There are lakes where nature rules over men and their calmness summons you to stay longer. Some have been inhabited and transformed by humans, while others were artificially created. And there are lakes that have deep ancient mysteries lying beneath their unfathomable waters.
Here are some of the scenic lakes you can find in the Philippines :
1. Kayangan Lake (Coron, Palawan) –The mere mention of Coron conjures images of Kayangan Lake. Dubbed as one of the cleanest lakes in the country, it is every photographer’s dream. Swimming in its emerald green waters draped by towering limestone rocks tops the bucket list of those who find their way to this island.
(Mt.Pinatubo in Central Luzon)
2. Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake (Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales) – A striking outcome of the cataclysmic eruption of Mt.Pinatubo in June 15, 1991, this gorgeous beauty is a popular hiking destination in the country. To get to the turquoise colored lake, tourists can ride the four wheel drive vehicle to the jump off point after registration at the Satellite Tourism office in Capas, Tarlac. From there, it’s about 30-45 minute trek to the caldera.
(Lake Holon - the Cleanest Inland Body of Water in 2003-2004)
3. Lake Holon (South Cotabato) – Formerly called Lake Maughan, this majestic lake is a dormant crater of Mt. Melibingoy (Mt.Parker) in the municipality of T’boli, South Cotabato. Mt. Parker was named after an American surveyor who died on a plane crash while mapping out the vicinity whereas Lake Holon was named after his companion. Lake Holon takes pride for receiving an award as the Cleanest Inland Body of Water for 2 consecutive years (2203-2004). It’s about 3 to 4 hour hike to reach the lake from Brgy. Salacafe. Pitch a tent by the lake shore and commune with the wilderness for a cast-away-like escape!
4. Barracuda Lake (Palawan) - In the municipality of Coron, Barracuda Lake, a beautiful blend of salt and freshwater fed by hot spring is every diver’s dream. Plunge into the turquoise waters and be mesmerized by the jagged limestone formations as well as the thermoclines and halocline underneath.
(Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is home to the T'boli people)
5. Lake Sebu (South Cotabato) – Tucked in the peaceful province of South Cotabato, inhabited mostly by the T’boli people, an indigenous tribe known for their rich culture and impressive traditional tapestry – the t’nalak. This natural lake is considered as a significant watershed in the country and an important source of tilapia of the municipality. Go canoeing in its calm placid waters dappled with lovely pink lotus flowers.
6. Taal Crater Lake (Batangas) - The world famous lake within lake sits in one of the calderas of the world’s smallest active volcano – Taal Volcano. This spectacular emerald green lake is a popular day hike destination near Manila. To get here, charter a boat in the town of Talisay to take you to the jump off point of the trek in Brgy. Look. From there, you can just follow the trail to the caldera lake but be prepared to encounter persistent touts offering donkey ride for a fee. You can hop on the donkey and hire guide but it’s not really necessary.
7. Lake Balinsasayao (Negros Oriental) – Situated in the towering massif enveloped by lush wilderness, two crater lakes mirror each other in the famed Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park . Lake Balinsayao the bigger of the two lakes offer rafting tours and kayaking around its calm pea green waters.
8. Bababu Lake (Dinagat Island) - Blissfully fringed by granite rocks and verdant wilderness, Bababu Lake is comprised mostly of saltwater. To date, it houses the longest underwater cave in the country that connects to the sea, measuring about 650 meters long. Locals believed that first timers in the lake must taste its emerald green waters before taking a dip. To get here you need to charter a boat to take you to Baba’s Cove and trek for approximately 30 minutes to reach the lakeshore.
(Bulusan Lake in Sorsogon Province)
9. Bulusan Lake (Sorsogon) – Nestled in the heart of Bulusan Lake Natural Park, this tranquil lake is an old favorite in the municipality of Bulusan in the province of Sorsogon. Kayaking in its placid moss green waters while being enveloped by trees, soaring ferns, verdant vines and bushes, is a top activity in Bulusan Lake. If you have binoculars, try spotting endemic birds in the area and the eagle, usually seen flying around the lake. To get here you can either drive through the municipalities of Gubat and Barcelona or pass through Irosin town.
10. Lake Pandin (Laguna) - Situated in San Pablo, Laguna, Lake Pandin is a popular weekend getaway for those wanting to escape the bustling metropolis. Rafting tours are offered here for Php 180 per head and visitors can hop on the bamboo raft paddled by the oarswomen. Alternatively, you can avail of the rafting tours with packed lunch for Php 360 per head. Don’t miss swimming in its placid waters after feasting on delicious meals!
Gael is the author of the blog The Pinay Solo Backpacker.