Ang lawa ng kalilaya ay hindi ginawa ng tao tulad din ng iba’ibang lawa sa mga tuktok ng amang bundok na nilalang ng dakilang maykapal para sa kalikasan.
The first and only chance for me to see the kalilaya lake was a long, long time ago when a group of drinking buddies led by two young able men, had a sojourn in one of the resort houses right there, together with our females guests from a company.
Unlike the other numerous adventures that i had before, i was amazed by the very natural beauty of this lake just the same with the others in the other islands that i was able to see during my lifetime.
Amang bundok was changed to inang bundok or sierra madre, from a male entity to a female that was continously raped by men of greed since centuries ago until this time.
On one of its thousand peaks, a very beautiful lake was nestled that the tagalog natives named as lawa ng kalilaya, with similar existence as the lawang angat and the rest of the lakes in the mountain ranges like the lawang maynilad and lawang babayi just below the said mountain, and the famous seven lakes in the boundaries of the kumintang province or lalawigan and mabunga.
Then, this particular lake kalilaya was renamed by the wealthy inhabitants from foreign lands of the north and west as Caliraya as they changed the alphabet system of the natives that was the tagalog baybayin.
Later, the intruders heralded the kalilaya lake and redefined it as a man-made lake situated in the municipalities of Lumban, Kabinti, and Kalayaan after creating or renaming the indigenous province to Laguna as we all know now.
Much later, he lake was transformed into a popular spot for water sports and outdoor recreation including fishing in 1939 with a number of resorts catering to tourists and vacation homes in the surroundings because of the beautiful scenery and favorable climate.
Yes, the Caliraya Dam is the man-made one as there was no such dam before. The dam was constructed with the approval of a commonwealth president by the name of Manuel L. Quezon.
The Caliraya lake became a large water reservoir for generating hydroelectric power for Southern Luzon from which the water flows the river with the same name.
The said power installation which was a promise of prosperity for the advantage of the native inhabitants, but actually, the advantages are more in favor of the wealthy businessmen or aristocrats.
During war, the dam was sabotaged by the americans which took the project of creating it in the first place. The japanese rebuilt it also to their own advantage but sabotaged it again during their defeat.
It was rebuilt and inaugurated in 1953 by the National Power Corporation under then president Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines in 1972 financed by the banks and by the debt-loans of the citizens.
In the early 60’s, the Kalaw, Nieto and de Padua families acquired and consolidated the land titles surrounding the lake and turned the lake as their own, as a result of the land titling system known as torrens that was used by Quezon and his subalterns such as Ortigas.
They constructed a residential resort subdivision known as Sierra Lakes and the Dos Lagos Club for residents, now known as Lagos del Sol.
Property values increased even more so when the main road to the lake was paved courtesy of loans by marcos government from the Japanese grant which is a part of various financial/economic assistance by which the philippine government is indebted for until now.
The hydroelectric plant was refurbished in 2004 through another subsequent loans.
Lake Caliraya eventually became a high-end neighborhood of vacation homes for the rich and famous while the ordinary people are looking up in amazement.
Lately, one corporation, named as sumac, emerged as among the american firms buying lands around the lake, thus the propriety of the lands are slowly and gradually being transferred from the native inhabitants to private individuals whose identities are difficult to verify or confirm due to absence of the freedom of information.
During the 1980s, Lake Caliraya’s surroundings were occupied by the local squatters and bandits posing as New People’s Army, which affected tourism and development.
Nevertheless, since 1985, there has been major real estate developed with the construction of several small resorts and Caliraya Springs, a golf course and country club, and again, for the purposes of the affluent.
Despite the proliferation of squatters on the roadside due to the negligence of government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways and National Power Corporation, Caliraya continues to be a haven for the rich and the elite.
The activities being enjoyed by the favored families include large mouth bass fishing, wind surfing, kite boarding, wake boarding, jet skiing, water skiing, boating, golf, camping, and other sporting and recreational outdoor activities.
Property values remain high, and a new generation of developments, both private and commercial, are slowly coming on stream, but the level of the poor inhabitants remains the same.
Lake Caliraya is situated approximately 1,200 feet above sea level, and is perched high on a great mountain. The lake experiences cool climate all year round.
The lake’s surroundings have been compared to various north american resorts, as suggested by the abundance of pine trees which were introduced by some of the early developers in place of the indigenous coconut trees, as well as year-round cool climate, and verdant hills.
Also, numerous unnamed islets of various shapes and sizes have been formed during the creation of the dam. One is approximately as big as Rizal Park, while the smallest is actually a sandbar about 3 square meters often submerged during high water.
This tiny island can be viewed from Lagos del Sol Resort but any other ordinary poor citizen or local inhabitants can not be seen, except of course, the workers who are allowed to be there only by permission of the owners.
The story of kalilaya is very typical in all other lands in the island of luzon.