Lake Buhi is known for being home to the tiniest edible fish in the world, “Sinarapan,” and the best “Tilapia” fish in the Philippines. The unique character of this lake is that it is a body of water surrounded by mountains that looks like a giant volcano crater from an airplane altitude view; actually, it is a crater lake as it is called.
The crater lake tag is derived from the historical origin of how it was formed as a lake. Accordingly, it began during the strongest and the most destructive eruption of Mount Sumagang or Mount Asog, standing beside or fronting the lake location.
During the eruption, the volcano’s southern side collapsed, rolling the debris of the mountain, the magma, and lava towards the Buhi town side.
The eroded debris of the volcano formed a crater-like hole blocking the natural passage of the water flowing from the mountains nearby. The blockade holds the water, which turns it into a lake.
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Different mountain ranges surround the lake. On the southeastern side are the Buhi, Camarines Sur, and the mountain sides of Ligao and Malinao of the province of Albay. On the eastern side are Tiwi, Albay, and Sagῆay Camarines Sur mountain ranges. While on the northern side, the Mount Sumagang range of Iriga City.
Visitors can enjoy viewing the serene and pristine beauty of the lake, feeling the soft and cold breezes from the mountains, and the gentle splashing sound of the waves as they kiss the rocks on the shoreline.
The mix of geological and historical background is one reason that draws the curiosity of the visitors coming to the place, aside from the underrated beauty one can see in its surroundings.
Thousands of visitors flocked to satisfy their inquiries about the town, the lake, and the people.
Tiniest Edible Fish – Sinarapan (Mistichthys luzonehsis)
The presence of this fish is attributed to the unique character of the lake, as the only body of water in the world where such species of freshwater fish can be found. People often mistake this fish for “Tabios”; however, Sinarapan and Tabios are different fish species. Tabios has its scientific name of Pandaka Pygmaea, while Sinarapan is Mistichthys luzonehsis.
Tabios is common and found in several bodies of fresh water, like creeks, streams, and rivers in the Philippines. Sinarapan is only in Buhi Lake.
One can hardly see this fish swimming in the water because of its tiny size and transparent request timeoucolor.
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Other than being home to the tiniest edible fish, Buhi Lake is also known as the home to the best Tilapia fish in the Philippines. Most tilapia are bought in most places in the Philippines; when cleaning is not thoroughly done, they taste and smell like swampy and muddy. For the tilapia from Buhi, they don’t because the lakebed does not consist of mud wallows; volcanic sands, instead.
Tilapia production has become a significant source of income for the Buhi town, contributing a large share of its economy. However, it also threatens the tiniest fish; they live in the same lake, and Sinarapan becomes prey to tilapias. This is one of the factors why the decrease of the Sinarapan population in the lake is notably evident now, compared to before.
Coming to the lake is never a problem because it is right beside the town proper of Buhi and has access roads on its circumferential shoreline.