Fascinating Buluan Lake (Buluan, Maguindanao, Philippines)


(Buluan, Maguindanao)


By Apolinario Villalobos


My jaunt to Buluan Lake yesterday, December 12,  was decided when a blackout cut short my blogging on the patronal fiesta of President Quirino (Sultan Kudarat). Rather than sit it out for the return of the power to keep me going again, I decided to go somewhere else, despite the scorching heat of the high noon sun. I finally I contracted Dagul who at the time was driving a single “habal-habal” motorbike to bring me to the fish port of Buluan. I was lucky to have been driven by Dagul because I found out that he was familiar with the area as he told me that he used to deliver bamboo poles to clients within the vicinity.


On our way to the lake, Dagul was narrating his adventures around the area as far as Tulunan where he met new hospitable friends. He told me about the friendly residents of Maslabing and he was right as those we met along the way, returned the smile I gave them and waved back to me as we drove on along the concrete road that sliced through the African palm plantation. What made me more interested about the area was how the locals are making use of solar panels to light their homes. And, what  caught my attention are the clean yards, some with flowers and shrubs.


I knew that we were approaching the lake when I could only see the empty horizon ahead of us. And, when we finally reached our destination, I was surprised by its expanse with portions dotted by colonies of water lily. The homes on stilts brought back memories of Taluksangay in Zamboanga that I visited decades ago. What delighted me were the friendliness of the locals. Every time I asked permission to take their photos and their home, they readily agreed after listening to my explanation that I was promoting Buluan and that I would like to spread the news that their place is nice. I added that during the INAUL FESTIVAL, visitors could visit their place to see the lake and have snacks in their convenient stores or sari-sari store.  I told those who owned small carinderias that they should maintain cleanliness to the best they can so that visitors would come back for more of their deep-fried taruk and tilapia.


I found half-finished slim and long bancas in some homes, aside from fish traps and black fish nets. Some resourceful residents cook “binignet” a kind of powdered rice porridge with banana. In another home, I found a mother with her  purple-colored cake to be peddled at the wharf.  I was told that in a few hours the first batch of harvested tilapia would be coming in which could be the reason why I saw styro boxes and obvious traders, regretfully, I could wait for it because I still had two places to visit….but definitely I will be back.


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