Mt. Apo's Venado Lake



Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, with an altitude of 2,954 metres (9,692 ft). It is located between Davao City and Davao del Sur province in Region XI and Cotabato province in Region XII. The name Apo means ancestor.

There's a lake at the foot of the said mountain which they called the Lake Venado. The name came from a Spanish word Venado which means deer. Locals call it linaw (clear) because of its crystal-clear water that reflects the mountain. Many people would say that the lake is enchanted, that an engkanto (fairy) or some kind of entity was living there.

This beautiful small lake not only gives a breath-taking picturesque scene to mountain climbers but was also believed to take lives of these innocent hikers. Well, it is true that almost every year people die there for some reason. The lake is the favorite camping site by people who go there. Some of them dare to take a deep on it.

In April, 2007, a group of mountain climbers set-up their camp beside the lake. One of them died after swimming in the lake. Minutes later, his companions don't know where the climber go. Their leader didn't think of him going to swim on the placid and inviting lake. The local government of Davao City strictly prohibited campers and/or mountain climbers to swim on it. A while later they heard someone calling for help. They ran straightly to the lake and found the hiker was drowning. They attempted to rescue him, but they failed. The hiker was nowhere to be found, he drowned deep the lake.

Because of his disappearance, urban legends rose. Local tribesmen warned tourists about the said fairy dwelling in the lake.

His co-climbers reported him to the authorities. However, he was not found for days, no trace of him was seen. His long disappearance, rescuers speculated, that he was already dead. Days later, he was finally found, lifeless.

Aside of the reported incident, there were other people who were reported missing in the Lake Venado. Some of them still missing until now.

Experts thought of possible reasons of death. It can be caused by physical accident or natural disaster, but for locals, it's not the reason why. They are blaming the entity living there. No one can say it's not true because there's no proof to question its validity.

A local leader suggested that tourists or hikers should undergo first for a prayer ceremony in respect to the engkanto of the said lake. The ceremony is called Pamaas. Elder indigenous people perform the ritual to placate the mountain God Apo Sandawa before they start climbing. The tribe leader of Sitio Sayaban was convinced that many spirits housing on the mountain were disturbed from their peace and demanded a sacrifice to remind the local population and visitors that they do exist.