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!