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The Seven Lakes of San Pablo and a Sidetrip to Liliw and Nagcarlan

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Every time a friend would ask me “what to do in Laguna?” I would always include this piece of advice “spend a day hiking and swimming around the seven lakes of San Pablo before capping the weekend off with a side trip to Liliw and Nagcarlan”. I know Laguna has a lot to offer and these three places are just some of the many places to see in the province of Laguna. Based on my experience two years back, here is a sample itinerary that will prove useful on a random weekend when a travel bug might bit you. The Seven Lakes of San Pablo City in Laguna, being a mere 3 hours at the most from Manila seems like a great choice to relieve that travel itch.

Take a Lake at the ‘Good Side’ at San Pablo, Laguna

Visible from the western side of the peak of Mount Banahaw, the seven crater lakes in San Pablo provides an ideal spot to relax and gather your thoughts while embracing the charms of the great outdoors. Volcanologists believe that the seven lakes; Pandin Lake, Bunot Lake, Calibato, Yambo, Sampaloc, Lake Mohicap and Lake Palakpakin are remnants of ancient volcanoes that has remained dormant and is now home to a thriving species of freshwater fish.

Cafe Lago beside Lake Sampaloc / Nomadic Experiences

Cafe Lago beside Lake Sampaloc / Nomadic Experiences

Upon arriving at San Pablo City from Jac Liner terminal in Buendia, we passed by San Pablo Cathedral to say a short prayer before flagging down a tricycle for a short ride to Cafe Lago, a garden cafe that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Sampaloc. We had our breakfast here consisting of suman and garden salad. After loading up our tummy we went back to San Pablo Cathedral and took a jeepney to ilog, where the driver dropped us off and pointed us to a trail leading to Lake Pandin.

Photo credit: Nomadic Experiences

Photo credit: Nomadic Experiences

The local tourism office of San Pablo has everything organized already, there are bamboo rafts ready for visitors to rent along with two female guides and an option to have lunch at the middle of the lake for an affordable additional fee. We swam at the waters of Pandin Lake for a couple of hours before having our lunch at the bamboo raft as it floats in the middle of the lake. We also hiked to the neighboring body of water, the Lake Yambo. Visiting all seven lakes is possible to achieve in 1 whole day.

Lake Pandin / Nomadic Experiences

Lake Pandin / Nomadic Experiences

Where to Stay:

EkoLife has been working with families of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to develop homestays that will provide maximum local immersion of travelers visiting San Pablo. This way, tourists will experience genuine hospitality and authentic home cooked Laguna cuisines as well. If you are interested to become an EkoLife homestay provider, kindly follow this link.

Other than homestays, there are quite a number of affordable small inns and resorts in San Pablo. The most famous of which is the bed and breakfast Casa San Pablo.

Underground Cemetery at Nagcarlan

The next day we proceeded to the town of Nagcarlan getting off at the front gates of the underground cemetery, first built in 1845 upon the supervision of Franciscan priest Father Vicente Belloc. In 1896, the crypt served as a secret meeting place of revolutionary leaders making this eerie underground cemetery abound not only with scares and mystery but also of historical significance.

Underground Cemetery / Nomadic Experiences

Underground Cemetery / Nomadic Experiences

‘Mang Kulas Pabili nga ng Tsinelas’ sa Liliw, Laguna

We capped off our Laguna weekend at Liliw, Laguna which is famous for its local made tsinelas (slippers) and shoe products. The nearby 17th century St. John the Baptist Parish Church is also a must see. The streets of Liliw are filled with cheap shops of footwear making it an ideal place to buy pasalubongs and gifts for your family especially your returning balikbayan OFW family members.

Yari sa Liliw / Nomadic Experiences

Yari sa Liliw / Nomadic Experiences

After your tsinelas and shoe shopping cap your weekend off by having a hearty late lunch at Arabela Restaurant, a family run restaurant that serves oozing gastronomical delights in an intinate setting inside this well crafted and designed low-ceiling hole in the wall.

Inside the low-ceiling Arabela Restaurant / Nomadic Experiences

Inside the low-ceiling Arabela Restaurant / Nomadic Experiences

There you go, a simple weekend itinerary covering the seven lakes of San Pablo City and its neighboring towns; Liliw and Nagcarlan in the province of Laguna. To explore more of Laguna, EkoLife has designed some itineraries that will allow you to discover more of the province, through its rich culture, native cuisines, local living and other man-made and natural attractions. Check out the itineraries and how to avail of EkoLife tours by following this link.