This fresh water lake has an area of 6.7 square kilometers and a corresponding catchment area of 44 square kilometers. The unique ecosystem contains a number of endemic plants, a rare species of fish, and a citrus-like plant. There are no fish pens in the lake, unlike most other lakes in the Philippines. To balance the needs of conservation and that of Taytay’s rapidly growing population, Tilapia (fish) were introduced into the lake as a food source for the local residents. Occasionally fishermen can be seen on the lake.
Lake Manguao is popular with bird watchers. The best time for bird watching is around sunrise. There are also bats to be seen around the lake, and they can be seen around sunset. The best way to see the lake is in a kayak. Casa Rosa has two sit-inside sea kayaks available. You can also be paddled around the lake in a small boat by a boatman and tour guide - this is also available through Casa Rosa.
Lake Manguao is about a 10km drive from the town center. The main route is along the national highway and then a dirt road that passes through thickly vegetated forestland. Any 4 wheel drive vehicle should be able to make it during the dry season. The lake expands during the wet season and local flooding may limit access along this route. The second route takes the coast road. This road is a rough track for most of the way and passable only by motorbike, 4 wheel drive or tricycle. Lake access is via private property, so this route is only possible if you make arrangements through Casa Rosa, who own some of that land.
Only Casa Rosa offers kayaking on Lake Manguao. They require a days’ notice so that the arrangements can be made with the caretakers on the lake. There is no road or track around the lake so there is little point in going unless you have arranged a boat tour. The lake is not suitable for swimming in.
Note that the lake is incorrectly called Lake Danao by the locals. There are several lakes by this name in the Philippines so it would be confusing to use it in this article. When asking locals about the lake, it is better to refer to it as Lake Danao.
The bird pictures are shown here with permission of J. Matillano, Western Philippines University These birds can be seen around the lake.
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