The Philippines’ largest lake, with an area of 356 square miles (922 square kilometers), is Laguna de Bay, on the island of Luzon.
With an approximate total surface area of 900 square kilometers, Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines covering the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, and some towns in Batangas, Cavite, Quezon and cities in Metro Manila.
In ancient times, since there are about 21 major tributary river systems flowing into the lake making it wealthy with natural resources endowed with fish, shrimps, and shellfish, early Filipinos established communities and developed their own fishing culture surrounding the freshwater lake.
Because of the richness of the lake, there are several artifacts found in the sites of Laguna de Bay used by the ancient Filipinos, including fishermen and farmers, who introduced tools to ease the livelihood in terms of hunting, preparing of food, and their ways of life.
Below are some of the items that reveal the rich culture of early Filipinos found in the surrounding communities of Laguna de Bay even before the arrival of the Spaniards:
1. Paleolithic stone tools (c. 50,000 to 20,000 years ago) found in Baras River Valley in Rizal. Our ancestors used these tools to form spears by sharpening the ends of the stones in order for them to hunt and prepare foods.
2. Neolithic horned bark cloth beater (c. 500 to 200 BCE) a stone tool from Tanay, Rizal is used for the preparation of bark cloth by pounding the tree bark continuously to loosen and soften the pulp until it is ready for use a body covering.
3. Angono Petroglyphs are believed to be the oldest art form in the Philippines that can be found in Angono, Rizal. The carvings engraved on the rock are the symbols of recording our ancestors’ data and activities in their lives by using stick figures.