A PHP26.1MM floating playground opens in Paoay Lake

Photo from IN Tourism

A resident of Paoay before moving to Laoag to live with my family in the mid-sixties, my (nanny) manang Cion had a fave story to tell me when I wouldn’t sleep at night — the folklore tale of the Paoay Lake which was about an inundated village punished for its extreme greed for wealth and material gain.

During the Marcos rule, another Malacañang Palace was built by the lake. My manang Cion had a new story to replace the story of the bejeweled tilapia and other lake creatures. Their family house was among those displaced for the rise of a palace.

Declared a national park in 1969, the serene protected area became an important bird destination for birding enthusiasts in the country. The arrival of the great cormorant in Paoay is an awaited event. I was able to attend a bird census at the lake a decade ago (story here). Only recently, the bird sanctuary as a birdwatching tourism destination was unveiled by the Department of Tourism (story here).

Last week, amid promotions for the opening of a new multimillion inflatable island project by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, more fit for the beach, news of E. coli made the rounds and sparked discussions among Ilocano residents. Other than the health and safety hazards, environment protection and conservation issues, considering the status of the lake as a national park under the National Integrated Protected Areas System, is an ongoing debate among commenters on social media. In a public post on FB, local birder and staunch environmentalist, Dr. Petrus Calope commented, “Distorted sense of beauty! Is the $$$ more important than nature?”

Amid the E. coli news, the great vinyl park in a protected area opened to the public with a no swimming rule. Play at your own risk.


Vista del Lago: A restaurant amid nature

Vista del Lago

Visiting the newly opened restaurant overlooking the Paoay Lake brought mixed feelings. I grew up partially around the area in Nagbacalan. I miss the days when life was so basic, my yaya Cion would ask her brother to paddle me around the lake, in complete serenity, something still so vivid to my memory. I was a very curious child and she absolutely tolerated my whims, like trekking or sledding in the forests til sundown. I still smell the aroma of freshly cooked tilapia from the dalikan.


Vista del Lago is a breath of spring away from the flatness of life in the city. Owner Chef Eric Asuncion was not around, but manager Al Suguitan was helpful with what to order from the temporary, sweet and short Semana Santa menu. I wanted something light, so the homemade tortillas with salsa and tomato banana salad were perfect for sharing with Brandon. The tea made with tarragon from their own garden was a nice complement. Though Vista del Lago’s cuisine is eclectic and fusion, Ilocano details persist, like the tortillas were very Ilocano in taste, really so familiar at first bite, evocative of the crunchy Ilocos Norte cascaron minus the sugar coating. Brandon and I liked ’em. The beautiful salad’s Ilocano twist is the boiled saba that had a nice bite to it. It came with carabao milk cheese. The flavors on this one are very subtle, I thought some tiny bits of salty cheese like feta would add contrast.

Vista del LagoMirrorCeilingStripeySpaceAmid NatureVista del Lago Semana Santa MenuTarragon TeaBeautyIlocano TortillasThe BarVista del Lago BarTortillas and SalsaTres Leches

The only dessert as of the moment, tres leches, a not too sweet concoction of cream, ripe mangoes and sponge cake, was excellent.

The place is relaxing not only because of the expected gorgeous view. The design is a little restrained, making it very homey, you’d get the feeling that you are just at a friend’s house. I envy the bar. And the garden, with all the herbs they grow.

Vista del Lago is coming up with a wider menu soon. I hope you can visit the place also

Ader Office HoursChanced upon the group of Laoag City Hall employees.Summer LightA piece of the churchRagadera, Kallugong ken PaypayIlocano FlavorsLeavesCactusSkyviewGardenDelicate PinksPicture 1017HerbsLakeviewVista del Lago

Vista del Lago Restaurant National Highway, Paoay Lake, Paoay, Ilocos Norte Contact Al Suguitan (manager)  0917 729 3074 / 0998 989 9274 Open from 11 Am to 9 PM.

Garden Photo by Brandon Tan
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

The Lake House

The Lake House

There’s that one white house that catches the eye of a visitor of the legendary Paoay Lake. Only a true lover of nature and serenity would want to build a house around it. The lake is a national park, making it a classic, idyllic location, insomuch as residence owners benefit from the laws governing the protected park.

Stark white from afar, but a pale shade of dove grey up close, the lake house sits on an area measuring 1611 Sq m.

Let’s scrutinize life inside the lake house.

VerandahHorsesThe Lake House

The lake house is actually the vacation house of Fil-Am Mrs. Josephine Lazo Carlson, who happens to be mom of my first cousins May, Jonas and Samantha on the Abad side. She lives there three months in a year.

The minimalist design is inspired by two worlds. The architecture is American, designed by a Filipino US-based architect relative of Tita Josie, and the decor mostly contemporary native, with a couple of vintage accents like the Lazo family piano.

PhotographsWaterLiving SpaceVintage PhotosContemporary Native TouchesSunlightDining SpaceIlocano SaladLauyaIlocano Lunch

My friend Jay Ramos and I lingered lengthily after a sumptuous Ilocano lunch of bagnet with KBL, lauya, ensalada and pindang a bangus from Pangasinan prepared by the hosts.

We’re moving into the hot summer season, but it was breezy out there today. The northerly lake is a natural relaxant. Jay chair-napped. You  know on one of those butaka sweet lullaby chairs.

MonochomeCrispsBird Watch

The Paoay Lake National Park is a feeding point for migratory birds. Mayas and kannaway are omnipresent.

The part closest to the lake is home to free-ranging native chickens. They add to the charm of the abode. The children are usually up on their paddle boards when they are in town.

To the owner, home is where the heart is and it is the Paoay Lake. It was love at first sight.

The Lake HouseDriveway
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014