Lake Balanan in Siaton
Lake Balanan is a freshwater lake found deep in the mountains of Barangay Sandulot in Siaton , a municipality in the southern portion of Negros Oriental province. The lake is bounded by mountain ranges and fed by three streams, the Lamarao Creek in the northeast, the Balanan creek in the middle and the Nasig-id in the northwestern end.
In the 1920’s a tectonic earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 in the Richter scale shook the island causing landslides in the Southern ends of both the Balanan and Nasig-id ranges in Siaton. This ultimately resulted in the formation of a figure eight shaped water reservoir, the narrowest point between the two larger portions of the lake being only 90 meters wide.
Soon after the quake a small village began to emerge at the nearby hills and along the banks, feeding mainly from the fishes in the lake and getting enough water supplies too. The quality of soil around the area was also good for agricultural crops. In the early 1990’s the local government expressed interest in promoting its eco-tourism and developing the area as a tourist attraction in the province. There are also plans to provide a habitat for the people living along the banks under very poor conditions.
Lake Balanan Facilities
The facilities of Lake Balanan include a tree house, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a room for lounging. Activities would be fishing, kayaking, boat riding, and hiking along the cemented pathways around the lake to enjoy the magnificent views and the fresh mountain breeze. During the weekends, families often come to have picnics in one of their cottages and to swim in the newly built pool.
Today, the Lake and the forests around it are being managed by the Bureau of Forest Development as a Watershed Area. There has been a proposal to protect the area as a Game Refuge and Wildlife Sanctuary to protect the large population of bats and other wildlife. Such proposal was endorsed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Region 7 in the year 1987.
How to get to Lake Balanan
Lake Balanan is 5 kilometers from the Siaton national highway. From Dumaguete City, it takes an hour to get to the town of Siaton by car. Another point of interest is the century old giant Balete trees dotted across the landscape. A luxuriant tropical rainforest surrounds the lake too. A wide variety of waterfowl have been recorded including herons, egrets, ducks, rails and gallinules.