This was the first time that I was able to take an aerial photo of Laguna de Bay---well, at least a part of Laguna de Bay. The heavily populated area on the lower left of the photo is part of Taguig City. The superhighway at the edge of the lake is part of C6, a beltway that will connect the southern provinces to the northern provinces of Luzon without passing Metro Manila.
Laguna de Bay is the largest inland body of freshwater in the Philippines with a total area of 95,000 hectares, with an average depth of 2.8 meters and maximum depth of 20 meters. It has a 238-kilometer shoreline that covers 49 municipalities and 12 cities in 3 provinces. 21 tributaries drain into Laguna de Bay and the only outlet of the lake is the Napindan Channel that merges with Marikina River and formed the Pasig River, which meanders along a 24-kilometer course and eventually discharging into Manila Bay.
The lake supports millions of people living in its watershed. People depend on it for food, transportation, irrigation, among others. Fishery and aquaculture are major industries in lakeshore communities, and the lake is the primary source of freshwater fish in the country. Laguna de Bay also serves as a reservoir for flood waters to minimize flooding in Metro Manila during rainy season and one of the sources of water supply. The lake is home to a variety of organisms, 31 species of fish, 269 species of plants and habitat for various species of birds. About 48% of flowering plants and ferns endemic to the Philippines are found by the lake.
Because of the lake's importance in the development of towns and cities surrounding it, the water quality and general condition of Laguna de Bay are closely monitored. But environmental issues brought about by rapid population growth, land conversion, industrialization and over-fishing are slowly killing the lake. A retired University of the Philippines professor was quoted years ago that the coliform level in the lake is too high "our microbiologists couldn't count it anymore."