"Fresh Water Sea" that's the best name I could come up that best describe the place. It's just simply so big in my sight that you could mistake it for a sea at first glance and it produces waves because of its size and it's out in an open.
The tear-shaped Lake Mainit is the fourth largest lake in the Philippines and second largest in Mindanao. It holds the title as the deepest lake in the country with a staggering depth of 223 meters (731.63 ft) because Laguna de Bay (country's largest lake) only has a maximum depth of 20 meters while Lake Lanao (Mindanao's largest lake) has 112 maximum depth but if the the sea level is the basis Lake Lanao is technically the deepest with a record breaking 700 meters.
It's surrounded by 8 municipalities and shared by 2 provinces ( Agusan del Norte & Surigao del Norte ) and in January 2004 is receives a new title as the most transparent lake in the Philippines (previously held by Lake Lanao) it averages around 3 meters in transparency and has the greenish & odorless water. The coastal area is sandy and mud.
It is the 4th day of our great Southern - Northern Mindanao trip with a traveler friend. Lake Mainit was meant to be a few hours photo ops side trip when we're going to Surigao del Norte from Surigao del Sur. It can be reached from Butuan within 2 -3 hrs. The lake's beauty is most beautiful when viewed in an elevated place and during the bus ride it was just simply picturesque. It's best to inform the bus driver that you'll get off in Almont Resort (just beside the road) if lake viewing is your intention. Epic fail in our case we got off the bus in the town of Kicharao which is not the best thing to do if you're only there for the lake.
We hire a habal-habal to take us to places where we can best view the lake for P100. We suggested to go to Almont Resort but the driver said it was recently closed and recommended the newly constructed ecopark for a panoramic view from an elevated place. It got us both excited because we can actually have a full scale view of the lake from above. It took us about a 20 minute ride and I can feel the beauty of the lake when we're nearing the ecopark.
When we finally reached the ecopark & view the lake from up there boom! the trees are completely covering the lake and no matter where I go I just couldn't find a perfect spot. It could have been beautiful up there but no avail the scenery is obstructed. The driver suggested a hike down the lake from the ecopark but my companion wouldn't forego with the idea because it's too much walking and can consume too much time because we only allotted a few hours there. It's a good thing that the Almont Resort came on our mind once again.
It was decided that we will view the lake through Almont Resort and it took us another 10 minutes to get there from the ecopark. As expected it was close already and there's no care taker. According to the driver it just wasn't able to compete with the resort in the neighboring town so that's why it was shut down. I'm proud to say that we did a little trespassing there hahaa! I haven't done such an exciting feat in my life. My companion was hesitant I just go in like a little child not fearing the consequence if we got caught. Okay enough chit chat with about the whole trip and time to describe the lake.
The minute I was in close with its splendor it wasn't really breath taking at first because it looks just like a sea. I can feel the fresh wind blowing with the absence of salt in the air. The wind takes away the stillness of the lake and making a small waves towards its shore. I can see some birds and wild ducks in a distance thriving in the lake's resources. It's indeed another wonderful creation by God and despite the heat & sweat I have in that moment I was rejuvenated by the fresh wind blowing and I did go and dip my feet in its water and it was really cold despite the sun's heat. My friend found some water lilies and photographed it. I miss those when I was so focus with the grandiosity of the lake itself. I was not completely satisfied with our photo ops because the photographer in me felt in that moment that I haven't captured the lake's true beauty in a photo. i tried experimenting with different angles and different inanimate subjects but still not satisfied. You have to be there to truly appreciate it's beauty.
We left with me not that completely satisfied with the shots I took. They're good but I something is missing and I don't know what. I always want to capture the beauty of nature in a good shot that best describe its unique qualities.
We just wait in the road for any coming bus or van that will take us to Surigao. It took us quite a while to get a ride. That is all there is to the lake. It's serene beauty will calm your heart when it's heavily trouble as it did mine.
P100 - habal-habal fee to the location from Kicharao town