Lake Duminagat is a crater lake located in Mt.
Malindang Natural Park, which is one of the Protected Areas in the Philippines. Two
communities are adjacent to it – Barangay LakeDuminagat, of which it is a part, and Barangay
Gandawan, which are both included in the municipality of Don Victoriano, province of
Misamis Occidental. The municipality of Don Victoriano is wholly circumscribed by the Park.
The Park represents the flora and fauna of the Zamboanga biogeographic zone.
Lake Duminagat holds a central place in the spirit life
of the Subanon people, who look on the lake as sacred and a source of healing water.
The Subanon is an indigenous people group who had lived in parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula,
starting from pre-Hispanic times, one group of which have lived in the Mt. Malindang area.
Although the Subanons had their own traditional customs and practices, they had become
enculturated by the influence of Visayan and western cultures, brought about by Visayan
settlers/businessmen and mass media.
The residents considered the lake as the dwelling
place of spirits and did not encourage fishing in the lake. It was not only the Subanons but outsiders who
considered the lake as source of healing water and to have the capacity to wash away sins.
The occurrence of many visitors to the lake, especially during the Holy Week, attested to
that belief. It was not only for this purpose that people troop to the lake but for
Lake Duminagat was a small lake, with an area of 8.04
ha, maximum depth of 20.95 m, water volume of 933,000 cu m, mean depth of 11.6 m, shoreline
length of 1,060 m, and shoreline development of 1.054. The lake supported a high diversity
of indigenous shoreline fauna and flora.
Although the area had an attractive cool climate
because of its high elevation (from 1240 to 1560 meters above sea level), it was beset by heavy
rains, bad roads, leeches, lack of food, difficult livelihood, lack of electricity, and lack of
the finer amenities of life. The major source of income of the community in the area was
gardening, a livelihood that cannot sufficiently meet the people’s basic needs.