Seven Lakes of San Pablo in One Epic Day of Adventure

Seven Lakes of San Pablo

Let me tell you about my unforgettable road trip adventure to conquer all Seven Lakes of San Pablo in Laguna! We started our journey at PITX in Pasay City, a bunch of travel buddies united by our love for exploring. With Señor Byahero, Joseph, Manilakad JP and Pure, Nomadic Experiences Marky, SJ the heritage guide, and Johan our navigator/treasurer, we piled into our Isuzu SUV, ready to hit the road.

View of Lake Yambo at the foreground and Lake Pandin at the back.
View of Lake Yambo at the foreground and Lake Pandin at the back.
View of Mt Banahaw
View of Mt Banahaw
View of Mt Makiling
View of Mt Makiling

To see all seven lakes, some side trips, and still have time to enjoy each spot, we strategized our route. First up were the legendary twin lakes, Yambo and Pandin, via Nagcarlan. We even squeezed in a visit to the spooky Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery for a taste of history.

Swinging at Lake Yambo
Swinging at Lake Yambo
Lake Yambo
Lake Yambo

Lake Yambo

I was mesmerized by Lake Yambo with its vast grassy banks and clear turquoise waters. It was serene and looked perfect for a dip, though we opted for a fun bamboo raft tour instead. The tour took us across the lake for a refreshing swim and some swinging action on a rope swing – pure bliss! There’s also a short trail to peek at Lake Pandin’s beauty from the other side.

Lake Pandin
Lake Pandin

Lake Pandin

Speaking of Lake Pandin, this lake mirrored Yambo’s pristine charm, with more visitors due to its easier accessibility. Legend whispers of two ill-fated lovers, Yambo and Pandin, forever close but eternally separated by a strip of land – a truly touching story.

Lake Calibato
Lake Calibato Indigo-banded Kingfisher
Lake Calibato Indigo-banded Kingfisher
Lake Calibato herons and egret
Lake Calibato herons and egret

Lake Calibato

As the drizzle started to fall, we reached Lake Calibato. A short hike along a rocky path led us to this fascinating lake, a haven for birdwatchers. Despite the rain, I spotted a stunning indigo-banded kingfisher and flocks of egrets and herons – a birder’s paradise! The lake itself, shrouded in mist, had a mysterious vibe. Local lore speaks of a diwata (fairy) who transformed the valley into a lake out of anger – a cautionary tale about respecting nature.

Lake Palakpakin

Lake Palakpakin

Next stop: Lake Palakpakin. While the lake itself is used for fish cultivation, we found a viewpoint from a small bridge where a narrow river flowed. Legend has it that a mysterious red-haired lady used to wash her hair here with a giant fish. Intriguing!

Lake Mohicap
Lake Mohicap
Lake Mohicap

Lake Mojicap

Lake Mojicap awaited us next, with a beautiful garden as the entrance before descending 105 steps to the lake. The story here echoes Yambo and Pandin’s tale, but this time it’s a child named Munica who disobeys and gets swallowed by the earth, forming the lake. The tranquil environment, with mist evaporating from the placid water, was simply mesmerizing.

Lake Bunot
Lake Bunot

Lake Bunot

Leaving the legends behind for a bit, we reached Lake Bunot near the city center. Here, fish pens dominate the scene, but there are also open spots for fishing. The name “bunot” comes from a funny misunderstanding between a Spanish soldier and a local husking coconut by the lake!

Lake Sampaloc
Lake Sampaloc
Lake Sampaloc
Lake Sampaloc

Lake Sampaloc

Our grand finale was Lake Sampaloc, the largest and most popular among the seven. A scenic promenade with cafes, restaurants, and even accommodations lines the lake. The local government has been working hard to remove fish pens for a more picturesque view, and the majestic Mt Banahaw and Mt Cristobal rising in the background truly complete the picture. Legend says a giant Sampaloc tree once stood here in a stingy old woman’s garden, but a fairy’s curse transformed it all into a lake – a reminder of kindness.

This whirlwind tour left me breathless but with a heart full of wonder. The Seven Lakes of San Pablo are a treasure trove of natural beauty and fascinating legends. So, if you’re looking for a refreshing escape from the city, pack your bags and get ready for your own seven-lake adventure!

Resource for the Legends of the Seven Lakes http://sevenlakes.org.tripod.com/legend.htm

Lake Sampaloc
Lake Sampaloc promenade

Travel Tips

  • Dive into the immersive experiences of bamboo raft tours and meals at Lake Yambo and Lake Pandin.
  • Plunge into the swimmable delights of Lake Yambo, Lake Pandin, Lake Mohicap, and Lake Kalibato.
  • Exercise caution at Lake Palakpakin and Lake Bunot, where fish pens abound—ideal for fishing but not for swimming.
  • Prepare a modest entrance fee of P10 or P20 pesos for Lake Yambo, Lake Pandin, and Lake Mohicap.
Lake Sampaloc
Lake Sampaloc