Paoay: Discovering the Legend of Paoay Lake
After going to Paoay Church, the flock and I went to the Paoay Lake and ate some lunch there. We prepared food beforehand (that’s how Tupang Gala survive inexpensive travel) and there are no restaurants nearby, just cottages and a beautiful scenery of the lake.
The wind is so strong when we got there. Better to put some eyewear to avoid dust of the wind blowing from the lake. After we finished our meal, we strolled and saw at the roofed view deck a bird count table where 25 species of birds are listed and tracked. Sadly, we have seen no bird maybe because of the rough wind.
The view there was like a harmonious blend of body of water and green pasture where the cows were grazing. At far northwest, we saw Malacañang of the North, the museum of the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ memorabilia.
Curious about the history of the lake, we read the sign made by the Kiwanis Club of Laoag City and found out its dark past. A historical account confirmed the legend during Spanish regime that the lake was once a plain inhabited by three pueblos (villages) and was swallowed by both land and water in an instant due to a tremendous duo of storm and earthquake. Who would have thought that the scenic Paoay Lake is a burial ground of early Ilocano civilization?
Here is the inscription of about the folklore of the lake:
The Legend of Paoay Lake
Long ago, in this once-dry land where Paoay lake now stands, there was a village whose people were kind, generous and God-fearing. Prosperity was evident in their beautiful houses, their expensive clothes and glittering jewelries.
As years passed, rivalry among the people set in, that they worked hard to acquire material things more than the others. God-worship was forgotten. Among them, Juan and his wife Maria, remained simple folks and never forgot to worship God. One night, in a dream, they were told that the village will be destroyed by a flood, if the people will not reform. They related their dream to their neighbors, but they only laughed at them.
One morning, the people heard a voice saying, “Leave this place tonight. When you hear the roar of thunder, do not look back, lest you suffer the same fate as the sinners.” When dusk came, they left their little belongings towards the hill. Then they heard the clap of thunder and felt the earth beneath them sway and tremble. The villagers were roused, but their cries died down as they were submerged under the rampaging water. The woman instinctively turned back to look back at the village. She swooned and her husband tried to hold her. This tugging gave the name “Nangguyudan”. They turned into rocks which can still be seen today at Bantay Pugaro. Atop one rock grew a “bangar” tree which rises to the sky like an open umbrella.
As years went by at the place where the village sank, a beautiful lake emerged, and is now the famous PAOAY LAKE. Today, they said if one looks into the depths of the lake, one could see the shadows of the buildings and houses of the once prosperous village. Fisherman reported catching fishes adorned with jewels. It is believed that these were the early inhabitants of the ill-fated village.
Just 8 kilometers away from Paoay Church, you can reach Paoay Lake’s view deck along the Airport Road.