Malubog Lake: Toledo’s Best Kept Secret
Toledo City in western Cebu Province is known for being a “mining city,” since one of the country’s largest copper-gold mines are located here. Most people have a picture of Toledo as an industrial city in the west, fueled by heavy industries and mining. Beyond these images, Toledo’s tranquility hasn’t hit the mainstream tourism industry that defines the entire Cebu Province—Malubog Lake.
Situated in the mountains of Barangay General Climaco (formerly Malubog), it is an artificial lake made by damming Malubog Creek in the 1970s to provide fresh water source for the mining operations of then Atlas Mining—and still is today and for the rest of Toledo as well. It is claimed to be one the largest fresh water privately-owned lakes in the Philippines, and may just become Cebu’s answer to Lake Maggiore. It can be seen as far as the Trans-Central Highway in Cebu City!
The lake is nestled in a bowl valley with a small community that lives by its shores which gets its living from fishing tilapia and pangasius (fish that makes cream dory fillet). Not far from here, mining activities can be seen…seemingly contrasting the calm waters of Malubog Lake. The mines and the lake are only a few kilometers away from each other.
A lot of city dwellers in Cebu speculated that Malubog Dam is where the tailings are being dumped. However, the community of Toledo clarified that this is even where they get their drinking water—and jokingly says, “they haven’t mutated or killed by drinking its water, ever.”
As of the moment, just near the barangay center is the Malubog Lake Cruise. Still in development, you can eat and be merry while travelling around the tranquil lake and enjoy the verdant hills. Hayahay jud kaayo!
The Dam and the Stream
Although restricted, we managed to go to Malubog Dam and took a tour. To our surprise, there is a tunnel that leads downstream. As the wind blows inside the tunnel, the cool mountain breeze refreshes that humid noon.
We went downstairs and saw the majesty of the limestone cliff facing the clear waters of Malubog Creek running downstream. I was amazed. Despite being industrial, there are still places where the environment is still kept well. Large river shrimps dance in the blue pools of the stream while the cascading waters made a calming effect to everyone’s mind.
And to the locals, they still believe that this area is enchanted.
Malubog Lake is still untapped in its tourism potential, but I hope that when tourism enters in this area, we do this responsibly. The local government plans to develop this area as a prime tourist destination for Toledo City. I heard that Aboitizes are interested in setting up a hotel or a mountain resort here. This can certainly boost up employment opportunities in the island, while still retaining its calm and cool beauty.
Also, given its size, Malubog Lake may be the answer to Metropolitan Cebu’s growing demand for portable water.
Malubog Lake is Toledo’s ace. It’s peaceful and simple beauty and being the largest lake perhaps in the entire island of Cebu, makes it unique.
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Getting there though is pretty tasking. The regular public jeepney service from Toledo City Proper and Malubog can only go every early morning and late afternoon—on scheduled trips only. It is better to pass by the Toledo Garden City Hall wherein the Tourism Office may help you out with your itinerary. You may call them at +63 (32) 3225625 for more information.
Also, sedan-type cars are not recommended. Better hire a jeep or a 4×4 pick-up truck.