Imagine standing behind a crowd full of people who are taller than you. There is a person speaking in front. You want to ask something to that person but he cannot see you—the people in front are blocking his view. You cried your way through those people and finally the person notices you. Finally, you are able to ask your question and luckily, you get your answer.
That is the dilemma that Mohicap Lake faces right now. It is placed below the priority list. As the smallest among the seven crater lakes in San Pablo City, it has been overlooked compared to the others like the Sampaloc and Pandin Lakes. The development initiatives are not equally implemented to all crater lakes, with the Sampaloc and Pandin Lakes apparently receiving the most attention. The management of the San Pablo crater lakes is also affected by the lack of resources and the political dynamics prevailing in the city.
Still, it is important to develop small bodies of water like Mohicap Lake because they also have the potential to help the people around them. If given proper attention, Mohicap Lake can be a center of tourism.
As a key factor for local growth, tourism can magnify livelihood opportunities, enhance the economic status of the city, while also preserving the water resources. Promoting local growth is also a crucial factor when it comes to advancing inclusive growth—this is something that has been lacking in the Philippine economic growth.
Dr. Bing Baltazar Brillo, Associate Professor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, said that the administrative authorities, particularly the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the city government of San Pablo, must intervene to save and develop Mohicap Lake. In his 2015 study, Developing Mohicap Lake, San Pablo City, Philippines, he suggested that these government bodies must start taking action to initiate development.
To be more specific, the agencies must consider and recognize the potential of Mohicap Lake instead of exclusively prioritizing and promoting Sampaloc Lake and Pandin Lake. All seven crater lakes are ecologically threatened and equally in need of interventions.
Crafting of a zoning development plan for the lake needs to be started because this is fundamental in solving problems and inspiring other developmental initiatives. Tourism in the lake must be encouraged because it is a key factor in creating employment opportunities for the local community.
For now, Brillo suggests immediate actions that the authorities can take to start promoting ecotourism in the lake. Directions and signage from the city proper, specifically the traditional entry point, to the lake can already be installed right away. The steps going to the lake’s main entrance can also be renovated, as well as adding a permanent trail or pathway going around the lake and towards the nearby cave. Likewise, stopover stations and washrooms can also be constructed.
The authorities can also start organizing and promoting tour packages and rafting activities. Along with the activities for tourists, trainings for the locals should be conducted. The trainings can include the basics of tourism and knowledge on safety measures. Equipment such as life vests and first aid kits should also be supplied.
Mohicap Lake is the smallest among the seven crater lakes in San Pablo City, Laguna. Despite the glaring need to address its development issues, it has been receiving little attention from the LLDA and the city government of San Pablo.
If these interventions will push through, Mohicap Lake will no longer struggle to get the attention of the people. Not only will it attract tourists from other places, it will also provide livelihood to the residents living around its premises. In that ideal situation, Mohicap Lake will be a catalyst of growth and the center of sustainable development in the surrounding communities. That will be a win-win situation for all!
The study underscores the following:
(a) the ecological significance of small lakes which are abundant in the country and have long been academically ignored, as the concentration in literature are on the major lakes;
(b) the necessity of contributing socio-political studies, particularly governance and development studies, to have a better understanding of the management-development-conservation issues of small lakes, as physical and biological studies by themselves are insufficient and must be supplemented; and
(c) the discussion places Mohicap Lake in the literature map and offers a broad guide for addressing and developing small lakes in the country.