When you hear about the city of Ormoc, what’s the first thing that comes your mind?
But wait, don’t judge me too quickly and let me explain my side about Lucy Torres (defensive). I already shared my story to you right? That for years I worked as a Segment Producer and writer of a major TV network here and I can say that of all the celebrities I’ve seen during the time when I needed to rest and de-stress at the company gazebo, Lucy Torres was one of the few that literally put me in awe. As in took my breath away together with my STRESS. Haha!
She’s so beautiful and elegant. If Anne Curtis was chosen to star in the teleserye (TV program), Diyosa, years back. Well, Lucy Torres is the real and legit one.
Well, enough of my personal thoughts about Ormoc because when I got a chance visit the city by joining a Familiarization Tour in Eastern Visayas sponsored by Tourism Promotions Board of the Department of Tourism I learned that Ormoc has more to offer than their tragic past and beautiful congresswoman.
And one of them is Lake Danao – the guitar or violin shaped lake located at the high mountains of Ormoc.
Lake Danao has quite an interesting story. It was formerly named Lake Imelda during the Marcos regime. I think you already know why. But on 1998 by the virtue of Republic Act No. 7586 otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act, it was changed to Lake Danao National Park.
More than anything, Lake Danao also plays a huge role in the lives of the Leytenos as it supplies potable water in 7 towns of Leyte, including Tacloban. Its area is about 148 hectares while the total land area is 2193 hectares.
It’s huge and it offers the very best of nature plus some exciting activities to enjoy once you travel there.
It was just about 30 minute drive up to the mountainous part of the province until we reached Lake Danao. One thing noticeable about the place aside from its rich green sceneries is the cool temperature. Our guide told us it’s because of the high elevation or location of the lake, which is about 650 meters above sea level.
We had a quick briefing before we proceed to the activities. Lake Danao, more than its beauty, offers a lot of activities for the visitors. Some of them are hiking, biking, horseback-riding and a lot more.
I chose to go for the trekking, to explore and see the lake’s splendour in my own eyes. We were assisted by our guide, Alemar. Our walk started on the cemented road until we reached the inners of the forest. Alemar told us that the hike is just quick maybe about 30 minutes, enough for us to experience the trees and fresh air. But if you are planning to explore the whole lake it would take about 4 hours.
It was an enjoyable walk since I was with cool and funny people, my new friends from the local media, tour operators and staff of Tourism Promotions Board.
There were a lot more activities to try but I was already satisfied with the trekking.
Our next activity was the boat ride, which gave us a chance to experience and paddle our way into the heart of the lake. While some were trying it, some waited while enjoying the full body massage offered by some local therapists there. It only costs 250 pesos for the whole body massage. A great way to support the local tourism and also get the relaxation we all deserve.
When it was my time to experience the boatride, I had no companion except the boatman.I wholeheartedly understood, I’m heavy and they didn’t want to join me. Just kidding! Haha!
So I just enjoyed it. Being alone and silent while exploring Lake Danao was a great way to experience the place first hand.
Since I had no one to talk to, I tried to have some chit-chat with Alemar, the boatman. He was a bit shy. Our conversation focused more on how Lake Danao was even more beautiful before the typhoon Yolanda. I told him that Lake Danao now looks stunning for me.
Then he bowed his head with a smile as if thinking, reminiscing something, he said the typhoon Yolanda aftermath was really tough for them but he’s grateful they were able to overcome it. And now, they are better.
Again, this is something I have always talked about in my previous stories and posts. That more than the place itself, little gem of learnings can be received from the people we encounter and interact with.
Talking with Alemar, made me more thankful, and grateful for being a Filipino, that we can still smile and be positive despite the challenges we face.
After this trip, whenever I hear about Ormoc, Lake Danao is now the first thing that comes to my mind. And the experiences I had are the things I remember the most.
Travel Guide to Lake Danao
How to get there:
Book a flight to Tacloban, Leyte. From the Tacloban proper, there are buses and vans going to Ormoc City. Some of the van terminals are Grandtours and Duptours.
A few meters from the Ormoc City Public Market, there’s a terminal of jeepneys going to Lake Danao. Travel time is about less than one hour.
Where to Stay in Ormoc, Leyte
I had a great time staying at Ormoc Villa Hotel, of course sponsored by Tourism Promotions Board, DOT. Truly one of the best hotels in the city. Check their rates and you may book here!
Note: Thank you Tourism Promotions Board of DOT for inviting me to this awesome Fam Tour! Expect my full support in promoting Philippine Tourism. #PilipinasMuna