(Unwinding, October 26, 2014)
(Unwinding, October 26, 2014)

Happiness should not be expensive.

 A friend invited me to join their small group (just 3 people excluding me) for just a whole day trip in a nearby municipality. Since I honestly wanted also to unwind and took some pictures myself, I did not hesitate much and agreed to join the trip. As it was just a whole day trip, we opted to just visit Pandin Lake in San Pablo City, Laguna, which was very near to our place. We also visited Yambu Lake because this lake was just few meters away from Pandin Lake.

San Pablo City was known as the City of Seven Lakes,  even though technically speaking, there were only six lakes that could be found in the area since Yambu Lake was actually within the political boundaries of a neighboring municipality, Nagcarlan. But since Yambu Lake could also be visisted through  San Pablo City, they also included it in the list of the lakes that could be visited in the city.

Among the lakes in San Pablo City, Pandin Lake was considered the cleanest as it was the best managed and utilized as an eco-tourism site. During the time of our visit, there were just, according to our raft paddler, 15 registered fish cage owners in the lake. The overall management of the lake was under the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA). They ensure that only the registered fish cage owners be allowed to operate within the premises of the lake. As a further note, the maintenance of the cleanliness and aesthetic value of the lake would not be possible without the support of the  local government, but most importantly, the community. On a daily basis, one barangay tanod roams around the lake riding a small motorized banca to check if the tourists comply with the environmental policies in the area.

A women’s organization also also help and co-manage Pandin Lake, especially its tourism activities. The organization was called Bangkera ng mga Kababaihan ng Lawa ng Pandin (Women Paddlers of Pandin Lake). This women organization basically was formed to provide livelihood to women in their community through bamboo raft paddling.

The beauty and cleanliness of the lake made it available for a lot of recreational activities. Some of which were the following:

1. Lunch over the lake

Fresh Paco (Fern) Salad with Salted egg.
Fresh Paco (Fern) Salad with Salted egg.

The best activity in Pandin Lake was the experience of having a meal on a bamboo raft in the lake itself. The wind was very relaxing. The available meal in the lake area were caught in the lake itself. These include fresh fishes and shrimps. They also serve fresh paco salad.

Very appetizing meal in a very relaxing environment = great vacation.

2. Swimming

Into the lake

As previously  mentioned, Pandin lake was the best kept lake among all the seven crater lakes in San Pablo City, and as far as the people there and the visitors were concerned, it was still suitable for swimming. the lake was very deep but everyone could still enjoy swimming on it because life vests were provided by the women paddlers’ organization, inclusive of your payment. The experience was very exciting as the bottom of the lake could not be seen and the lake was green.

3. Swing.

Proving the strength of the Lianas.
Proving the strength of the Lianas.

There were a lot of hanging lianas (woody vines) in the lake. You might try swinging like a jungleman or just opt to swing like in a children’s swing. The strength of the vine was very remarkable. It was able to carry the heaviest among us.

4. Trekking

Walking to the wrong trail going to Pandin Lake.
Walking to the wrong trail going to Pandin Lake.

You could also try a short trek along the lake or going to Yambu Lake. A pathway going to Yambu lake was made with bamboo handles. The trail going to Yambu Lake was just very short but very steep.

5. Sunbathing

bathing in the heat of the sun
bathing with the heat of the sun

If you want to get yourself tanned, you may try sunbathing under the clear sky on a bamboo raft.

Since we would also wanted to visit Sampaloc Lake, we left the area as soon as we were done with our lunch.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

Additional Notes:

  • If anyone wishes to ride the bamboo rafts, you can do it just between 6am to 5pm. Beyond 5pm was not allowable as there were no available lights in the lake.
  • As of October 26, 2014, the bamboo raft fee rate was Php180/person for a 2-hour ride while the meal was also rated Ph180/person. The meal was optional since visitors could bring their own food.
  • Since going to the lake includes a short trek, there were available guides in the parking area. The guides were mostly children who were around 12 years of age. The guide was also optional. The fee, according to one them, would be a prerogative of the visitors as there was no fix rate (As of October 26, 2014).
Travel Guide*
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Olivarez Plaza** to San Pablo City Jeep (San Pablo Bound) 1 hour
San Pablo City to Ilog (Pandin Tourist Parking Area) Jeep (Ilog bound) 20 minutes
Pandin Tourist Parking Area to Pandin Lake Foot 20 minutes
*based on actual events
**Los Banos, Laguna (College)