Aug 9, 2009

A Visit to Sampaloc Lake

One Saturday afternoon we take a visit to one of San Pablo’s seven lakes, the Sampaloc Lake (the famous of the seven lakes).
The Legend of Sampaloc Lake:
Once upon a time there lived in the northern side of San Pablo a well-to-do but childless couple. They had a large garden of tarmarind trees which bore the sweetest fruits in all the land. Many people from far and wide heard of the tamarind trees. And many of them wanted to taste the sweet tamarind fruits.

The couple felt very proud of their rich possession. They built a fence around their yard so that no strangers would pick any of the tamarind fruits. Just to make sure no one could enter their yard, they placed a big watchdog to guard it

God wanted to test the hospitality of the couple. And so, one day a fairy, disguised as an old beggar bent and wrinkled by age, approached the couple’s garden begged for some fruits.

“Please give me some tamarind fruit. I am hungry!” The old woman pleaded.

The couple did not even look at the old woman.

“Be gone! We don’t want to give any of our tamarind fruit away!” replied the couple angrily.

“Please, I am so hungry, and a fruit or two will satisfy me,” the old beggar insisted. “I know your tamarind trees are laden with most delicious fruits.”

Then, without any further ado, the old woman came near one of the large trees. She stretched out her wrinkled, skinny hand to pluck a curly thick pod hanging from one of the lower branches.
Upon seeing what the old beggar had done, the couple grew angry. They became so angry that they hurried back to their house, let their big dog loose, and set it on the poor woman. Alas the poor old woman was badly bitten.

Patiently, the old beggar bore her pain. But before turning away from that inhospitable spot, she touched the tamarind tree and, looking at the couple, said, “You shall be punished for your selfishness.” Then she went slowly on her way.

Even before the old woman was out of sight, the sky became overcast. In a short while a terrible storm broke out, and heavy rain fell through the night.

The following morning all was peaceful. The man and his wife went out for their daily round as usual. They had hardly taken a few steps when, to their surprise, instead of the tall and green tamarind trees, there stretched before their unbelieving eyes a vast expanse of water shining in the morning sun.

Still unconvinced about what had happened, the couple went forward up to the bank of what now appeared to be a natural lake. And, wonder of wonders, they saw through the transparent water the dark mass of tamarind trees still rooted to the sunken ground.

From that day on, the place became known as “Sampaloc Lake” - sampaloc being the Tagalog word for tamarind.

Tagalog version:
Ang lugar na iyon ay dating isang taniman ng mga iba't-ibang puno ng prutas. Sa isang parte nito ay mayroon isang napakalaking puno ng sampalok na nakatanim malapit sa bahay ng may-ari ng lupa. Siya ay isang matandang babae na maramot at kuripot.

Isang araw ay mayroon isang matandang lalaki na sobra ang gutom na dumating at nagmamakaawa sa matandang babae na bigyan siya ng bunga ng sampalok upang igamot sa may sakit niyang apo. Ngunit sa halip na bigyan ng maski kaunting tulong, ang maramot na matandang babae ay itinaboy ang lalaki sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahabol sa kanyang mababangis na aso. Maraming sugat ang tinamo ng matandang lalaki.

Pagkaalis niya ay biglang nagkaroon ng kasindak-sindak na ingay na sinlakas ng kulog. Ito ay sinundan ng lindol at pagbuga ng lupa at nilamon nito ang matandang babaing masama ang ugali hanggang ang buong taniman ng prutas nito ay naging isang balon na karaka ay napuno ng tubig. At simula noon ang lugar na iyon ay tinawag na "Lawa ng Sampalok".
How to get there:
From Manila (Cubao or Buendia Bus Terminal) take the Lucena - bound buses to San Pablo City. At San Pablo bus stop ride a jeep going to the town proper then take a tricycle going to Sampaloc Lake. The fastest way is to ride tricycle going to Sampaloc Lake from anywhere at San Pablo bus stop (the good thing is tricycles are everywhere).

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