Saturday, April 14, 2012


An alternative destination when the expressways are clogged.

Artificial lake occupying a 1,050 hectare area
It is accessible from Metro Manila (about 82 kilometer, 1 1/2 hours), yet possesses water resources, whether man-made or natural.
Caliraya strikes you as a serene place as you spot the calm lake, feel the gentle wind, walk through the Japanese garden and sense the uncrowded habitation.
It gives a top view of the Laguna de Bay and the profiles of the mountains Banahaw, Cristobal, Makiling, Calauan, Makban at the South West.

For the 1st timers, the initial sight of the Lake comes in as a surprise. It is not visible from the Laguna National Highway connecting Lumban to Kalayaan and the zigzagged Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti road as it is perched at the ridge of the Sierra Madre. Only when you reach the elevation of 1,066 feet above sea level that the lake is revealed to you.

Water Level Gate

Torri, a scaled down Japaense Arch

So much has been written about the construction of this man-made lake which is linked to the power supply of a hydro electric dam in 1939 by the US Army. During the war in the mid 40's, there was a struggle between the Americans and the Japanese on the use of the facility causing damage. Eventually it was rebuilt by the Japanese.  In the 60's, ownership was pinpointed to 3 families. A garden was built by the Japanese government in the 70's to honor those who perished in the war. Sometime in the 80's the area was made more accessible to the general public via the opening of access roads.
I have no recollection when in the 90's I 1st drove up to Caliraya.
What I recalled though was an image of a rainy windy and cold morning painting an impression that I was in a faraway place so different from the place of work.
Google Earth Image Capture
I remembered also exploring to find waterfalls close to the Japanese garden to catch my climbing friends but ended up going in circles the whole night until I was led back to the garden via the main road.

In January 2009, with 172 other Coca-coca associates, our group supported the tree planting activity at the Caliraya watershed in Cavinti as part of the Haribon Foundation environmental conservation movement.

Since then, whenever where was a window to drive down to Laguna, I would always include Caliraya as part of the destination.

Why did I choose to revisit this year? For now, merely for the accessibility. In the near future when there is a deeper affinity between me and the lake, I may have other reasons to visit Caliraya.
Fotos courtesy of M. Averia

No comments:

Post a Comment