San Pablo Laguna Trip

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be."

It is not my first time to go to San Pablo City. In fact, I participated in a marathon last 2013 and ran for 21KM. I also passed by the city whenever I go with my friend in Liliw, Laguna. But for some reason, I have not visited the 7 lakes. Transitioning from a triathlete to a travel blogger, the 7 Lakes in San Pablo was one of goals to be featured. It is unlikely not common for a place to have 7 lakes. Though there is Taal Lake and Lake Lanao but 7 lakes in one place is quite interesting.

San Pablo is a first class city in the southern part of Laguna Province. In fact, it is one of the oldest cities in the country. The city is proud of their 7 lakes.

• Muhicap Lake
• Palakpakin Lake
• Pandin Lake
• Yambo Lake
• Kalibato Lake
• Bunot Lake
• Sampaloc Lake

How to get to San Pablo, Laguna

From Manila, you can take a bus ride from LRT Buendia going to Lucena for php127.

From Alabang, you can also take a Lucena bus going to San Pablo for php100.

I arrived in San Pablo City 6:00am from Alabang. It is nice to note that over the years, it is more convenient because no more street works and they have expanded the lanes already. The 7 Lakes has been featured before however the last blog that I read was 2012 wherein there are already major changes such transportation fares, food prices and more.

I was fortunate enough that when I asked some locals regarding ways of transport. One of them told me to hire a tricycle instead to tour the lakes. The tricycle owner/driver is Mr. Raffy Gesmundo. You many contact him at 09498763976 for php500. Fair enough because at least I do not need to transfer from one mode of transport to another. At the same time, the total amount of fare you will pay is around php300 excluding the waiting time for jeepneys to be full before leaving.

Muhicap Lake

This is the first lake I visited. From the city proper, the location is roughly 7KM. When you are in Purok 5 Brgy. San Bueniventura, you have reached your destination. You will need to log your name and will trek downhill for about less 60 stairs.

According to the locals, there was a hammer head shark lived in the lake for years but no reports of any attack incidents. I also shared some moments with locals residing near the lake and they shared some of the unforgetable things happened in the past.

Palakpakin Lake

The second lake is known because most of the Tilapia business. There are a lot of fish cages surrounding the lakes and most of the locals have their own small fish businesses.

The lakes are not perfect as you see in the internet. In reality, the lakes are the source of livelihood of the locals. Since it is inhabited by locals, it is likely to be not well-maintained. In short, just managed your expectations.

Pandin Lake

Out of all the lakes, Pandin is one of the busiest and most talked about in travel pages. It because, the locals offer tour packages and there is a certain area in the lake where you can swim. You will need to walk for about a kilometer before you reach the destination from the national highway. The tricycle driver was already my tour guide. There are food stalls in the area where you can buy.

Below are the information you need to know before going to the site.

The Balsa Ride is php360 per head with food (inihaw na tilapia, ensaladang paki, ginataang hipon, ukoy rice, fruits and mineral water. The trip is good for 2 hours including the swimming and lunch with a minimum pax of 15. You will need to register first then wait for the attendants to call you when the food is ready and have reached the required passenger per balsa ride.

If you are a solo traveler, they will ask you to join a group since they do not allow special trips during weekends. If you do not want to order food, it will be for php200 but will still advise you to join a group.

They only allow special trips during weekdays for a higher price. Example: 400/ pax per pax with food.

Yambo Lake

The 4th lake was known to be the twin lake of Pandin. According to the locals, it was initially part of the tour package that was offered before in Pandin. You just need to trek for about 30 minutes before you can reach the other side. Unfornately, the passage was closed since it is private property.

This is my favorite lake out of the seven. From Pandi, we headed straight to Nagcarlan just to go to the lake. Though the lake is still under the San Pablo's geographical area but the only way you is through Nagcarlan, Laguna in Sitio Yambo, Brgy. Sulsuguin. The tricycle driver was not even familiar with the route. I asked several locals along the way and finally we have reached the destination.

From the highway of Nagcarlan, an estimated 6-7KM ride going to Lake Yambo. The lake is located at the most end of the road. The tricycle driver already knows that destination and will bring you there from Pandin. It was worth it though because there are only few visitors in the area and you can also see the entire lake. It was not crowded and you can swim in the lake. There are also balsa rides available. You just need to ask the locals when you get there. Again, its worth it and the cleanest lake out of the seven.

I had my boodle fight lunch at Lucy and Elsie Cuisine 2 beside the Underground Cemetery and paid php500, good for 2-3 pax. For reservations, you can contact them at 09173507118.

Calibato Lake

We took our lunch first before heading the to the 5th lake. By 1pm, we decided to go to Calibato Lake. Before you reach the lake, another downhill trek for about 500m. It is just unfortunate, that on our way to the destination, there were a lot of trash and it seems that the local government is not doing anything about it. Its sad to note that, they are promoting their lakes but the people residing near the area are not responsible enough to take care of their garbage. This is just a reality check. But for the purpose of completing the journey, we still decided to proceed.

There is not much of difference from Palikpakin or Muhicap lake since it is their source of livelihood. I guess, the government of San Pablo just need to be more strict in the implementation of proper garbage disposal.

Bunot Lake

The 6th lake that I visited was Bunot Lake. From Brgy. Biuan, the tricycle headed towards Brgy. Concepcion. Instead of going to the long route, we stopped by Cuicina de Sabang since the restaurant is situated beside the lake. I asked the attendant if I can take pictures and they allowed me. If you extra money, you can also dine in thier restaurant while enjoying the lake view.

Bunot Lake does not have much of a difference from the other lakes. There were also fish cages in the mid- section of the area for their livelihood. One thing that I noticed, there are cat houses constructed in the area of the fish cages and its nice to see them walking along the floating bamboos and guard the area from birds.

Sampaloc Lake

The last location that I visited was the Sampaloc Lake since it is within the city proper. This is the busiest lake out of the seven. There are a lot of tourist and locals in the area. The lake is like a park where you can rent a bicycle, do your selfies and there are also restaurants in the area. Indeed it is a happy place.

According to the locals, the local government has already implemented to be responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the lake. It was reported before that in one of restaurants who served a grilled tilapia, there was a cotton found inside the fish gill. The nearest hospital allegedly disposing their waste to the lake, reason for the locals not to buy fish from Sampaloc Lake. I tried one of restaurants near the lake last 2012 and no sanitary issues at all. Maybe, it was was just an isolated case.

I ended my lake expedition around 2pm and every visit was worth it. My personal favorite was Yambo Lake because it was clean, serene and you can also have your "moments" as well. Visiting the 7 Lakes of San Pablo made me realize how fortunate they are of such blessings by nature which benefited them from the beginning. But also sad because of the human garbage I saw along the way. It is true that we tend to forget in giving back to nature what they have given to us. We did not buy these wonders but we are the ones destroying them. I hope that the local government of San Pablo City together with the locals continue to be more vigilant and be consistent in maintaining the beauty of the lakes so that the next generation will still appreciate its beauty.

Bato Springs Resort

This spring resort is located at Bgry. San Cristobal, San Pablo City. After the visiting the 7 lakes, I decided to go Bato Springs Resort to have a relaxing moment with nature. From the city proper, you will need to ride a jeep to Maharlika Highway going to Lucena.

The resort is located 6km from the national highway. You can either ride a tricycle for php150 special rider or take a jeep for php14. If you are a solo traveler and in a tight budget, you can ask the tricycle driver to let you join a group to save since the fare will be divided.

Entrance Fees:
• Saturday. Sunday, Holidays- php80
• Weekdays – ph70
• Overnight- php125

You can check their facebook page for more details.

Travel Expenses:
• Alabang to San Pablo – php 100 (php200 round trip)
• Tricycle Tour Fee- php500
• Lunch Boodle Fight – php500 (good for 3)
• Tricycle Driver's Tip- php 100
• Bato Spring Resort- php80

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