The Mahagnao Lake, perched on an upland called Barangay Danao, is one natural park that is proudly owned by Burauen, Leyte. The park, created by Proclamation No. 184 dated August 27, 1937, was originally named the Mahagnao National Park, but was later renamed as the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP)by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by virtue of Proclamation No. 1157 dated February 3, 1998. The park has an area of 635 hectare land area forestlands surrounding the prestine Mahagnao Lake and has an elevation of 860 meters. Its cool environmental condition has earned the sobriquet as the “Little Baguio” of Burauen. Also, veggies favoring cooler temperature are common fixture of family yards.
While serving as Executive Director of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP-DOST), convinced PHIVOLCS or the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, a service agency of DOST, to visit the volcano and came out with a statement that “it falls under the category of dormant volcano” owing to its last eruption thousand years ago. If properly and judiciously managed the MVNP could contribute to the town’s revenue coming from local, national, and even international tourists. It is a park where eco-tourism enthusiasts will themselves enthralled by forest vegetation of wild plant species surrounding the Lake and the entire mountain area, the verdant landscapes, and imbued with panoramic, captivating natural beauty let alone the chirping of different birds, wild animals dashing aimlessly, and the freshwater species of animal life in the Lake. An added feature could be in the form of boating and kayaking as seen in Ormoc’s Lake Danao (Imelda) with an added attraction of floating “resto”, manpowered, made of light materials where one may while away his time or families and friends can take their meals – the floating structure towed by rope pulled from one end of the Lake and to the other end.
On two occasions that I visited Lake Danao, I said to myself that its modest facilities and improvements of the surroundings could be replicated in MVNP. As a person who loves to commune with nature, write technical articles and compose poems, the atmosphere and amenities of Mahagnao and Danao Lakes are what will inspire one to be more productive. The challenge is hurled to LGUs concerned to earn more for their coffers by attracting tourists. Again, as an active biologist, I am inviting SUCs and HEIs to send their graduate students to study the biota of Burauen for their thesis/dissertation studies.
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