PAOAY, Ilocos Norte — Following a massive clean-up and tree planting around the legendary Paoay lake, the 387-hectare lake awaits local and foreign tourists this summer with various water sports activities it offers from dusk to dawn.
The lake with a perfect viewdeck at Nagbacalan village offers a breathtaking natural landscape overlooking the Malacanang of the North, now turned into a presidential museum of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos. A few steps below are paddle boats where tourists can take a boat ride around the lake while enjoying its serenity along with various migratory birds that frequently visit the area.
Once teeming with fish cages and threatened by waste pollution, local officials and residents here bolt in to bring back the lush green forest and clean water they used to enjoy at the lake.
In support of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte’s tourism development master plan, fish cage operators along the lake were advised to engage in inland tilapia culture instead.
The local government unit of Paoay led by mayor Dolores Clemente has recognized the need to properly manage the lake not just for tourism purposes but most importantly, to make use of water wisely.
Aside from being an important fishery resource for the local communities here, the lake also supplies irrigation water to the Baay Irrigation System and the Diaz Irrigation System which serves at least 300 vegetable farmers.
Declared as a natural park by virtue of Republic Act No. 5631, the lake is included in the list of the country’s remaining protected areas. To date, the management of the Paoay Lake Natural Park is shared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR ) and the Department of Tourism (DOT). Meanwhile, the Protected Areas and Management Board oversees the management and allocation of resource uses of the lake.