‘’Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.’’
— W. H. Auden
The world is full of mysteries. But as we go further into our technological age, that shroud is quickly growing thinner. Still, though, there are few mysteries left. An evidence that there are still places that are covered with strange things.
There is a pristine lagoon called Morupandan in Barangay Gatbo, Bacon District, Sorsogon City. Gatbo is considered as the eighth of East District’s 12 barangays (villages). It has a land area of 949 hectares and with population of 2,761. The village has three sitios (sites): Tagalwoy, Tagudtod, and Macawayan. Sitio Tagalwoy is where you can enjoy the fresh flowing water of the lagoon. For all the people residing in Gatbo, Morupandan is their main source of water whenever El Niño hits the Bicol Region.
“When we discovered this lagoon, it gave us ease. water is really important for us to survive,” Yolanda Deniega, a resident, said.
Aside from the water that the lagoon provides to the people, it is also a source of unsolved mysteries that nobody has been able explain.
“It was a wild place surrounded by huge trees before we discovered its gift to us. Indeed, it gave us hope. Before, we struggled when it comes to water but Morupandan was there to hand us over what we needed,” Benjamin Hate, an 87-year-old resident, said.
According to Yolanda, way back in 1950s, the place was planned to be renovated by owner of the land, Santiago Deniega, to be used as the cradle of irrigation. It has an overflowing water that can be used for many purposes. But the plan became useless when during the process of renovation, the abundance of it turned parched.
“It is the behavior of Pinoys to improve something they find out. So, many have attempted to fix the place especially those who are in politics,” said Hate.
In 1979, then village chief Edgar Deniega, together with his company, renovated Morupandan. It’s because they discovered that the quality of the water is potable. So, he made use of his time, effort, and money to redeem the place. According to the residents, in some documentation taken during that time, he and his company took photographs in and of the place. But Edgar was not in any of the photos. Instead, a huge wolf was captured in the same position where he stood. After two months, he died due to an unknown reason.
In 2005, Antonio Dy, a resident of Gatbo, continued the renovation that Edgar Deniega started. After two days of rehabilitation, people who fetched water in Morupandan for their everyday consumption experienced diarrhea and vomiting. Almost all the residents of Tagalwoy were brought to Sorsogon Provincial Hospital.
“The cause of the vomiting of people was the contaminated water as the doctors explained to me because I am one of the patient that time,” Yolanda stated. It was also the cause of death of Pablo Dellosa, a resident of the place.
Because of this incident, even the people who are in politics, those who intended to improve the place, never touched the place again. They were afraid of what might happen given the circumstances that happened to the people who did so.
When people pass by the lagoon, they utter, “Tabi po,” (literally “excuse me”) when passing by. In Filipino urban legends, “Tabi po” is uttered when entering a place believed to be haunted by spirits. Filipinos believe that when uttering this phrase, the spirits will not harm the visitor or the passing person.
Until now, many residents of this place experience inexplicable feelings whenever they fetch or wash their clothes in Morupandan. There are even unexplainable creatures that appeared to some visitors. But people are already used to it because they have been fetching water there for a long time.
“One of my experiences there was fetching and taking a bath as early as 5 a.m. I heard someone was walking and knocking on the door when no one was there and there was no door around. I also saw a woman standing on a huge leaf of a water lily while enjoying the flow of water,” Hate shared.
Even when every household experiences water shortage in their faucets, they have no worries because Morupandan is there to provide water to drink, to wash their clothes and, to take a bath.
“Until now, no one dares to renovate the place again. We just want to preserve it and appreciate its gift to us since we all know that we aren’t just the only creatures living on earth. Respect is so important. We have to be thankful because we have Morupandan in our place to supply us what we need,” Hate said.
Residents are left baffled about the true nature of Morupandan. What they clearly know is that the mere existence of it is absolutely a big relief to them.
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