Pandin Lake, San Pablo, Laguna
Pandin Lake was a perfect day trip after the hustle of the holidays. It was a refuge from the city and schedules with the perfect temperature, lush green and refreshing water. It seemed so distant from Manila but without all the travel and high price tag of a hotel. It really was a dreamy family day trip, potentially, with such ease. I write potentially because we had quite a few hiccups with our driver and my husband had to work that day. Even still, I only remember it being dreamy! Ha, that's how good it was. Finding Pandin Lake was fairly simple as there are road signs to guide you as you get closer. A designated dirt lot for parking is located right off the main road. From there you go on about a 20 minute walk to get to the lake. The kids loved it. I would not recommend a stroller. I still can't get over how provincial it feels just a few hours away.
At the end of the trail you reach the lake front with sari saris, what seemed like a really small community, monkeys and the bamboo rafts. The kids loved playing with the water pump. Wells ate his first halo halo. I still haven't even had one.
Heading out to cross the lake. A rope is stretched across the whole lake and you are pulled across.
Men in front. Ladies in the back. The dense layers of coconut trees still takes my breath away. Often in photos places can seem more beautiful and rich. Well, Pandin Lake really is that photogenic in real life. Legit beauty, folks. This are was the grotto where we parked and swam. They are serious about life jacket wearing. Life jackets are provided for free but we brought our own. Every age and exploration level can enjoy their time at Pandin Lake. The detail on the cover of the raft was so stunning to me. The sewn thick natural fibers are what caught my eye. Below, Wells and Chanda play at the grotto.
Since returning to Lake Pandin twice in May they have added swings, trike rides to the lake instead of hiking and a little free library. It would be neat to add extra books to their library next time we visit. Also, YOU MUST pull over on the drive and try the local bibingka. It is amazing! It's a mildly sweet bake made with coconut and coconut flour. Sarap pa more! It is a rule in our family that we always stop and get malunggay pandesal as well. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Ha!
Things to know:
The price is 180 php per adult and 90 php per child. This is inclusive of the raft and all the guides.
Pack lunches and extra food, especially if you choose not to eat at Cafe Lago, which would be a huge mistake. :)
There are bathrooms near the small village at the lake so you can change and use the toilets.
Life vests are provided for you but bring your own for small children as the life jackets are a bit loose.
This activity is great for any size group, large or small.
I wish I had more info or a contact for the rafts but I don't. Sorry. We went two days after Christmas and it was up and running so I think your odds are pretty good for most other days.