February 12, 2013

Lake Duminagat - The Hidden Treasure of Mount Malindang

Lake Duminagat is believed to be an ancient crater of an extinct volcano Mount Malindang. It is located between Barangay Lake Duminagat and Barangay Gandawan, which is part of the municipality of Don Victoriano province of Misamis Occidental. It is one of the favored destination to some local tourist especially mountain climbing enthusiast from Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Occidental and as far as Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon. Lake Duminagat is not so known until the early 2000’s when hiking clubs from Oroquieta and Ozamiz promoted the magnificent atmosphere the lake can afford to offer.


Lake Duminagat cuddled by the mountain mist.

Countless hiking aficionado are attracted by its natural wonders and pristine beauty brought by the fresh and cozy environment. It is situated at an elevation of 4,068 feet to 5,118 feet above sea level. Lake Duminagat characterizes the flora and fauna of the Zamboanga biogeographic region. 


The beautiful view of Lake Duminagat

The area that surrounds Lake Duminagat is inhabited by the Subanon people. They believed that the area is a dwelling place of the souls of their ancestors. The Subanon people are rumored to have extra ordinary healing power through their rituals and amulets. They don’t also allow fishing activities in the lake. There are also some tales that the lake is guarded by a fairy that cleans up falling dead leaves from the surrounding trees of mountain tops. 


Dwellings of the friendly Subanon people

Lake Duminagat is a small lake, with an area of 8.04 hectares, maximum depth of 20.95 m, water volume of 933,000 cu m, mean depth of 11.6 m, shoreline length of 1,060 m, and shoreline expansion of 1.054.  The lake maintained a vast diversity of indigenous shoreline fauna and flora.


Hikers clasp the beauty of Lake Duminagat

Lake Duminagat is favorable to mountain climbers as it is near to one of the highest peak of Mt. Malindang, the North Peak. Most of the hikers that visit the lake don’t miss the opportunity on climbing the highest peak of the Zamboanga peninsula. Though the peak doesn't offer a full 360 degree view of Mount Malindang Range but still you’ll enjoy the unique and unspoiled magnificence of the virgin forest.

Every Holy Week, noticeable amount of climbers and devotees visit Lake Duminagat for it is believed that the water from the lake can wash away their sins. This tradition was popular even before the pre-Hispanic times.

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful! It seems like there are some pre-historic reptiles lurking in the bushes and in the depth of the lake.

    Very informative!

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  2. Hi Trekker Trail, my dad also told me the story about a spirit 'raking' up all those dead leaves. So I hope I'll get to see this lake very soon. Someone told me that they arrived on Duminagat on habal-habal, via a municipality of Zamboanga (of which I cannot remember the exact location already). I hope that is still possible as it cuts the hiking time significantly, compared if I would take the usual trails.

    Your thoughts?

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  3. @ baktin: The nearest route I think is via the Municipality of Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte. That's the nearest I knew.

    I hope this helps.

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    Replies
    1. Yeap.. Municipality of Piñan -> Municipality of Mutia ->Brgy. Alvenda -> Brgy. Mansawan -> Brgy Gandawan -> Lake Duminagat.

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  4. lake duminagat is a showcase of beauty,
    i was their for practicum
    and witness the beauty of it.

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  5. Subanon pride. yah..

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  6. I'm glad you share this quiet adventures of yours. I grew up on the south end far away. when i was a child all i can see that beauty of the mountain. Wen I was elementary grades the lake was not named Duminagat yet, but heard of the story about the lake. Hopefully, before I get old I can mountain(excuse my terminology but i thought it is cute:)) and trek(not the Bike) this peak.

    Not so familiar if there is only one Subanon(dialect) but i have remember this phrase "handa ka pangay" which mean where are you you going?

    BTW, Subanon folks are hard working indigenous natives.

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  7. I was here, back early 2000...

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  8. He! I'd love to discover lake duminagat and Mount Malindang Range Natural Park, but I'm a trekker travelling alone and would like to have some company or a guide. Can you recommend me someone or a group?

    erikaverbelen@gmail.com

    erikaverbelen@gmail.com

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  9. Hey! I'd love to visit lake Duminagat and Mount Malindang Range Natural Park, but I'm travelling alone so I'd like to join somebody or hire a guide. Is this possible? Thanks a lot!

    erikaverbelen@gmail.com

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  10. I've been here also and I love the place and the down to earth people of Zanorte. You can bring alcohol to fight the cold weather in the lake but please be mindful of your trash. You can also get wild sayote for free because it's everywhere. I suggest you bring fresh fish to give to the caretaker of the lake

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  11. I love adventure.... I wonder that how beautiful Lake Duminagat was...

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  12. With the permission of their leader, Ma-le, I stayed with the Subanon in the village they called Dapitan sa Bukid for four weeks in1967. To get there took an all day hike from where the road ended. While seen as poor by outsiders, they had good houses of hand-sawed lumber and a good diet based on camotes. Some other crops raised were corn, dry rice, sayote, sibulas, and gabi. They also had chickens and pigs, but very little meat was eaten. Their religion was based on each individual praying to Ginoo by him and herself "because only they know what is in their own heart." At the full moon, the men went first, oldest to youngest. Then the women likewise prayed. At the new moon, the women went first; otherwise, the procedure was the same. They prayed silently while dancing back and forth eight times. When I asked why they were there, they said, "Giilog ang yuta ko sa taga ubos." When I asked them who took their land, they gave various answers: mga Bisaya, mga Kristiyano, mga Pilipino. They were a warm, generous, friendly, self-reliant people living what today we would call a sustainable lifestyle. While they practiced slash-and-burn [kaiingan] horticulture, the forests around them were healthy and even pristine. In 2001, when I revisited the area, the mountains were bare. My wife and I cried.

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  13. With the permission of their leader, Ma-le, I was fortunate enough in 1966 to stay in Dapitan sa Bukid, a Subanon village at the foot of the extinct volcano which holds Lake Dumidagat. Then, the village could only be reached by an all day hike from somewhere beyond Mutia. The trail went from where there were basakan[s] up a moderately steep grade through a very healthy forest. Depending on what they were doing, about 80 to 100 people lived in the village at any one time. Many more showed up, however, when they held a worship ceremony. More on that later. Their homes were built of hand sawn timber. The Sunanon engaged in kaiingon horticulture and had a variety of scattered farms. In the village, itself, they raised a variety of crops, the main staple being camotes, but also dry rice, sugar cane, maize, corn, and gabi. Gabi were eaten at every meal, usually boiled. They also had some pigs and chickens, but very little animal protein was consumed. When asked why they lived in such a remote place, they said that they once live in the lowlands, but "giilog ang among yuta." When asked about who took their land, they responded, "mga Bisaya", "mga Kristiano", or "mga Pilipino". Interesting answer, no? One day we made the climb up to the lake. Except for one long abandoned kaingan, the place was pristine. It was completely surrounded by virgin rain forest. Someone had made a small bangka, but there were no fish in the lake or leaves on the surface. The water was cold. And, the garden plot was abandoned because it was too cold for anyone to live there. In the early morning, it was so cold that you could see your breath as if you were smoking. The lake, of course, was a sacred place and somewhere nearby was their graveyard. The Subanon have an egalitarian society, no social classes and full equality between men and women. This is reflected in their religious worship practices. Each person must pray for themselves, one at a time, "because only they know what is in their own heart." On the full moon, the men go first, oldest to youngest, and the the women do likewise. On the new moon, the women go first. To the beat of brass gongs and a snakeskin drum, each person dances back and forth eight times while praying silently. It takes hours for all who want to have their turn. In 2001 and 2015, my wife and I were able to revisit the area. Then there was a very rough dirt road. Much to our horror, however, the vast forest was gone. Loggers had wreaked havoc on the landscape. Extremely steep mountains were barren. I write this to let people, who want to visit what is still a sacred lake, know something of what was there long before them. The Subanon are still there, too. They and the land should be treated with more respect than either has been in the recent past.

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  14. Hi, I planning to go there again too. But i don't know where is the exact route for it was in my elementary years since I dis go there. Could someone help me ? Please :)

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