Monday, November 7, 2011

Hanopol Dam

Either my driver was driving too fast or the sun was mightily cooperating to give me a very long day! Arriving in front of Rex Inn at centro, I was actually already happy with what I have seen and ready to get off the trike but driver said it was not yet dark and asked if I wanted to roam more. Wheh?! One for the books… this was one rare incident in my travels where I got asked if I wanted to see more. Rare really! So I asked what else nearby can I see, and manong driver told me there is another freshwater lake, a dam actually that is just nearby and he can take me there until dusk catches up on us. Not that I was not taking precautions, but the manong seemed sincere and harmless, so I said let’s go!

The Hanopol dam lies somewhere southwest of town center. This meant we had to pass by the church again, and further south. Far if you walk but just a zip away on the habal-habal. Its not a la Pantabangan nor Binga nor something like that. It is small really. But what a quiet and serene place, even bird sounds echoed everywhere. Mesmerizing sights and sounds of nature! And mind you, the forest gets a bit pleasingly noisier as the skies become darker. Did you ever notice that? I did here. I could not even distinguish anymore if this and that sound was of an animal, a bird or an insect! It was just a merry cacophony that seemed to highlight the peace and quiet of the lake.

I wandered around… there were boats. I was amazed that none was tied to anything. They were just ramped up the embankment of the dam. Hmm, some even still had their paddles and other things inside. A manong walking in the area said I can use any one of them if I wanted to. I asked where the owners were and if they won’t get mad with me using them. He told me that the owners are his friends and don’t mind as long as the boats are used properly and returned to the dry area correctly. “What if they’re stolen?” so I asked. With a smile, manong said “saan mo naman dadalhin ang mga yan?” hehe. Actually! This is a small lake in the middle of the forest not very near the main road. If you stole a boat, where and how would you bring the thing out?!

I enjoyed watching the few boats cruising by the placid waters. They reminded me of swans silently floating on a pond without so much disturbing the water but just creating a wake of little ripples that grow wider before fading. Some were in the lake to fish, but two of the boats I saw passing by were of men who came from deep in the forest to get firewood. They docked at an area near me, so I walked over to watch them more closely. Hmm, the bundles of firewood were heavy such that their small boats were real full to almost submerged level. They were very careful and had a system of unloading those bundles to ensure their boats don’t tip over and get submerge in the lake. Funny I realized, even little things like these do have science in them hehe.

After unloading the firewood bundles, the same men must carry those on their shoulders to the dam's ground level where I thought they'd be loaded unto a waiting vehicle. But when I looked, they were carrying those bundles further up the hill to a dirt road above the dam where an animal waited to carry those loads. I couldn't make clear if it was a horse or a cow as it was far up there, though I knew it was not a carabao from the whitish color of the beast. That dirt road up there is on opposite side of that which we came from. I asked how much each of those bundles would be selling for and one of the men replied ‘nine pesos’. Golly the muscle you must flex to earn that nine pesos!

Nice foresty tranquil getaway! And we thought Caramoan was all sea, sun and sand!

How about we go dinner next?!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30


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