CABIAO, Nueva Ecija -- The municipal government here is eyeing to convert the 38-hectare Nabao Lake into a premier tourist destination by putting up a floating market and hold dragon boat race festivals similar to those made popular in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mayor Ramil B. Rivera said that the Nabao Lake, as part of the town’s development plan under his new administration, will be turned into a major tourism hub in southern Nueva Ecija starting with the floating market similar to those in Bangkok.
He said the master plan for the development of the Nabao Lake is now being undertaken by experts from the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST).
Rivera said they are also eyeing to organize dragon boat races and other water sports activities to make the Nabao Lake a prime getaway haven for fun and leisure.
The floating market will be patterned after the Damnaen Saduak Floating Market (DSFM), the Amphawa FM, the Talin Chan FM, the Khong Lat Mayom FM and the Bang Nam Pheung FM which have been attracting tourists in Thailand.
The five would offer a carnival-like atmosphere with a wide array of goods, snack house and live music to keep tourists in high spirits. They are considered as the perfect antidote to the shopping mall culture spreading across Bangkok.
Instead of international brands and franchise restos, the floating markets offer local items, mostly crafted by skilled artisans, making them popular to the hip-hop genre.
Rivera said a 210-meter portion of the lake will be cleared for road-widening as part of a plan to set up souvenir shops, food courts and two zip lines.
“Hopefully, we can open up Nabao Lake to tourists within this year,” he said, adding that once operational, it could provide jobs to at least 300 families.
The lake, also known as “Lawa ng Nabao,” located in Bgys. Sta. Rita and San Carlos, has become popular for boating and fishing, with a panoramic view of Mt. Arayat serving as backdrop.
A monument of General Mariano Llanera stands in front of the municipal hall where a tablet shows the names of those who took part in the rebellion against the Spaniards.
Aside from the lake and Llanera, the housing site of the Gawad Kalinga in Bgy. San Carlos also offers a site for picnics, sightseeing and family bonding.