Tucked away in Tadlac, Los Baños, Laguna is a small freshwater lake that bears the name of its location: Tadlac Lake. It’s one of the natural features of the area that Laresio Lakeside Resort and Spa highlights for its customers.
I didn’t have to scale the rock climbing tower to see the lake’s entirety. Its size could be seen without having to go to such heights. But I did get closer to the water. Murky green is not an inviting color. But it is not putrid, unlike the Pasig River. And I thought that was that for the lake.
Until I saw a sign that displayed its official name as well as its other names.
Crocodile Lake and Alligator Lake are names handed down from the Spanish Colonial Period. Back then, it was known as Laguna de los Caimanes because of all the caimans that used to live there—and Pasig River, as well.
But why would be called the Enchanted Lake?
There are two good reasons for the name: one is the bigger lake and the other is the mountain. Laguna Lake or Laguna de Bay is a close neighbor of Tadlac Lake. The big lake is riddled with fantastic tales about creatures of mystery and power, like mermaids. A number of the lake towns surrounding it have their own accounts of mermaid sightings. It wouldn’t be far-fetched for those stories—and sightings—to reach the smaller lake.
Just as close to Tadlac Lake is Mount Makiling, the famed abode of the famous fairy, Mariang Makiling. The mountain is storied about the acts of the fairy. Some believe that her domain includes not just the mountain but the nearby bodies of water where she bathes.
Why would she take a bath in shadowy waters of the small lake?
It’s said that, years before the people introduced fishing pens into the area, the waters used to be as clear as crystal. It was even potable. It’s this little piece of information that made me see Tadlac Lake so differently: no algae, no houses or resort around it, no straining the eyes to see the bottom of the lake. I saw it as the private pool of a supernatural being. I saw how enchanting it once was.
The illusion is easily shattered by reality. But I do wonder what the fairy thinks of what happened to her pool.