PAOAY LAKE Protected Landscape (in Ilocos Norte)

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         Paoay Lake is locally called dakkel danum. What makes Paoay Lake Legendary? It is because of the interesting and enchanting history narrated by forefathers and passed upon to the present , including the other stories or observations that happened in the lake narrated by te residents nearby.

        According to such legendary account, Paoay Lake was formed as a punishment to the early settlers thereat who used to be immensely religious but turned wicked and preoccupied by material things later. Their wicked acts earned the ire of their gods, thus submerged the place , turning it into a body of water, while the people were made into fishes with their fancy adornments, such as jewelries, still attached with them. These stories say that, seated in Paoay Lake’s location was a group of three villages called Gumura, Siduma and Sintapuli. The first two villages were much like those communities, Sodom and Gumorrah, which according to the Holy Bible, were submerged in water as a form of punishment by God to the People who turned wicked.

      Other sources suggest that the lake was a result of gigantic geological displacement that hit the Ilocos area in January 1641. A shattering earthquake preceded by loud thunders and lightning, swallowed down the place, then burst back into the sky, thus left a body of water. Later studies theorized that Paoay Lake was formed geologically as a result of formation of the earth’s crust during the Miocene Epoch 2 million years ago.

Paoay Lake is surrounded by the five barangays of Paoay: Suba in the north, Nanguyudan and Pasil in the east, Sungadan in the south, and Nagbacalan in the west. The Paoay Lake Protected Landscape has an area of 386.0 hectares.

 PAST DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

  1. On June 21, 1969, Republic Act (RA) 5631 was enacted, An Act DECLARING PAOAY LAKE AS A NATIONAL PARK. The national park covers the lake and all lands within 1.0 kilometer from its extremities.
  2. In 1976, the Paoay Lake Development Project was launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its Bureau of Forest Development was tasked to reforest the area, while the Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources stocked hundreds of thousands of fish fingerlings, and the Bureau of Lands undertook resettlement component.
  3. On April 5, 1977, the then President Marcos issued Letter of Instruction (LOI) 529, directing further park development and upgrading of the sites and services. Hence, Paoay Lake Development Projects an inter-agency efforts of more than twenty (20) local and national offices.
  4. On June 11, 1978, President Marcos issued Presidential Decree (PD)1554, amending RA 5631, redefining the national park limits to exclude 1.0 kilometer portions of land to make them alienable. Thus, the modified park limits was the highest water level.
  5. In 1978, the Malacañang ti Amianan was constructed. It is a Spanish-type building overlooking the lake, and served as official residence of the President while in Ilocos Provinces. The Maharlika Hall at the northwestern side followed, and te Paoay Lake Sports Complex which is a package of a golf course and other allied sports facilities and grounds.
  6. On February 6, 1992, RA 7568 was enacted, the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS). Paoay Lake, an existing national park became an initial component of NIPAS. Accordingly, its policy making body, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) was organized. The Board comprises of the Provincial Government, Municipal Government, Barangay Chairmen of the surrounding Barangays, National Irrigation Administration, Department of Agriculture/Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Non- Government Organization. The Board or the Law Making Body sees the welfare of the Protected area since then through the conduct of quarterly and emergency meetings as needed.
  7. In 1994, the Paoay Lake PAMB, in cooperation with the local government unit, initiated a Livelihood Component-the establishment of fish cages by the communities around who were mostly fishermen. A 10.0 hectare portion of the lake was set aside, at two hectares each of the five barangays surrounding the lake. It was sustained since then, which in fact increased the income of families thereat, and made Paoay as the regarded tilapia capital of Ilocos Norte. By the Year 2011 the Provincial Government visioned that the lake is more beneficial when the lake is not structured by fish cages hence open fishing shall be implemented to the constituents of Paoay thus eco tourism shall be promoted. Employment generation shall also be encouraged in the area in producing products to attract tourists ie. Woven products, chichacorn, dried fish and the like. Other attractions shall be put thereat to invite more tourists in the site.
  8. In 1977, the Municipal Government attempted an ambitious project. To make Paoay Lakeas the Vegetable Bowl of Paoay. It is because of the fertile soils, its topography, available water support from the lake, and accessible roads for marketing aspect. Under the Seedling Distribution Program of the Municipality and the Bureau of Forest Development, Planting of fruit trees and forest trees were concentrated in the area. The Protected area todate is actively participating the National Greening Program through social mobilization together with other government agencies.
  9. In 1998, the Local Government Unit organized farmers association so as to have a good close coordination with them regarding farming in the area with them regarding farming in the area, including regulated use of pesticide or insecticide that may affect the lake. In the later part of 1999 to 2000 their irrigation canals drawing waters from the lake were improved so as prevent wastage or unregulated use.
  10. Recently, all existing programs instituted were sustained and maintained component programs and responsibilities of the lead agencies. The DENR, were in place, with the LGU as its partner. Since then, Paoay Lake is the regular entry of the LGU in the Search for the Cleanest Inland Bodies of Water. The maintenance and protection of the National Park /Protected area is implementedprogrammed by the DENR annually.

 

  1. 1.PHYSICAL CONDITIONS

 

A ) MINERAL AND GARBAGE DEPOSITS

         The lake area is characterized of interbedded sandstone and silty shale with limestone. Sand dunes and sandstones and sale are the rock components. Also available minerals are dental quartz and magnetite. There is no known waste or garbage deposits inside or beneath the lake that are threats to its resources and water quality.

 

B) SURFACE AND FLOATING DEBRIS

         There is no surface and floating debris in the lake, except during and after typhoons. However, cleaning activities are being done according by park personnel and residents

 

C) Vegetation

         Aquatic plants can be seen along the shallow and muddy portions of the littoral zone, which include buntot pusa , water hyacinth, water lettuce, kangkong, tape grass and water lily. On the other hand, the forest cover is manmade through reforestation works. The dominant species are giant ipil-ipil, acacia, mahogany, narra, banaba, teak, tibbig, bitaog, gmelina, bangkal and camachile. The presence of rooted submerged aquatic plants like lotus, aragan and other aquatic plants are abundant which serves as the prey of the fishes and other marine species.

 

D) WATER ERSOURCES AND QUALITY

         The lake is a natural body of fresh water without tributary. It has a depth of about six (6.0) meters. The water source is from ground water flow and surface run-off from its surrounding hills. Critical water level is, so far, the only known factor that affects its water quality. As temperature increases, the water level decreases, thereby affecting the aquatic organisms. Water quality test is done periodically on a quarterly basis.

         Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD) applied for the installation of water micro filtration machine in the lake purposely to serve the people of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It was recommended by the Provincial Government through the leadership of Hon. Imee R. Marcos and it started operating Year 2013 and really benefited the residents of Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

By: Nora Ibana/CENRO Laoag City

Photos: Jun Millano