A few years ago on a trip back home to the Philippines, my friends and I went to San Pablo, Laguna and visited Lake Pandin, one of its Seven Lakes. The lakes are in Barangay San Lorenzo, San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines. It is about two hours on the road from Manila, assuming you don’t forget about one of your friends in Canlubang exit and have to turn back to pick them up.
Pandin is one of the crater lakes and twin to Yambo, “next door”, only separated by a narrow strip of land. It has an area of 20.5 hectares and a maximum depth of 63 meters, about 206 feet, although our hosts told us it was 180 feet deep.
Conclusion: it’s deep.
There is a 10-15 minute walk up to Lake Pandin from the parking area. I wouldn’t be looking forward to this walk if the weather is bad: a dirt road that would undoubtedly turn slippery in rain. Otherwise, it’s a quick invigorating walk, with some incline to build your appetite.
If you’re planning to take a swim, think about dressing appropriately prior to going. There is only a tiny toilet/changing room, so if you are particular about these things, you need to plan ahead. We didn’t have an issue using the facilities, such as they were. Before we pushed off, we were able to buy some roasted peanuts in the shell, and some ube halaya (purple yam dessert).
We had lunch prepared by our lovely hosts. You can take the balsa ride by itself and bring your own food, but in my opinion, you’re missing out if you do. The food is simple, but very fresh and the flavors are just amazing. This was easily the highlight meal of my San Pablo weekend.
- Rafting only: P180/head
- Rafting and lunch: P360/head
This was my first time having Ensaladang Pako (fiddlehead fern salad in vinaigrette salad dressing) and Pinayti (micro shrimps from one of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo City, cooked in seasoned coconut milk). To this day, I have very fond memories of that pako salad.
We also had fresh buko (coconut) to drink and eat, and some bananas.
After the quick swim in the lake and the delicious lunch, we decided to take a look at Yambo, the lake next door. This involves a relatively steep but brief hike. Protip: do not forget your glasses on the balsa. Going down this steep slope without the aid of your glasses will give you a headache.
Blue skies, clear water, delicious food, and great company.
What more could a girl ask for?