Thursday, April 9, 2015

Laguna day trip part 1: Pandin and Yambo Lakes

San Pablo is known to be the city with the seven lakes. On National Heroes' Day, I went with Matty (we're the PhDs), Noan, Martin, and Lawrence (they're the MDs), and Erjohn (appointed as the official photographer) to see Pandin Lake... because the day was too beautiful to be spent indoors. Noan took care of all the arrangements and reservations. We just had to show up, basically. 

Going to the lake from the parking lot proved to involve a bit of a walk under the minimal shade of coconut trees. Not a problem, since we'd be under the sun while in and on the lake anyway. The walk towards the lake also gave a sense of anticipation because we couldn't see the lake from the road. 

A few minutes into the walk, we finally had our first glance of the lake... and it was beautiful! It's peaceful and the water's flat. Deceptively safe, I'd say, since the water is very deep. The guide said that the water must be around 180 ft deep; I wouldn't jump in without a life vest on! 

And so off we went on a floating hut where lunch was served. This hut also served as our means of transportation from Point A to Point B. The food was delicious, particularly the pako salad and the grilled fish.  

On the other side of the lake, we were allowed to swim. As predicted, I almost jumped into the water without my vest on! Good call from Matty, already in the water with his vest, reminding me to wear mine before I took the plunge. Martin and Lawrence also swam but Noan stayed on the raft, still wearing her life vest.

Pandin Lake is known as one of the cleanest lakes among those in San Pablo, and I think that whoever said that is correct. While in the water, I could see that there were a lot of dragonflies, fish, and birds which call this lake their home. I also saw (and chased) quite a few of those insects that walk on water. It was amazing to see so much wildlife in this lake (I don't see these in Caliraya or in Laguna Lake; not that I've been in Laguna Lake). The area surrounding the lake was also a lush forest... somehow, I recalled Pangsanjan River when I saw the thickness of the foliage. 

But wait; there's more! Right behind those trees was a thin strip of land that separates Pandin Lake from another lake: its twin, Yambo Lake. Always the curious travellers, we thought it was a great idea to have a look at the other lake. We learned, on our way to the lake, that there was a steep climb to get to that thin strip of land. 

And in the back of my mind, that meant that there'd be a steep descent. Given my fractured wrist, I thought: what did I get myself into again?!? But the great outdoors was calling. The fracture's not going to stop me from seeing the other lake (here we go again with the hike-with-a-fractured-arm program). Given that the land was quite narrow, it was difficult to take a group picture. A small step could land me in the water (again) and in the hospital (again)!

But look at that view! Yambo Lake is as picturesque as Pandin Lake! The view was definitely worth the trek! Unfortunately, we're not supposed to jump in from the view point. To go to Yambo Lake, we needed to go on a different road. So we contented ourselves with one last look and then started the trip back to our hut on Pandin Lake.

Alas, the day trip had to end. It was a fun trip to San Pablo. And I realised that it's a good idea to explore the remote corners of my province with the same curiosity that I have when I visit other provinces. I tend to take for granted gems like these. And so for the next opportunity, I ought to check out the list of things to do as a tourist in Laguna. I just might find my next adventure there.