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Do You Ever Wonder How Lake Ivae In The Highland Province Of Enga Came To Be - Here Is The Story

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

The Legend of how Magnificent Lake Ivae came into be. --------------------------------- If one happens to take a maiden trip to West Enga, the host of Porgera Gold mine, you will view this spectacular Lake just after driving pass about 50 metres off the Yaskom Resort Hotel. There, hold your breath and glance northwestward while gradually pressing the break lever. Its the mystical lake that sleeps motionless and stretching its length and width evenly throughout the treeless Sirunki basin.

Visit lake Ivae while you travel to Pogera Gold Mine Site
Evolution Of Lake Ivae In Enga Province

The evolution of Lake Ivae has a great story to tell...

About thousand years ago, there lived a duo sibling (young man and a woman). Their way of survival was exclusively through hunting and gardening. One day, the man told his sister that he would go for hunting and return after 3 days. On the third day,  the woman went to the garden to prepare dinner for her brother's return. While in the garden, a possum impersonated her brother and forced into having sex with her then disappeared. 

The woman was so disturbed and distressed as to why her own caring brother could do such a humiliating thing. She returned home and cried whole day when her brother arrived with bag full of captures. To great astonishment, the man discovered that his sister was not as usual.  He asked her what had happened but to no avail as she looked to the ground crying.  He finally decided to kill a mammoth pig, slaughtered then mumu (ground steaming) together with the captures. The girl was still crumbling down when he uncovered the mumu and apiece everything into two, then appealed to her to accept one only to end up injuring his own feelings. He packed his stake in a bilum (string bag) and launched a long hike towards east. After 30 minutes, the girl rose only to find that her portion was abandoned. She grabbed one piece and yelled while pursuing. From a distant, mountain called Mt Lapel, she noticed her brother was faded over a sinking sun. She cried out louder, "See brother, I am eating"!. But it seemed like talking to herself as the man had already gone some miles away. She gave a relentless chase to a place called Wanepos but it was another remarkable distance. She stood and hoisted the piece of meat in her palm with a deceptive mind to slow him down but that did not eventuate for the wearied woman. She  pursued while shouting and weeping in her low tone, until reaching yet another historical place called Kulipenda. From there, the man had already slipped slightly across the fancy grassland which constituted part of the natural landscape where the said lake is comfortably situated. The man was wash-out due to grueling walk so rested when the oil leached out of the bilum  started to form his base. He remained motionless while outflows kept dropping and started rising and leveled with his knees then neck and elongating its length and width until amazingly a lake had appeared. He was in the middle about to submerge while the girl arrived. looking pale and feeble already but still in her palm was the piece of meat. Sadly, only at her first glance, the young man was inundated completely in water. She tried out her luck couples of time to swim inwards but didn't go down well with the force of water which swept her offshore. Mystically, the regretful woman was transformed into natural spirit, today referred to as popular (Masalai of Lake Ivae).

Sometime in 1990, two young men were drawn in the lake when trying to drift on an inflated car tube towards a lodge on the bay. One of the bodies was disappeared and never retrieved. The villagers attributed it to the natural spirit of the lake.

One peculiar phenomena about this lake is that it acts as a conduit for Muri Creek who without blending with the lake waters usually streams out on the other end. The effluent (outflow) is indeed the origin of what is Mighty Lai River that joins tails with her neighboring  Sepik River before mixing with the Bismarck sea.

The Lake Ivae gives one of the impressive views for tourists who may find reservations at the Grand Yaskom Hotel, and main balcony to be stared if you vibe and look out towards sun setting in the West. From there, if you still want to continue your adventure, you may drive slightly downhill until end your trip at the world's third largest Porgera gold mine which is situated adversely on the rugged edge of Tropical Rainforest of the New Guinea Region.

Now that Enga province is venturing into tourism industry to diversify its revenue generating mechanism, this splendorous natural scene will  be one of the glaring features and can offer niche  for tourists who maybe in pursuit of unique eco-cultural  prospects in Enga Province of PNG. Generally speaking, people in this part of the region are hospitable and generous although they have their own share of problems like everyone else in the world.

Picture 1: Lake Ivae sleeps comfortably on the Sirunki basin as viewed from the Sir Okuk Highway.

The author of this article can be contacted on Email: for series of similar features about the Enga Province.

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