The municipality of Ibaan, Batangas is basically an agricultural area. Most of the people here get their means living through farming, and this is evident by a wide acre of land dedicated to agricultural products. Although there’s only a little sign of industrialization and commercialization in the area, they can still be admired for being able to protect their natural resources since there are still remaining rivers that free flowing around the municipality. But one of the things that the Ibaaños can really be proud of is its water spring, the Himamawo Spring, which can be found in south west of Barangay Malainin, near Soro-soro mountain.
Path to Glory
Himamawo Spring is actually six kilometers away from the town proper (3 kilometers from town proper to Barangay Malainin and another 3 kilometers from main barangay road to the spring itself) and sits peacefully in the heart of the tropical rain forest in Sitio. From barabgay road, it can be reached through a motorcycle or any four-wheeled vehicle. But of course, the traditional way cow-pulled sledge is still the best way to get there for you to have a better view of wonderful agricultural landscape including sugarcane plants, lush bamboo trees, and Indian mango trees lined up on both sides of the road leading to Himamawo Spring. And more importantly, make sure your camera lens won’t miss some herds of cattle chatting with white tagak birds in the middle of the field littered with balatong, kibal, kadyos and others. During rainy days, the rough rode rubbished with green sharp kugon and talahib grass can be some real pain on back. But comes summer, the path can be as clear as a combed field.
Upon reaching the entrance of the tropical rain forest, real adventure begins as you traverse through an almost 140 degree down hill path in the middle different wild fruit-bearing trees with their giant roots standing magnificently, providing shade from the sun alongside the way. After an almost 10 minute walk down, you’ll land on a constructed flat form with some 10 – 15 steps down to the spring itself. It’s about time that you take off your shoes and clothes and revitalize yourself with the cool, clear, sweet, and refreshing spring water.
Cradle of Life
According to Mr. Fredo Magnaye, a barangay councilor in Barangay Malainin, the Himamawo Spring has served its purpose for almost 100 years. It has been the source of life and potable drinking water to the people of barangay during the earlier times. As early as around 1908, people would fetch water from the spring using bungbong, and then bring them uphill either by carrying them on their shoulders or by balagwit. Aside from being a source of potable water, farmers leaned heavily on the said spring to water their agricultural plants and as drinking water for their cattle. Although years have passed and people began using deep well and faucets as a source of water, the spring remains vital to the lives of the people living near and around it either for household or agricultural use.
Trapping Water In A Box
Since the water flow freely from the spring itself, a big portion of the water runs through until it reaches the San-an river. In order to make a good use of the water and to provide full enjoyment of this nature’s gift to the people, in 2007, walls were built around the spring together with stairs from the flat form leading down to the spring itself. Two breakwaters were also built to trap the water. And once they are filled with water, a natural swimming pool is then made.
The Himamawo Spring boasts one small and one big spring which provides a greater surge of water. To provide direction to the water, biniyak na kawayan was originally placed at the mouth or main source of the spring water itself. But due to its poor characteristics, people decided to use PVC pipes instead.
Spring water is really a great wonder of the nature. In the face of industrialization and commercialization, it’s hard to find one. And Barangay Malainin is truly blessed for having the Himamawo Spring. Hopefully, as I cross my fingers, the people and the elected officials will do their part in keeping and protecting this marvelous hidden treasure.
Special thanks to Sir Fredo Magnaye, Sir Romy, and to the people of Barangay Malainin.