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I have recently received an emailed inquiry from a reader, Mrs. P, who lives in Manila. She was particularly asking if I could suggest a place that’s ideal for a weekend getaway. I have suggested going to Caleruega in Batangas for picnic and some quiet time or to Lake Pandin in San Pablo for a swim and bamboo raft ride.
After reading my reply, Mrs. P told me she has decided to go Lake Pandin with her adventurous teenage children. When I read “adventurous,” I suggested a more adventurous itinerary which I am sharing below. This itinerary is made for those who are commuting. I made the trip last April and left Manila for San Pablo at 7:45AM. If you can leave earlier, much better.
0745 ETD Take Lucena-bound bus to San Pablo. I suggest you have breakfast first before leaving.
0920 ETA San Pablo Medical Center. There’s a Chowking branch nearby if you haven’t had breakfast yet. You may also buy your lunch from here and bring it to Lake Pandin.
1000 Take a tricycle to Bunot Lake (Bgy. Concepcion). Try to haggle for a reasonable rate. I gave Php100 for a special trip.
1015 ETA Bunot Lake (1st lake)
Bunot Lake is known for its tilapia fish pens.
1030 Walk to the highway and take a jeepney bound for Nagcarlan (Php10)
1100 Get off at Bgy. Sto. Angel for Lake Calibato. You’ll see this sign along the highway.
The path going to the lake can be confusing. It helps to ask around. Walking to the lake takes about 10-15 minutes. You’ll be passing through some downward steps.
1115 ETA Lake Calibato (2nd lake)
Calibato Lake has abundant fish. The place is ideal for picnics. Just find a spot under the trees beside the lake and that’s it.
1130 head back to hi-way then take a jeepney bound for San Pablo (pabalik na ito) (P8). Ask the driver to drop you off at the vacant lot which is the jump off point to Lake Pandin.
1145 ETD to Lake Pandin. You have to walk for about 20-30 minutes. You may ask Ate Siony (0929-978-95-65) to fetch you at the vacant lot. You may have a prior arrangement with her. Her group can prepare lunch for you kung wala kayong baon. Just inquire from her for the rate.
1215 ETA Lake Pandin (lunch) (3rd lake)
Lake Pandin has abundant plant and fish life. You can swim here all you want as long as you wear a life vest. It’s a requirement. Life vests are available when you rent the bamboo raft (balsa) for PhP180 per head (balsa ride only, no food yet).
Yun, o, si Guyito enjoying the sun in Lake Pandin 🙂
Tell Ate Siony that you would like to go to Lake Yambo (4th lake). The paddlers will take you there. It’ll just take a very short hike (about 3 minutes) from Lake Pandin.
1300 Start walking back to the highway.
1330 Along the highway, walk further (going to San Pablo route) and look for the tricycle terminal.
1345 Take tricycle to Lakes Palakpakin and Mohicap (haggle for the rate).
1415 ETA Lake Palakpakin (Bgy. Buenaventura) (5th lake) Ask the driver to wait for you.
There are lots of fishpens in Lake Palakpakin. The fishpens grow tilapia and carps.
1425 Proceed with same trike to Lake Mohicap
1440 ETA Lake Mohicap jumpoff (Bgy. Sta. Catalina). Walk down.
1445 ETA Lake Mohicap (6th lake)
1500 Ask the tricycle driver if he can take you to Sampaloc Lake. If not, wait for jeepneys bound for San Pablo proper.
1530 ETA Sampaloc Lake (7th lake)
Sampaloc Lake is San Pablo’s biggest lake. It is located right smack in the city proper.
There are floating restaurants for those who want to have lunch or dinner in the middle of the lake.
1600 Take tricycle back to the main highway where you can get a bus bound for Manila.
1630 Take return bus to Manila.
1900 ETA Manila
Hope this helps 🙂 Enjoy your adventure!
Posted 4 years, 11 months ago at 2:00 pm. 53 comments
The Sun shining on the sun 🙂 My heart sings the song of the morning light…
Posted 5 years, 9 months ago at 2:16 pm. 34 comments
Hello there! It feels like it’s been ages since I last posted here. Pasensiya na po, been really busy with work and some trips. Anyway, today I am going to share with you one of the rewards I was blessed with during one of my recent trips—meeting interesting people along the way and learning from them.
I recently I visited Pandin Lake in San Pablo City, Laguna, where I met women who are prime movers in their small community. The women of Pandin Lake, with the help of some concerned individuals, organized themselves and came up with an idea to augment their income and at the same time take care of the lake: manage a Pandin Lake tour.
I arrived at Pandin Lake on a gloomy day, just in time for lunch. I was warmly greeted by two jovial women, Aling T and Aling M. “Good morning ho, Ma’am. Aalis na ho ba tayo agad?” they courteously asked. “Kami hong dalawa ang magsasagwan sa inyo.”
Glancing at the big bamboo raft, I replied, “Kaya niyo hong kayong dalawa lang?”
“Kayang-kaya, Ma’am. Sanay na po kami,” they said.
We started with the tour. I gamely tried to paddle along with them but I gave up upon realizing that my strength was not contributing anything to our raft’s speed. I just chatted with them to while away time. Game na game naman sila sa kuwentuhan.
“Ma’am, lahat na yata ng tao naging bisita na namin dito. Iba-iba hong tao. Yung iba, ayaw hong kumain kung hindi kami kasabay. Yung iba, parang may sariling mundo. Mula pag-alis sa pampang hanggang pagbalik, hindi kaming kinakausap,” said Aling M who was obviously on a cheery mood.
The two women paddled until we reached the other side of the lake where there’s a short trail going up a hill. From the hill, you can see another lake, Lake Yambo.
A few minutes after, we were back on the raft enjoying lunch. I like the ginataang maliit na hipon which were fresh catch from the lake.
After lunch, it was time for a dip.
On our way back to the pampang, I noticed that instead of using paddles, they used a rope tied from one end of the lake to the other. They pulled on the rope for faster navigation.
“Mas mabilis ho tayo sa ganito, Ma’am. Mas mabilis kaysa magsagwan. Pero may isang customer ho kami dati na ayaw talaga na gumamit kami nitong lubid kasi raw hindi kami nahihirapan. Dapat daw magsagwan kami para mas mahirap,” said Aling T.
The lake has been blessing them for so many years now. “Malaking tulong rin, Ma’am. Nakakakuha rin kami sa Pandin Lake ng mauulam. Yung kinikita namin sa pagto-tour, nakatutulong sa pamilya. Tulad ko, lima ang anak. May dalawang kolehiyo na ako,” said Aling T who is the secretary of the women’s group that run the Pandin Lake tours.
The group is composed of 18 women who all live near the lake. Whatever amount they earn from a day of touring visitors they divide it equally among themselves.
“Sana ho Ma’am, mag-invite kayo ng mga bibisita pa dito sa Lake Pandin. Para ho lalo pang dumami ang bisita namin.” I promised them I will.
I left San Pablo with much respect for the women of Pandin Lake. I salute them for their effort in helping bring food to their family’s table, instead of just playing tong-its or bingo or engaging in tsismisan all day long.
In keeping my promise to the women of Pandin Lake, I am inviting you, my dear readers, to find a weekend to visit the place. It’s a perfect place to breathe some fresh air and escape from the noise of Metro Manila. You don’t have to spend for airplane fare and accommodation. It is only an hour and a half drive from the buy metropolis. If you’re a commuter like me, it takes 2-2.5 hours to get there.
How to commute to Pandin Lake:
1. Arrange for a tour by texting Aling Siony (0929-978-95-65) at least a day before your trip. The women of Pandin Lake charge 180 per person for the lake tour. You can bring your lunch or ask them to prepare it for you. They charge 180 per person for the lunch. So a tour with lunch costs 360 per person.
1. Get on a bus going to Lucena. Ask the driver to drop you off at the San Pablo Medical Center.
2. Across the medical center (near 7-11), there are jeepneys going to Bayan (8 pesos). Or you may opt for a tricycle ride. Ask the driver to take you to Bayan.
3. Take a jeepney bound for Nagcarlan and tell the driver to drop you off at Bgy. Sto. Angel. It helps if you mention you are going to Pandin Lake. You will be dropped off in front of a parking lot with this signage where your guide will be waiting.
If you arrive ahead of the guide, just text Aling Siony and tell her that you’ve arrived and wait for the guide.
4. Follow a trail to the lake. This is just a short and easy trek, about 15 minutes. This signage tells you that you have arrived in Pandin Lake 🙂
Have a great time in Pandin Lake!
Posted 5 years, 10 months ago at 2:33 pm. 62 comments
Hidden Valley is a nature lover’s paradise. It is a 10-hectare private land nestled amidst abundant foliage—century-old trees, giant ferns, and lush palms. Above is a photo of the 300-year-old Amlang tree which is one of the resort’s attractions. Other attractions are the pools and the falls which is a 45-minute trek away from the main pavilion. Hidden Valley is wedged between Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw.
When some friends went to Hidden Valley and came back with lots of nice stories and photos, I wanted to explore the place, too. That was 4 or 5 years ago. I never got the chance to go there. First, because I was told that day tour is pricey, and second, one needs a car to go there (and I don’t have a car 🙂 )
Recently, a very good friend of mine reminded me about it and was willing to accompany me. And then, a good news came: someone’s paying for my day tour! The universe conspired to make it possible for me to visit Hidden Valley heehee.
Everything was set..except we didn’t have a car. So, we dared to commute. Ang katwiran namin ng kaibigan ko, hindi kami maliligaw hangga’t nasa loob lang kami ng Pilipinas hehehe. We just walked in.
I’ll teach you later how to commute to Hidden Valley. Meanwhile, here are some more photos for your enjoyment.
First you walk on narrow leveled road….
then you go up…
then you go down..
then you walk near a shallow cliff…
then you go down again…
After a 45-minute trek, you’ll be rewarded with this—the hidden falls.
Now it’s time to swim…
I like the warm pools..
Where to? They’re both secluded hehehe.
Now, here’s how to find Hidden Valley by commuting (those who have cars can search Google for directions going there):
1. From EDSA or Alabang, take a bus going to Lucena (Quezon province) and tell the driver you are going to alight in Alaminos. It’s best to leave Metro Manila early para naman masulit ang bayad.
2. Alight in Alaminos (Laguna), near Mercury Drugs.
3. Beside Mercury Drugs is a small street where tricycles are parked.
4. Inquire from the tricycle drivers which tricycle can take you to Hidden Valley (We were charged 100 per head).
5. There are no PUVs from Hidden Valley to the main road which is about 4 kilometers so make sure to arrange for the tricycle to pick you up on a specific time in the afternoon. Wag na wag kalilimutan kunin ang number ni manong driver ng tricycle na maghahatid sa inyo para siya na rin ang susundo, ok?
Day tour costs PhP1,800 inclusive of welcome drinks, buffet lunch and snacks (sarap food!), and use of amenities like gazebos and pools. If you’re going as a group, it’s best to have previous arrangement with Hidden Valley staff.
Sige na, tour na sa Hidden Valley! 🙂 Madali lang. You can explore the place on your own, hindi kailangan ng tour guide.
Posted 6 years, 2 months ago at 4:42 pm. 61 comments
There is more to life than increasing speed. ~Gandhi.
(My first attempt at using a slow shutter speed. Needs improvement, pero happy na rin ako. Used a rock as support. No tripod yet. Calling dear Santa, malapit na po ang Christmas. I’ll be happy with a second hand hehehe)
Posted 6 years, 7 months ago at 9:05 am. 64 comments