Lake Pandin, one of the 7 lakes in San Pablo, Laguna is just a short 15-minute drive away from Casa San Pablo where we stayed for the night. From the public parking for visitors, we walked through what seemed like privately owned vacant lots where coconut and banana trees are planted. After a 10 minute trek on semi-paved but narrow uphill footpaths, we reached the 180 feet crater lake. We were told that prior reservation is needed but we were lucky to have arrived early and get the last remaining bamboo raft at P150 per head, complete with free fresh coconut juice. Lunch and snacks of local delicacy can be ordered for serving on the raft. A busload of students on field trip which came without prior booking a few minutes later were unable to experience the lake tour. Two women rafters paddled our raft, occasionally pulling a rope that is connected on both sides of the lake to pick up some speed. We enjoyed the cool breeze in the middle of a very hot summer day. Some people parked their raft on the far end side of the lake to swim, dine and party. On reaching the other side of the lake, we got off and climbed a hill to view Lake Yambu. This is a much bigger lake but there was no activity when we reached the place. The Lake Pandin tour is a simple, east-to-west sail but I just thought that creative activities can be organized to make the short trip more productive and meaningful, e.g., story-telling by the rafters about the lake and surrounding areas, serenading guests with local native songs, tourism talks about San Pablo, and the like. We were told that the local government does not collect any fees from the tour organizers composed of local residents but only makes sure that the lake is preserved from pollution and abuse.Nevertheless, experiencing the lake and discovering that there are 7 lakes in the area was exciting enough. The raft assigned to us had some broken bamboo slots and we had to be cautious when posing for a photo shoot. When I called the rafter's attention, I was told that the newer ones are assigned to the bigger groups.The four of us were given life vests but because the lake was perfectly flat and peaceful, we decided not to wear it. We were told that on rainy days, the current can be strong, but I imagined that sailing, dining and restricted fishing under the 'nipa' hut in the middle of the lake must be fun.
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