Lake Buhi & Mount Asog

Lake Buhi is a lake found in Buhi, Camarines Sur, in the Philippines. It has an area of 18 square kilometers (6.9 square miles) and has an average depth of 8 meters (26 ft). The lake lies in the valley formed by two ancient volcanoes, Mount Asog and Mount Malinao. It was created in 1641 when an earthquake caused a side of Mount Asog to collapse. The resulting landslide built a natural dam that blocked the flow of nearby streams. 

Another story told that “on January 4, 1641 – a memorable day, for on that day, all the known volcano of the Archipelago began to erupt at the same hour – a lofty hill in Camarines Sur, inhabited by heathens, fell in, a fine lake sprang into existence upon its site. The then inhabitants of the village of Buhi migrated to the shores of the new lake, which, on this account, was hence things near it. It sank so deep that a lake was formed. Later, people settled near the lake. Since then, the lake has been called Buhi.” – [Buhi 400 Magazine, Elmer Sergio, Max Noble, Jose Arcilla, October 4, 1978]

The lake is famous since it is one of the few bodies of water that have the sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonensis), which is the world’s smallest commercially harvested fish. 

side from the sinarapan, Lake Buhi is also home for other fresh water organisms such as the Irin-irin (Redigobius bikolanus), Dalag (Channa striata), Puyo (Anabas testudineus), Kotnog (Hemiramphus sp.), Birarawan (Strophidon sathete), and native catfish (Clarias sp.). Other fishes are introduced to boost the fishery industry, such as the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and Bangkok hito (Clarias sp.).

Birarawan (Strophidon sathete)

The forest surrounding the lake is the home of at least 25 bird species. The five endemic species are the Philippine pygmy woodpeckerPhilippine hanging parrotblack-naped monarchelegant tit, and the white-eared brown dove. Other faunas found in the forest are flying lizards (Draco sp.), skinks, monitor lizards (Varanus marmoratus), civets, bats, and the Philippine Cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis).

Palm civet

Today the lake is the primary source of income of fish cage culture industry and water supply for the People’s Energy Services Incorporated (formerly  National Power Corporation) Hydro Electric Plant. The power plant, founded in 1952, generates an average of 2.8 megawatts. It is also used by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to irrigate at least 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of the Riconada towns located downstream.  

Lake Buhi Control Structure constructed by NIA in 1980

Just recently, the lake was declared protected area by virtue of the Republic Act 11038 otherwise known as the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Law (E-NIPAS).