The Unresolved Mystery of Agus Pawod Spring

One of the many urban legends I grew up with was something untold in the books. It was the Legend of Agus Pawod Spring in Agus, Lapu-Lapu City. My mother told me the story in passé when we were eating breakfast one Wednesday morning. 
"Revisiting Agus Pawod Spring and this is what I found out."

"I used to pass by the spring when I was young. When my friends and I were done from school, we would walk towards Pawod and would get ready to take a dip on its water," she started telling me her experience about the spring. 
"But this spring never ran out of water," she continued.

My mother was born on 1949. It was months before Elpidio Quirino won the Presidential Election and everything thereafter took place in history. When she was around 14 years old, she spent most of her time helping my grandmother to sell fish. It was that moment when she learned about Pawod Spring. 

"But do you know the story behind the spring?" she suddenly caught my interest reason why we never left the dining table. 
"What about it, Ma?" I asked. 
"The signboard will never get you lost."

Then the story...

"Pawod as I understand it is a Bisaya term that means a certain material that binds nipa leaves together to make a roof. As for why it is called "Pawod", I am not certain," my mom started the story. 

"If your grandfather were still around today, he would be the best person to ask about it. He was the one who told me about the living creature living in its waters. It was a giant octopus which seizes people especially during the high noon. Not a trace was found from them once they were taken," and it was followed by a dramatic trailing of her voice. 

I asked her again, "Have you heard stories that these people were really dead?"
"Not that I knew of," she answered with all her honesty. 
"Her waters clean and clear"

"But there is another story people believed to be true," my mother opened up again while taking in the cucumber I prepared for us. I kept silent. I waited for her to continue which luckily she was able to grasp my expression. 

"Agus Pawod Spring never ran out of water. There is a portion where it is too deep near the crevice of the cave, which I never ventured when I was out there swimming."
"Did it scare you?" I asked her while eager to hear her answer. 
"Not really. The cave is huge and the water was not clear nor I couldn't really dive down. I was told that the water was connected to the ones in Langob. It is the place in Poblacion where the Chapel of Virgen Mary is situated," she stated it in a factual manner.

I looked up Google Maps about the distance between the two barangays. Poblacion is the center of Lapu-Lapu City while Agus is 7.5 kilometers away. If my mother was right, it would be a long underground tunnel left to be discovered. 

"Has anybody ventured that?" my curiosity heightened.
"I hope there was. If somebody did then that would be one of the greatest discoveries here in our city. Imagine a long underground fresh water source. But I am not so sure if somebody really did it."
"Do you really mean that Agus Pawod Spring is a pure fresh water spring?" I tracked away from the topic and asked rather a silly question. 
"Jek, it is a spring. Yes. It is a body of fresh water."
"But the sea is just merely 2 kilometers away. Maybe it is brackish," I reasoned. 
"It is fresh," my mom concluded. 

So why did I open up about Agus Pawod Spring?

Flashback 2017.
As  a travel blogger, I build my principle with honesty. What I see is what I write. What I experience is what I say. For years of travelling, I learned that I must speak from my heart and be genuine with my feelings. My blog isn't for the masses. But rather it always delivers a story of awareness and advocacy. Sometimes I become a boring storyteller and unrelatable. My words maybe too simple to brand me as a writer but one thing I am always proud of, I speak the truth no matter how unpleasant it can go. 

Then the picture of Agus Pawod Spring wayback 2017. Edited. Vibrant. Clean. Untouched.
I couldn't hold myself but commented on the post. Then the thread went on. I vowed to myself that it was not the real situation of the spring. The real one was dumped with garbage. Its waters filled with rubbish and plastics. I saw dirty waters. I saw the place dying. 

It was so contrary from the picture uploaded by a certain photographer in a certain social media platform. There was a heated discussion between him and me. At the end of it, we agreed to disagree. Then he deleted his comments. 

But it brought about change for Agus Pawod Spring. Through that discussion, it raised awareness and eventually a clean-up drive was conceived. The city finally took actions and within a year, it gained its rightful reputation as a potential tourist destination. 

One Year After.
A year since the synergistic actions of Barangay Agus and Lapu-Lapu City were done, I felt triumphant about Nature's recovery. 

This year, while walking my way home from Maribago to Agus, I intentionally passed by Agus Pawod Spring. Children were swimmimg. Two men were resting under the tree shade. And barangay cleaners were sweeping near the entrance path. 

I smiled at the two men. I pretended that I knew nothing about the place. Then we engaged into a conversation. They informed me about the spring. How the government supported its clean-up drive and its plans to make it as a tourist destination. I thanked both men as I went down some more steps while looking at the children enjoying their morning swim. 
"A contented selfie before leaving the spring."

I sat down in silence. I looked at the water as it reflected an image of a contented girl. Before I bid goodbye to Agus Pawod Spring that day, I thanked her for keeping her waters alive and fresh. I thanked her for not dying amid the pollution and abuses she experienced in the hands of the cruel humans. I thanked the spring for keeping her mystery unsolved. 

Thoughts and tips if you happen to stop by Agus Pawod Spring:
1. I was told that the rehabilitation started a year ago (2017) and the city government has plans to renovate the spring. I dread about the word renovation. Surely, they wouldn't harm the trees that surrounded the spring. Surely, they wouldn't break and pulverize the hard coral rocks that made up the spring. Surely, they would also bear in mind that preservation of the environment shouldn't be at stake in terms of development. 
2. I applaud the maintenance of cleanliness of the area. Barangay Agus did a great job for this. I hope that the people will also take care of the place. 
3. The mysteries of Agus Pawod Spring remain as mysteries. If there is one that is solved, it would be that people and the government worked together to turn back nature's glory as it deserves. 
4. One day, I saw a foreign diver who just had its dive. i couldn't help myself but wonder what really lies down underneath its waters. 

Getting There:
1. If you are a commuter and you from Cebu or Mandaue City, take a jeepney in Parkmall with Soong-Maribago sign. Ask the kind driver to drop you off Sitio Malinaw (Malinao) junction. Agus Pawod Spring is just located along Manuel L. Quezon National Highway. It already has a signboard and city's branding colors. Fare is at 16.00 pesos. 
2. No Entrance Fee.
3. You can take another trip across the road. There is a beach less than a kilometer away. There are food stalls in case you feel hungry.
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