Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Quest For The Seven Lakes

The Seven Lakes is located in San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines. The city is famous for them for it attracts a lot of tourists. I have heard of them a long time ago and some people say there are only five and the other two doesn't exists. So, my friends and I agreed to go for an adventurous trip in search of the seven lakes. We gathered a lot of information on how to locate these lakes before going because there are lakes which are accessible while some of them are far-off that it needs some time to be reached which made the trip more interesting!

These lakes are said to be "maars".  So what is "maars"? Maars are low-profile volcano craters and among the 200 small monogenetic volcanoes found along a rift zone between  Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw. Whew!  Did you get that? That is hard to understand! Well in short they are craters of an ancient volcanoes. These lakes has legends which the locals believed to be its origin. Well, wherever and however they come to existence, I cannot deny the fact the these bodies of water has become the favorite subject of adventurers!

Sampaloc Lake

The temperature on that day was very hot, while walking along the streets of the city going to Lake Sampalok. It is the biggest among the other lakes and the most accessible, being just around the vicinity of City Hall. It has also become the prime tourist destination for its shoreline has been developed into parks where people can stay, relax and watch the splendid view of nature around the lake. There are also food stalls and restaurants selling snacks sold in affordable prices so tourists can enjoy their stay along the lake. You can also come early and catch the sunrise or stay until the end of the day to watch the sunset. Try it!

Pandin Lake

Another lake located in Barangay San Lorenzo is Pandin Lake, I consider this lake as the most charming of them all. You only need to hike for 10-15 minutes from the main road before you could reach this lake unlike with Sampalok Lake which can easily be reached. What is good with this place is that you can stay and enjoy the light breeze cooled by the lake while cruising and eating lunch in the middle of it! This place is highly recommendable for family quick weekend getaways and also for friends and relatives or even company outings. The association of women in Pandin Lake are the ones in charge of preserving the lake, they keep the area maintained for its protection.

Let's eat!!

They also serve lunch of grilled tilapia and pork belly, shrimp cooked in coconut milk, "pako" salad and rice for only 400 pesos (raft ride included) to tourists.

Yambo Lake

Lying near Pandin Lake is Yambo Lake, they say they're twin craters! The lake is accessible by a 5-minute trek on a rough trail from Pandin Lake and then you can get the view of the lake from a narrow strip of land at the end of it. The raft paddlers in Pandin usually takes tourists to the path going to Yambo Lake. Like the Pandin Lake, Yambo provides fishermen with a good catch of "tilapia" and small shrimps for their living.

Palakpakin Lake

After that enjoyable trip on the lake, off we went to Palakpakin Lake, it is located in Barangay San Buenaventura and you need to take a tricycle from the main road for it is the only transportation available if you don't have a private vehicle. Just tell the driver to take you to the lake and they will guide you to where the lake is best viewed. This photo was taken from Palakpakin bridge, a better location than the first one we had been earlier. And from there, we had a very spectacular image of the blue lake adorned with coconut trees and the overlapping backdrop of Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal. Isn't that very rewarding? Fish cages on the lakes grows "tilapia" and silver carps which is the source of livelihood of the residents of Palakpakin.

Mojicap Lake

Next lake to go to is the Mojicap Lake, I suggest not to let the tricycle leave if you hired one, ask the driver to take you to Mojicap Lake which is just a few kilometers away from Palakpakin lake. You can get this view of the lake by descending on a concrete steep stair, only you have to be very careful because some steps are already weak. The viewpoint is just a narrow path where some residents are staying. Taking turns for photo opportunity is recommended so as to avoid pile-up in the area. Locals offers raft rides on the lake for a minimal fee, they mentioned that a cave exists in the area where tourists can go spelunking, but I am not so sure what to see in that cave because I haven't gone there.

Bunot Lake

Lake Bunot can be reached by taking a jeepney from the main avenue just ask the driver to stop by Carmelite Road in Barangay Concepcion, it is just a few kilometers away from the city proper. This view was taken from the residential houses along the shore, some places with a good view of the lake has been fenced and we can't just get through it. The lake is known for cultured tilapia and its fingerlings.

Calibato Lake

The last but not the least lake to visit is the Calibato Lake.  Calibato is the farthest among the seven lakes from the city proper. It is located in Barangay Sto. Angel and it is said that Calibato is the youngest and the deepest among the seven lakes. Trekking is required before we reached the lake, but I have to remind you that the trail is rocky and slippery, I guess that is where its name was derived. "Calle" the spanish word for street and the tagalog word "bato". Anyway, there are residents within the shore of the lake, and fishing is their main source of income. There are also fish pens which grows "tilapia". From the shore a waterfalls on the other side of the lake is visible, they call it "Nagalagas Falls". Since me and my companions were so curious about it, we braved the deep lake and we were not disappointed! The fresh water which came from Mt. Tayak is not that wide but the water is cool and the current is strong. The surroundings only needs a clean up, there are some garbages scattered around like plastic bottles and wrappers. I think some people still needs more orientation on how to protect our natural resources from being fresh to maintain its wholesome quality. If you are planning to have a picnic in Calibato Lake just ask the locals and the will be glad to get you some "tilapia" from the fishpens for a reasonable price, just grill the fish, the locals are willing to assist you.

Oh well our mission is accomplished and the curiosity about the seven lakes is finished! I know these lakes just looks similar with each other, they are all bodies of water and I know some people would find it boring but the thrill of this adventurous expedition with friends is something that is highly memorable and you must go for it!

How to get there? If you are taking a public transport, take a bus going to Lucena, get off at San Pablo City. Hire a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the lakes, there are drivers who can do lake tour for a negotiated fare. I suggest Roldan with mobile no. 09214230596, he do lake tours just advise him before going.
If you like to have lunch in Pandin Lake you can contact Mam Tina at mobile no. 09079952983 and make arrangements with her.

That's all and thank you for reading I hope this blog would help your quest for the Seven Lakes!!

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