Thursday, June 10, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles IV: Sampalok Lake

* the Sampaloc Lake stairs – inaugurated January 23, 1916; the land where the stairs were constructed was donated in 1914 by Cabeza Sixto Bautista

* a tilapia statue commemorating the donation of the first tilapia fingerlings to Sampalok Lake and Palakpakin Lake by Mr. And Mrs. Jose C. Agahan under Mayor Tomas Dizon as per Resolution No. 85, dated April 16, 1955

San Pablo City would forever be associated with its seven lakes. But among them, the most popular if not infamous, and the most easily accessible lake is of course Sampalok. Found just a few meters from the city hall, and below Doña Leonila Park, it is a beauty to behold in the city.

The name is derived from the equally famous legend, one that I heard since I was small and have encountered in letters during my fourth grade. It basically relates the story of an old man who asks for some sampalok from the tree of a mean owner which is found on the lake’s present site. As often expected in legends the old man was turned away. In some instances the old man turned out to be a fairy of some sort although my memory has failed to recall if this is the case with the Sampalok Lake legend. In the end, the character of the sampalok tree owners was duly rewarded with a heavy downpour swallowing their place and leaving a lake in its wake.

* contemplating on an afternoon by the lake

* the usual source of income by the lake dwellers – fish; shown here are a fish pen and lotus plants and some water lilies floating on the water surface

* a lone man fishing by the lake side

The lake is definitely wide in terms of area but not that deep. Unfortunately, it only has a very small outlet, which we used to call ‘tatlong butas’ where we used to hang out and take a bath (not me personally but my companions).

* Trailer Pransis taking a tour of his college classmates

* a shot of the premises of Café Lago

The lake shore was once lined with restaurants offering places for drink, sea foods, and some other common food such as mami. During our grade school days, we used to spend our weekends under those restaurants hunting for small hipon and other fishes to play with. My first experience in fishing was also in this lake when we tried to break the monotony of a bible study together with a church mate by trying to fish on our own and consequently breaking the fishing rod that we borrowed.

Today it is a site for rest and leisure. The road covering the perimeter of the lake is always frequented by tourists, joggers, and other people seeking a breather. One cannot go hungry as food stalls are installed around the lake. I have also seen boats being rented for a minimal fee. And there’s Café Lago of course, where one can truly relax, read some book perhaps, while tasting the food and drinks they are offering.

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