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What Lies Beneath
by Troy Bernardo

            A document published by the US Naval Medical Research Station (Watt and Theakston) in 1985 recorded, in Taal Lake, the "first series of sea snake bites occurring in freshwater," thus defining it as an oxymoron: freshwater sea snake bite. The record also proved eight confirmed bites and one death in a small fishing village on its shore, and in three of the eight cases, antibodies to the Hydrophis venom were detected. These snakes often surface. 

            Another creature in Taal Lake is the fish called maliputo and tawilis, which both share saltwater fish-like characteristics. Tawilis , according to Peter J.P. Whitehead of the British Museum of Natural History, "is the only species of Sardinella that is found mainly in fresh water." Sharks, too, were said to have swum once in the lake. Dr. Dioscoro Rabor studied their biology personally before overfishing completely eradicated the shark population in the 1930s. Third, and perhaps most interesting, are the sunken pre-Spanish towns. The first and second sites of Taal Town, and even the second site of Lipa during the early 1600s can be found on Taal Lake’s floor. Visibility, however, is usually zero.

Lake Placid
            Another lake to explore is Crater Lake, a small pool thick with a diluted form of sulfuric acid with high concentration of boron, magnesium, aluminum and sodium in salt form, found at the crater of Tall Volcano. Until 1965, most major eruptions were from this main crater. The first recorded scuba dive inside Crater Lake was made in 1986 by Hargrove and his team, which also resulted in the exploration of a tiny island in the lake. Contrary to what people think, one can actually take a dip in Crater Lake. Just remember - because of its wicked brew - not to stay too long.

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