake Mapanuepe. Hindi rin boring kasi daw, madaldal si ga-el. :-). Nice photos. I like them.
alam mo nanay ko taga dyan lang
but i have never been there
dapat na talaga mabisita
happy weekend, dong!
wow, bago to sir dong,
kelan po kau ulit babalik dito...sana makajoin po ako...
Nice. Another destination into my bucket list.
Thanks Dong. Just followed your blog. Cheers!
wow that was something else. buti di kayo ginabi dun, parang nakakatakot ata abutin ng dilim dun.
will let you know before the deadline kung makakasama ako sa pinatubo sir. =)
I like the story of how you guys found a way to get back home the same day. Nothing truly can take away the blessings of local interaction. I could only wish I'll travel with the 3 of you in the future.
awww! this post makes me miss your company. :( thanks for the memories Dom. See you soon? :)
awww!this post makes me miss your company.:( thanks for the memories Dom. See you soon? :)
I missed reading on this website. Am back! Paganda ng paganda ang mga kuha mo. It's always amazing!
WOW! Gusto kong puntahan to Dong. Hayyyyyzzzz. Ang layo lang from Davao. :)
ang ganda! san pala nabili ng friend mo yung suot nya sa arms nya?
we planned on dropping by this place after our trip to the coves and islands in Zambales but wala nang oras. next time na lang siguro. but I'll definitely bring another person with me. it's giving me the creeps. hehe
hi, when you said that there are no jeepney schedules after noontime going back to town, is it particularly on a sunday lang or everyday? thanks!
Lake Mapanuepe was featured in the second season of the show "Destination Truth" on SyFy channel, Episode 10. People were reported seeing a mysterious 7- to 8-ft creature swimming on the lake (kinda like Loch Ness Monster), the reason they did an investigation on the lake. The title of the episode is "Ahool and Pinatubo Monster". If you could get a copy of the show, you should also try Episode 11, which is their investigation about "Aswangs" in Aklan.
taga san marcelino ako.. sabi nila about sa lake monster ay ito yung nag mutate daw ung mga isda dahil sa nasirang spillway ng dam galing sa dating mining sa taas lang ng lake..lumaki daw ng lumaki pero wala pa nman tlagang ngpapatunay dito, pero iba tlaga ang pakiramdam dito sa lake parang my biglang hihila na lng sau pg nasa tubig kana.. totoo nakakatakot! pero napakaganda tlaga ng view,naiiba sa lahat.. :)try nyo!
woot. nalulungkot ako sa mga sunken village.. pero gusto ko itry mag-dive.. ano kaya ang nasa ilalim..
kakatuwa, gusto ko kayong tatlo makataravel :)
I wonder if the water is safe enough for people to scuba dive in it. The prospect of going through old houses, parks, and the huge church is exciting! Parang wreck dive narin!
It's my hometown and I reside beside that lake, I can lend you a room if you wanted to visit, revisit the place. Mapanuepe Lake is located within 2 Barangays in San Marcelino. Aglao and Buhawen. A day visit is not enough due to transport's schedule going to those Barangays. But during school days you can afford a back and forth trip As early as 5:45 am,beside the San Marcelino Public Market just in front of Rodriguez Supermarket there are 2 jeeps waiting for teachers to be transported up to elementary and secondary schools to the highlands, you can hitch a ride for a 40 pesos fare (one way) and due to limited seats for teachers expect that you will be ask for favor to ride on the top load of the jeepney,be careful enough not to fall down (anyway you can be pick up again, hahhah!) never dare!And surely the same jeep will be back in the town at 4:00pm, be sure to wait for the same jeep near the elementary school (in both Barangays), it's the last and only ride going lowland that you could ever have. Mondays thru Fridays except all holidays and Barangay and town fiesta. On regular days, there are 2-3 passenger jeeps(each Barangay) for transpo usually up to 1pm only and those jeeps will be back to town on the next morning, be sure to always bring your overnight personal things if you failed to catch up the early morning trip for teachers and decided to proceed and ride on a 1pm trip...People are friendly in those two Barangays, but your first move once you get off at your destination is to pay respect to Brgy. officers, go to the Brgy Hall and inform them about your presence and purpose,because you are are considered a visitor and at the same time a stranger. Whatever happens to you is a responsibility of the Brgy you are in but if you have a friend there maybe not necessary. This is such a lovely place full of tranquility, serenity and untold history. Just don't plan to go on rainy season there is a possibility of not passable roadways up the highlands due to landslide/mudslide. Expect a rocky,rough roads with chuckholes along the way before your final destination! Come and visit! Everyone is most welcome. Your visit is respectfully valued!
Whatever type of diving is not advisable, due to the iron bars that protrude from the concrete houses and structures at the bottom of the lake. There was an accident happened long time ago for the same reason. I don't recommend. But you can swim on the waters of the lake outside the sunken village areas and at the far end away from the edge of the mining site.
Personally I call it "the underwater village lake" commonly known as "Lawa" by the residents of Barangay Aglao and Buhawen. Mapanuepe Lake is not a common name to the locals of those two Barangays. Anyone interested to go for a visit email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, I can be your companion.
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