San Pablo, Laguna | The Search for the Seven Lakes

What to do on a Sunday when you have a pair of itchy feet and been longing to get away from the city, at least for a few hours? Come with me and let us search for the Seven Lakes in San Pablo City (SPC), Laguna… for I’ve yet to find the four others.

Map of the 7 Lakes from Wikipedia
Map of the 7 Lakes from Wikipedia

The first time I learned about the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, Laguna, I immediately got interested. When I saw pictures of these lakes, my interest grew deeper that I included it on my list of places to visit this year, and it couldn’t wait any longer. So for the last week of October ’12, Lakbay Xiomai was in San Pablo, Laguna, searching for the Seven Lakes: Sampaloc Lake, Twin lakes Pandin and Yambo, Bunot Lake, Palakpakin Lake, Kalibato Lake, and Mohicap Lake. I invited my friend EJ, another photography enthusiast like myself, to join me in this exciting trip. Mind you, we were both San Pablo, Laguna virgins… so we really had no idea where to start, let alone where to stop.

1. Sampaloc Lake

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Seven Lakes, Sampaloc Lake - View of Mt Makiling
View of Mt Makiling | Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

The first lake we visited was the Sampaloc Lake. The Sampaloc Lake is the nearest from the city and most visited among the seven lakes.  There are food stalls and restaurants by the bank, so getting hungry is not a problem, just an option. There are also bikes for hire — which I think is great because there are not too many parks here in the Metro where you can find bikes for hire — and a lot of people.

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo Laguna - Seven Lakes, Sampaloc Lake
Kids swimming in the lake. | Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

I cannot really say if it was the bed weather that made the water look kind of dull, or it really was dull and gray… and dirty. In defense for the lake: considering the number of people visiting the lake in a day, it cannot be helped but to get polluted… .

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo Laguna - Seven Lakes, Sampaloc Lake - Fishpens
Fish pens. | Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

2. Bunot Lake

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Seven Lakes, Bunot Lake 1
Bunot Lake in San Pablo, Laguna

Just a few minutes from Sampaloc Lake is where the Bunot Lake lies. We hired a tricycle to get us to the Bunot Lake as suggested by a local — you cannot go wrong when you ask the locals for directions as they of course know the best route around the area, so you better be madaldal and makapal ang mukha.

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Seven Lakes, Bunot Lake - Peaceful and dog
Peaceful. | Bunot Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

Bunot Lake is significantly smaller than Sampaloc Lake, and surrounded with residential houses and there’s nothing much to see around — just the lake itself and some trees. For me, it looks more of a huge fish pond than a tourist spot. But compared to Sampaloc Lake, it is more peaceful and considerably cleaner, if not for the rotting bamboos used for fish pens, other than that, all is good.

3. Pandin Lake

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Pandin Lake - coconuts
The Pandin Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

The tricycle driver who helped us to get to Bunot Lake asked if we were to take pictures of the seven lakes and we said yes. So he suggested that we visit the twin lakes, Pandin and Yambo Lakes. He even gave us directions on how to get there. So right after Bunot Lake, we headed to the Pandin Lake… but there was just one problem: the first local we asked for direction did not know which way Pandin was. Until we met Manang Buko Juice who told us to ride a jeepney bound for Nagcarlan and it would take us to the Pandin Lake.

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Pandin Lake - higher ground
The view of the Pandin Lake from a higher ground. | Pandin Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

So after a few minutes, we were at the entrance of the Pandin Lake. We had to walk, half a kilometer I surmise,  a trail that was kind of confusing. But you can always find people going back and forth and ask them of the right path. It took us about 10 to 15 minutes of walk to reach the lake.

Among the three lakes we’d seen so far, Pandin Lake was the most scenic and cleanest. The lake is surrounded with coconut trees and engulfed by mountains. Aside from the lake itself, the main attraction here is the water rafting (P180.00 / person), the food is optional (add another P180.00 / person). It would have been better if we tried it, if only we were not in a tight budget. I think the other side of the lake looks great as well.

Lakbay Xiomai | San Pablo, Laguna - Pandin Lake Green water rafting
Green water rafting in Pandin Lake. | Pandin Lake, San Pablo, Laguna

We weren’t able to check the Yambo Lake, although it would be just a few minutes of walk, because of the bad weather — it was raining again (may balat yata ako sa p’wet at laging umuulan pag dumadalaw ako sa Laguna). The kids at Pandin Lake offered us their service as our giya (guide). I didn’t ask how much it would cost us but I asked how long it would take us to reach the Yambo Lake. They said it would just take us at least 3 minutes: 2 minutes to the foot of the mountain, and another one minute to climb it and see the lake, from up there, I guess. It would not be a hassle to us and would not take much of our time, I thought, but my friend refused when he learned that it was identical to the Pandin Lake (whoa, they really are twins! LOL!). When I got home, I read an article about Pandin and Yambo Lakes — from Pandin Lake, it would take you about 30 minutes of walk to reach Yambo Lake, contrary to what the kids told us. Haha! Oh well, I guess we made the right decision not to pursue Yambo Lake. Perhaps next time when the weather is fine — then the search for the Seven Lakes resumes! 🙂

Next Stop: NAGCARLAN UNDERGROUND CEMETERY

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m happy that your post is actually written with some feeling and heart.

  2. Did you ever finish your tour of all the lakes?

    1. iamxiomai says:

      Hi, Feeling Environmentalist!
      Wow! Ang tagal na ng comment mo, ngayon ko lang marereplyan! Haha! Anyway, no, I have never found time to finish this “search” or at least visit San Pablo again since this. Huhu. Sana soon. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

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