Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unwinding at the Relaxing Sampaloc Lake of San Pablo City

City of Seven Lakes - that is what San Pablo City calls itself. Other cities in the Philippines don't even have their own lakes, but San Pablo City boasts of having seven of them. These are:

1. Sampaloc Lake
2. Bunot Lake
3. Palakpakin Lake
4. Muhikap Lake
5. Yambo Lake
6. Pandin Lake
7. Kalibato Lake

Photo by Von Lord Malabanan

The biggest amongst the seven is Sampaloc Lake. It is 1.2 kilometers wide and 27 meters deep. Contrary to popular belief, Sampaloc Lake is not an artificial lake. All seven lakes are what we call maars or crater lakes. These lakes are formed during small volcanic eruptions beneath the ground. When magma meets ground water, an explosion occurs, forming a crater. The crater eventually fills with water. Another fact is that all seven lakes are interconnected and all were formed 500 to 700 years ago. So much for trivia!

Photo by Von Lord Malabanan

Sampaloc Lake is among the most popular lakes in the Philippines. There are actually so many legends about how this curious lake was formed. All the legends of its formation include a powerful ermitanyo (hermit) and a sampaloc (tamarind) tree.

Photo by Von Lord Malabanan

Anyway, aside from being popular because of its mysticism, Sampaloc Lake is also a great place to unwind. Since Sampaloc Lake is located in the city proper of San Pablo, it is just one tricycle ride away. As of 2011, you only have to pay PhP 8.00 per person so the driver would take you there. If you have a car, it's just a three minute drive from the plaza.

You can bring food and have picnic at the park, overlooking the lake. You can also rent a bike or two and ride around the lake. That's what we did actually. Bike rentals are as follows:

small bikes (for kids and teens) = PhP 10 - 15
mountain bikes = PhP 15 - 25
pedicabs (bike with attached seat for passengers) = PhP 20 - 30

The price actually depends on which bike peddler you choose. The price is for one round of bike ride around the lake. You can also bring your own bike if you want; nothing's stopping you.

The ride was fun. The air was fresh and cool. On the way, you'd encounter other cyclists or joggers. Some people live by the lake as well, so don't be surprised if you see someone playing basketball or running around the place. It took us 20 minutes to circle the lake because we stopped frequently (we had to take pictures!). If you are observant, you might also get to see the pet monkeys living on a tree by the road.

I say they are pets because one foot was tied so they won't run away or attack people. They jump freely from tree to tree since the rope is about 6 feet long. It's a pity that they are tied, though. You would also get to see some people selling antique jars and some beautiful benches made out of hardwood along the way.

When we arrived back to the "front" of the lake (I call it front of the lake because it is where the park is and where all the stores are), we immediately brought the bikes back to the owner/peddler. There were more than a dozen small store on the side of the road. They sell almost the same thing: chips, soda and isaw. There were so many people around that the store owners couldn't handle it. (We went there a Sunday so it was just natural that a lot of people were hanging around). We ordered dozens of isaw (pork and chicken feet) since there were six of us.

You can eat your food on the benches (there were dozens and dozens of cement and wooden benches). But we opted to eat ours while in the middle of the lake. How is that possible? Well, we road the balsa. Balsa is a boat made out of bamboo.

The minimum for a balsa ride towards the center of the lake is PhP 150. This is good for five people or less. If there are more, you would have to pay an additional PhP 30 per person. They will bring you to the center of the lake and you'll stay there for around 30 minutes. Not a bad deal. I was thinking that this feature (boat ride) might be better if they placed cultural performers singing native songs. I was thinking about something similar to the Carabao ride in Villa Escudero.

We stayed in the middle of the lake until the sun set. The view from the lake looking at the shore was awesome. Too bad we couldn't take anymore pictures as we ran out of battery. Next time, though!

For more information about Sampaloc Lake and the city of San Pablo, check this site: http://www.sanpablocity.net/2010/01/26/visit-the-official-san-pablo-city-website/

Check out below for more of our pictures. I apologize for the quality of pictures of some (they were taken by my measly camera phone). The really creative, high quality photos were taken by my EAGLES brother Von Lord Malabanan (visit Lord Von Photography Facebook Page). Thanks brod!

Photo by Lord Von Malabanan

Photo by Lord Von Malabanan

Photo by Lord Von Malabanan
Photo by Lord Von Malabanan


  1. baka mapagkamalang malaking poso negro ang mga lawa at sipsipin ni malabanan. hahaha.

  2. what kind of comment was that?

  3. i love the blog. it's nice. :)

    1. Thanks! I;m glad you like it. I'll be posting more Laguna updates soon. Cheers!

  4. We live amongst the mountains and lakes and always out camping right into the late fall. The stars, nature and just enjoying the experience with the family!

  5. What a beautiful camping trip! I can’t wait to bring this recipe next time I go camping, thanks for sharing! Beautiful blog too…love the name