It was barely 6 AM and we were already running an hour late from our self-imposed call time. Luckily, we were in the province—in fact, we were in the middle of nowhere, in a small hot spring resort surrounded by dense mountains and tall coconut trees in Irosin, Sorsogon. There was no pesky tour guide to fault us for not waking up according to a printed, three-page Excel document, and our trike driver looked like he had just woken up too.
All five of us settled groggily in the tricycle, Owen and I choosing to sit behind the driver—a decision we regretted as soon as the trike picked up speed and the early morning chill assaulted us face on.
It turns out, as the tricycle made its way past the shady entrance to Bulusan National Park, our timing was just perfect. Before us was Bulusan Lake, its water reflecting the trees and the blue sky with its big, fat, white clouds, so vivid it looked like a rippling mirror. It was so picture-perfect it didn’t seem real.
The opaque waters became real enough, however, when we started pedaling our way across the lake. Our companions had been gone for about 15 minutes when Owen and I decided to follow, partly because we were worried why they hadn’t reappeared on the other side yet.
It turns out the part not visible from the dock was way bigger, and that there are tables on this part for picnics. We wished we had brought food with us on the way, since without anything (not even water), we didn’t get to linger long enough, which was a shame because the shady area was perfect for eating and then dozing off and then eating again.
But it was a sunny day, the air was cool, we were with friends we can race against on the placid waters (which we did), so the food (or lack thereof) was barely an issue, if at all.
But the lake is barely just a tourist attraction for picnics and kayaking. Rather more importantly, it is a source of food for local people, who can be seen laying down their nets at various parts of the lake in the early morning. Local kids also swim in it without so much as a life vest, and right then we knew that the fun we were having was nothing compared to theirs.