Lake Bito, MacArthur, Leyte

Driving 50 km south of Tacloban City for about an hour’s time, one reaches the municipality of MacArthur, Leyte. Driving further inland towards the west for another 6 km of yet unpaved barangay roads, one reaches the quiet and rural barangay of Villa Imelda and the famous Lake Bito.

Surrounded by rice paddies, coconuts and fruit trees set against a forested background, Lake Bito is a freshwater lake with marshes and reeds covering an area of 126 hectares. The lake is fed by several small streams and has a maximum depth of 15 m.

There used to be crocodiles in the lake.

German ethnologist Fedor Jagor, writing over 100 years ago, says of Lake Bito:

“The principal employment of our hosts appeared to be fishing, which is so productive that the roughest apparatus is sufficient. There was not a single boat, but only loosely-bound rafts of bamboo, on which the fishers, sinking, as we ourselves did on our raft, half a foot deep, moved about amongst the crocodiles, which I never beheld in such numbers and of so large a size as in this lake. Some swam about on the surface with their backs projecting out of the water. It was striking to see the complete indifference with which even two little girls waded in the water in the face of the great monsters. Fortunately the latter appeared to be satisfied with their ample rations of fish”.

Today, Lake Bito brims with fish pens and cages, cultivating mainly tilapia with a few pens specializing in carp and bangus. Locals are also able to harvest from the lake freshwater shrimps and hito or eel.

I’d like to think there are no more crocodiles here. Sayang. Unless there are descendants turned off by politics and didn’t run for office. 😉

With additional photos by Ludette Ruiz 🙂

~ by gerryruiz on 6 April 2008.

27 Responses to “Lake Bito, MacArthur, Leyte”

  1. nice pics, sir! i like the empty boat shot.

  2. I always check your photoblog for new pictures like these. I continue to discover Leyte through your lens. I think everybody here would be thrilled to have another AVP for the Miss An Maglipayon USA next year but this time with pictures of Leyte and Samar sights.

  3. No probs, Jerome! 🙂

  4. Hello Mr. Gerry, I am a VSU-AC student and I’m conducting an undergrad thesis on the eutrophication status of Lake Bito. I would like to request if you have an aerial view of Lake Bito, because I need one for the data collection procedure. I’ve been looking for it but until now still I can’t find one. Please help me on this, sir!

  5. Salamat po Sir, sa direksyon papuntang Bito. Natapos ko rin po yong thesis ko. Nutrient status po yung thesis ko, sa Bito at Danao.

  6. Hello Gerry, thanks a lot for your wonderful exposure about our place. You know, that picture of the empty boat – that’s our house itself! I really salute you for that wonderful picture. Thanks and I hope that you’ll continue your nice job…

  7. I also like the empty boat pic. Looks HDR to me, is it? I’m from MacArthur, a fellow SSCer, and also a photography enthusiast. It’s a shame that I’ve been shooting in different places but I haven’t shot anything worthwhile in my hometown. I’ll try to explore the place next time I’m there. Thanks for sharing these pics to us. Jia you! 🙂

  8. Mr. Gerry Ruiz should be conferred this award: ‘Official Photographer’ for Eastern Visayas!

    With regards to Bito Lake, I hope the local government will initiate the preservation of its environment by disallowing construction of fish pens within the lake but instead develop it as tourism haven – allowing construction of cottages for picnic in order to provide livelihood to fishermen. If the area is safe to swim it will attract plenty of tourists to the area.

    Aside from that, the LGU should start developing real estate in the area exclusively to resorts and hotel developers. Private investors will come in and provide jobs to local folks.

  9. mr gerryruiz, salamat po sa mga picture na nakita ko. ang laki na nang ipinagbago nang lake. taga barrio danao po ako pero hinde ko na kasi nakita yan lake bito for 20 years na or more. kaya parang na-alis nang kaunti ang pag ka-home sick ko dahil nakita ko yong lugar kung saan ako lumaki. maraming salamat po.

  10. Mr. Gerry Ruiz, Thank you for sharing these beautiful views of Lake Bito. I was born and raised in Danao and my mother still lives there with the rest of the family. I love to see the photos of the place where I grew up. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    Keep up the good work. 🙂 your friend in ALASKA USA

  11. Sir Gerry, Lake Bito is one of the places which I will never forget… I was born in danao then transfered to the the town proper in 1983. Lake Bito caters to people from different walks of life. Kakaiba ang lasa ng tilapia doon compared to those in Manila… I still remember the story on how Lake Bito was created… according to my late grandfather Mayor Fortunato Moquia Barquin, Lake Bito was formed by nature thru a typhoon. Until now locals believe there is mermaid in that place, full of mysterious acts… Sir, hope to see you In April; I’m a freelance photographer here in Kuwait. Maupay ng adlaw ha iyo ngatanan, nga labi na it im famiily.

  12. Sir Gerry, isa po ako sa naninirahan sa Danao. Ngayon ko lang po nakita ang blog niyo… napakaganda… Di ko lubos maisip na my isang tulad mo ang naka appreciate ng aking kinalakihang lugar… Napakaganda talaga… Ipinag-mamalaki ko talaga ang aking lugar… Thanks, sir Gerry and Godbless po!

  13. hi, sir Gerry, wow! ang cute naman ng kuha nyo sa bestfriend ko… nag-sasagwan…

  14. Hi, Sir, is this also accessible from Burauen, Leyte?

    I remember during elementary years our schoolmates hiked and camped in this area but unfortunately, hindi ako nakasama. My tita did not permit me to join the excursion. But my classmates said they hiked from Cantimawa to Marabong and reached this place… I just don’t know if it’s true. 🙂 Just curious if it’s possible na ma-access this place from Burauen. Thanks.

  15. Gerry, thanks to your pictures, a visit to Leyte-Samar is now part of my bucket list.

  16. hi gerry, thanks for the pix and info’s. just a few questions, how good or bad is that barangay road? any public transportation going up there, habal-habal etc?
    another lake and surrounding to explore, i’m more interested in the primary forest with flora and faura.

    • hi ron, thanks for writing.
      let me put it this way, my honda civic car didn’t complain at all w/ the brgy road. 😉 i’m not sure but i suppose there’s habal-habal servicing the people living in the brgy.
      sorry about the surrounding area, i’m not an expert on this but one thing i know is that lake bito is in the list of the country’s wetlands where migratory birds “stop over.”

  17. thanks gerry,
    sounds like the road is a bit better than the one going up to lake mahagnao. from what i saw on your pix, the forest seems pretty much intact there.
    thanks for the info and all!

  18. hi sir jerry,pwd po bng mkkuha ng info regarding lake bito if what are the species found in that lake?(either fishes,molluscs,crustaceans and etc…)need ko lng po sa study ko…thank…

  19. weee… lugar namin ‘to, a… kilala ko yung nasa banka na babae… si elena.. ahahaha…kung hindi dahil sa project di ko madidiscover ‘tong site na ‘to….

  20. i was there in october of 2010, it’s the hometown of my wife. it’s truly a beautiful place and the people are extremely nice. but it’s a hot and humid place.

  21. This place is located at Brgy. Villa Imelda, MacArthur, Leyte. This is my hometown and I love this place so much.

  22. very peaceful yung kuha ng mga pphotos…i love looking at them and i just realize how beautiful my birthplace is…ang kuiit ng mga starring sa photos i guess they are grown up this time already…hehe

  23. Wow!! this is where I grew up! I miss this place! My family, relatives and friends still live here. I have a lot of childhood memories of this place… I remember swimming with my friends and fishing. I also have a sad memory here – my little brother who drowned. Although he was initially revived, after a couple of weeks he died. That was truly sad.:( Lots of mysteries here according to old people of this little baranggay. But behind all of these mysteries, we have the best TILAPIA in the world, in my opinion!!! hehe Tnx Sir Gerry for sharing these beautiful pictures of my beloved place. Greetings from Lakewood, Colorado! Mabuhay po kayo!!! 🙂

  24. Sanay ingatan ng mga taga Villa Imelda ang Lake Bito, sapagkat yan ang kayamanan ninyo na hindi mananakaw ng kahit na sino man. Yan ang biyaya ng Diyos sa inyo. SALAMAT PO! galing kay Ismael Pesic ang mensahing ito na naninirahan din sa lugar na yan 🙂

  25. Hi sir Gerry… I’m Naume Belleza one of the residents of Brgy. Villa Imelda. I just wanna say thank you about the blog of our place.. it makes me proud. I hope na makilala ang place namin not just here in Leyte but in the whole Philippines.

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