|Our visit to Balanan Lake
Siaton City, Negros Oriental Province, Philippines
In this photo L to R: San Jose City Mayor Angelo Teves and his wife, my friend Dr Kwaak
Young-hoon and his wife Kim Chung (Member of the Korean National Assembly), Governor
Macias (center), our kind hosts Micheal and Polly Richter, myself and my wife Lourdes.
|The hotel from across, with the windows & balcony of our room visible.
|Manager & an Aunt, balcony, and relaxin'
|Lunch on the final day: Lou's long-lost aunt-cousin and her Mom, me, Lou and niece Bealuz
|So we're out for a round-the-lake walk on the 2nd morning, and i shoot this nice scene of the main area, and note a
lone woman approaching on a banca; she comes up near us on the shore, and unexpectedly starts a conversation...
...and it turns out that she's one of Lou's maternal aunt-cousins! Just never before
known-to-us... one of the poor locals helped by this resort projects, she has a part-
time gig there. Not that shocking -- Lou has relatives all over this entire region.
BUT when she gets out to greet us, she's wearing a T-shirt that says "Kyunghee Univ"
on it (below bigger "Peking University") -- that's where i work!! Apparently, the shirt is from an exchange of students between
my place and Beijing some years ago, found its way into the global used-clothing market, became part of a charity-gift to this
area, she got this and just happened to put it on this morning --- WOW what a billion-to-one co-incidence!!! So we invited her
to lunch the next day, as her sister Lou's mom would be coming up... (photo above)
|the view from up there, down to the south coast
|Balanan Lake was created by a 6.8 earthquake that devastated the small city of Siaton, on
the south coast of Negros Oriental Province, Philippines, in 1926 -- falling boulders blocked a steep ravine
10 km up from town, at 285 meters-above-sea-level. Transforming this remote impoverished area into a very
pleasant tourist resort was the idea and personal passion of Provincial Governor Emilio Macias (M.D.). The
local native people were provided new housing a few hundred meters away from the lake and jobs building
and operating the sustainable resort. Anti-pollution measures were so successful that the lake-water is
almost perfectly clean and drinkable. We visited it for a few peaceful days in February 2010.