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Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Visit to Lake Pandin

Last Saturday, my friends and I visited San Pablo City to visit its hidden beauties.  One of our stops was Lake Pandin.

San Pablo City is the City of Seven Lakes because, well, it has seven lakes.

We rented a van so it was not so hard to find the place. Besides, one of our friends had already made an ocular of the place, and besides, she resides in San Pablo City.  About ten minutes from the cathedral, there was a big sign on the left with "Welcome to Lake Pandin."  There's a small parking lot (P50.00) and there are boys who asked us if we want to have a guide to Lake Pandin.  Since our friend knows the way already, we went off on our own.

The trek is about 20 minutes- make it 30 minutes including the chicka, the picture-picture portion, and the occasional stretching in between. We started our trek at around 11 so, the sun was really shining oh so brightly already.

Ayan, picture picture muna...
There's a ranch halfway to the lake because there were visible signs everywhere...

I suppose they've got a problem with keeping the path to the lake clean. There were uh, horse poop every few meters or so.

So back to Lake Pandin... There's a package being offered. One will ride the balsa, a raft, and there's lunch prepared. For P380, it's is quite afforadble - plus, the package lasts about two hours - you go from the shore to the end of the lake, and to the side, trek a bit, up to a place which overlooks Lake Pandin's twin lake, Lake Yambu. According to the story, the two lakes were named after two lovers. According to the legend, a woman, Pandin, was cursed and was not allowed to step on the earth or something terrible would befall her.  Her lover, Yambu (Yambo) did not know of the curse and asked made Pandin step on earth.  A terrible noise came and the earth shook and a heavy rain caused the area to be flooded and turned the place into twin lakes, separated from each other by a small strip of land. (source: wikipedia)

Oh, there were bikers who biked their way to the steep path to Lake Pandin.

Here's the food:

Shrimp in Coconut Shrimp - muy delicioso!
The shrimps, according to the bangkero, came from the lake itself.
Grilled Tilapia
Paco Salad
The lunch was great!! I love the shrimps - they are freshwater shrimps (very small, no need to peel off the skin), found in the lake, according to our bangkero. There was water and bananas too.

We reached the end of the lake, and there was a grotto, and a spring. The water tasted gooooood!! Better than the bottled water which was served to us.

We went to one side, and hopped off the balsa and climbed up a steep path to see Lake Yambu.

But the climb- about 10 minutes - was so worth it because of the view.

You could also rent a balsa  and paddle around Lake Yambu if you like. I just forgot to ask how much the rent is.

One just has to be careful when walking on the balsa because it's slippery and quite old.  Hubby slipped because a bamboo panel broke under his weight and his left leg got stuck in between the bamboo panels. Good thing his skin was only scraped.

There are three people who pull/paddle the balsa. Before leaving, some ladies offer cassava cake and halo-halo for P25.00.  Not bad. Just don't expect creamy goodness delight. But to help the locals, I suggest that you buy from them. They offer souvenirs too- coinbanks made of real coconuts, necklaces, bracelets.

Now who would have thought that such a beauty exists here and it took me 37 years to visit this place, considering the many times I've been to San Pablo City.

The water in the lake is green and murky. The bangkeros/bangkera say that it's from fish food from other lakes that seeped into the lake. While Lake Pandin is a virgin lake, meaning, it has never been home to any fish farm, according to another friend from San Pablo, the fish food coming other lakes somehow seep underground, hence the murky/greenish tinge.

The tour in Lake Pandin is a pivate undertaking, and we were told that they just pay taxes to the local government. The place has a lot of potential. I appreciate its unadulterated beauty and simplicity. I hope you can visit too.  It's very serene and there aren't too many guests, which is why the place is not so spoiled as in other place I've visited. 

We didn't try to swim, because the water was not welcoming. As I've mentioned before, it's green and murky. I've got this morbid thought that in the unfortunate event that someone falls off the balsa and that person does not know how to swim, it would be really difficult to find that person because the water's really murky.  We wanted to be safe than sorry. I heard of urban stories that Lake Pandin takes a life before Holy Week, and even if I am not superstitious, I think it's better to be on the safe side.   Despite such stories, nothing bad happened during our trip, and it was really a great experience. 

Lake Pandin is in Barangay San Lorenzo, San Pablo City, Laguna.  Put this in your bucket list - not only is it cheap, but it's also very near Metro Manila. 

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