Legend has it that a sunken barangay called San Juan de Sahagun (Saint John of Sahagun) in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, is now the site of perhaps the most prominent feature of the municipality – the Paoay Lake.
I saw the lake at around 2pm on April 16, 2010 when I visited Malacañang ti Amianan or Malacañang of the North, one of the Presidential Rest Houses that belongs to the Marcos Family that lies on the northern bank of Paoay Lake. This was during my first visit in Ilocos Norte, the 13th province on my list.
Why you need to see it
You don’t. But if you’re visiting Malacañang of the North, you might as well walk a few meters to see Paoay Lake, which has an area of 470 hectares.
For the mystery lovers, the following words etched near Malacañang of the North tells the story of the lake from the people of Paoay:
The Legend of Paoay Lake
Long ago, in this once-dry land where Paoay Lake now stands, there was a village whose people were kind, generous and God-fearing. Prosperity was evident in their beautiful houses, their expensive clothes and glittering jewelries.
As years passed, rivalry among the people set in, that they worked hard to acquire material things more than the others. God-worship was forgotten. Among them, Juan and his wife Maria, remained simple folks and never forgot to worship God. One night, in a dream, they were told that the village will be destroyed by a flood, if the people will not reform. They related their dream to their neighbors, but they only laughed at them.
One morning, the couple heard a voice saying, “Leave this place tonight. When you hear the roar of thunder, do not look back, lest you suffer the same fate as the sinners.” When dusk came, they left with their little belongings towards the hill. Then they heard the clap of thunder and felt the earth beneath them sway and tremble. The villagers were roused, but their cries died down as they were submerged under the rampaging water. The woman instinctively turned back to look at the village. She swooned and the husband tried to hold her. This tugging gave the name Nangguyudan. They turned into rocks which can still be seen today at Bantay Pugaro. Atop one rock grew a bangar tree which rises to the sky like an open umbrella.
As years went by at the place where the village sank, a beautiful lake emerged, and is now the famous Paoay Lake. Today, they said if one looks into the depths of the lake, one could see the shadows of the buildings and houses of the once prosperous village. Fishermen reported catching fishes adorned with jewel it is believed that these were the early inhabitants of the ill-fated village.