San Pablo City: "City of Seven Lakes"
You might have heard of Laguna. That is certain! But has anyone heard of the seven lakes in Laguna? Probably not. Maybe you haven’t even heard of San Pablo City, Laguna. Geographically, it’s a city at the tip of Laguna, sharing its boundaries with Quezon Province. Unlike other towns in Laguna, San Pablo City is a rural place. It is located between Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw.
San Pablo City dubs itself as the “City of Seven Lakes.” These seven lakes are said to be maars or low-profile volcanic craters formed due to its location (as I have mentioned, between Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw). These two mountains are actually volcanoes. So to say, they formed these beauties.
Assuming you’ve already arrived at SM San Pablo, how can you reach the seven lakes?
1) Sampaloc Lake
Compared with all other lakes in San Pablo City, Sampaloc Lake is the nearest to the city proper and the most popular. It is the busiest due to the establishments that were built around the lake and the commercialization. Sampaloc Lake is also the biggest among the seven (104 hectares), but it’s the third to the shallowest (27 meters in depth only).
You may ask the driver to drop you off on either of the following points: Bagong Pook, Central, and Jollibee. From these three drop-off points, it could be another tricycle ride if you’re not so fond of walking. However, from San Pablo Central School and Jollibee San Pablo Plaza, it might not be a bad idea to walk going to Sampaloc Lake. It’s just a few-minute walk.
What will be the sign that you have already arrived at your destination?
Once you find any signs of the city hall or the big park, you’re almost there!
2) Palakpakin Lake
Palakpakin is easily accessible at San Buenaventura, San Pablo City, a village which is several kilometers from the downtown. However, it actually covers 3 barangays. And it is also connected to Calibato and Pandin, two of the seven lakes. This is also the second to the largest lake after Sampaloc Lake (45 hectares). But, it is the shallowest among the seven (just 8 meters in depth).
If you’d be commuting, you need to go to the jeepney terminal located along Zamora street. If you’d be riding a jeepney from SM San Pablo, the jeepney drivers usually drop their passengers on that street. Just ask anyone for the whereabouts of the Palakpakin jeepney terminal.
On the other hand, if you’ll be taking a car, then you may enter Bagong Pook or any roads leading to Mabini St. Once you’re in Mabini St., then just drive straight. That road leads to Palakpakin Lake.
However, you may not enjoy the lake if you don’t have any acquaintances around the area. Unlike some of the lakes, you won’t be able to do any activities on Palakpakin Lake (e.g., bamboo rafting, etc.).
3) Mohicap Lake
Mohicap Lake is fortunately near the Palakpakin Lake. It is also located at San Buenaventura, San Pablo City. Mohicap Lake is the smallest among the seven (18.5 hectares only) but the third in terms of depth (35 meters deep). It is also one of the accredited tourist spots in San Pablo City.
To get there, simply continue north onto Dolores Road. It’s slightly visible from the road. You may then ask around for directions to the entrance of Mohicap lake. It’s near the Starlake Resort and Hotel. You’d have to pass by a concrete stairway down into the smallest lake among the seven lakes. The entrance fee is Php10/person. Like Pandin Lake and Yambo Lake, you can do several activities at Mohicap Lake for affordable costs.
4) Pandin Lake
Pandin is one of the most famous tourist destination among the seven lakes. It is strategically located out from the sight of motorists. And, it is one of the cleanest lakes among the seven lakes. It’s the second to the smallest among the seven lakes (20.5 hectares only). However, it is also the second to the deepest (62 meters in depth).
To get to Pandin lake, alight at San Pablo City plaza and then walk towards the cathedral church. You’d see the nearest 7-11 as you walk towards the church. Stop there. You should see the jeepney terminal for PUJ’s (route: Nagcarlan-Liliw). Otherwise, you may freely ask the bystanders around that area. Once you are in the jeep, ask the driver to drop you off at Brgy. Sto. Angel (Ilog), specifically at the entrance of Pandin Lake. It would be a 10-minute walk from there. Since this is a usual tourist destination, walking would be more relaxed since you may ask anyone around.
If you happen to have a vehicle, then you should just follow the one-way road on the left side of the cathedral church. Follow the path to Schetelig Avenue. You won’t easily get lost in finding the Pandin Lake since there is much signage near its parking lot. You could rent parking spaces.
There is an entrance fee for visitors. Also, Pandin Lake has been famous for its activities like bamboo rafting, lunch by the lake, and trekking.
5) Yambo Lake
Yambo may look like the twin of Pandin. On the map, they actually look connected. But, they are actually separated by a thin strip of land. To get a glimpse of Yambo Lake from Pandin Lake, one needs to hike up to that narrow strip of land. Before, you can do hiking to visit both lakes. But, the trail was already closed.
How could you visit Yambo lake then? Surprisingly, you have to reach Nagcarlan, Laguna to go back to Yambo in San Pablo City. You have to ride the same PUJ’s as Pandin (Nagcarlan-Liliw-bound). Once you reach the town proper of Nagcarlan, ask the trustworthy manong driver for the tricycle terminal to Brgy. Sulsuguin. You may rent a tricycle from that terminal going to Brgy. Sulsuguin. You’d end up in a restricted usage road where you can then take a walk.
Like Lake Mohicap and Pandin Lake, Yambo Lake is one of the spots that offer various activities for visitors. Yambo Lake is just an average in terms of size (28.5 hectares) and depth (31 meters).
6) Calibato Lake
Calibato Lake entry point is located on the same village as with Pandin Lake. You also have to take the Nagcarlan-Liliw-bound jeepney. But, there is no signage marking the entry to Calibato Lake. You literally have to use your communication skills. First, ask the driver to drop you off at the entrance to the trail. From there, you’d have to take 30 to 45 minutes of the hike towards the destination. It’s not really a tourist destination, so it has a raw presence to it. This is one of the undeveloped lakes, but the deepest among the seven lakes at 135 meters in depth. It is also the third to the largest among the lakes (next to Palakpakin Lake at 42 hectares).
7) Bunot Lake
Bunot Lake is our seventh lake here. It is located in Brgy. Concepcion, San Pablo City. So same as the latter lakes, you have to pass by Nagcarlan-Liliw road again. This time, this lake is nearer from the city proper. Looking at Google Maps might offer you to walk instead of riding a tricycle or jeepney. To go to Bunot Lake, you may take several routes. The most popular and most accessible could be Sabang Rd. option. You may ask the jeepney driver to drop you off at Sabang, and then you may walk from there. The local residences could be a good source of options for the easiest way to see Bunot lake. Or if you want to have lunch by Bunot Lake, you may opt to check out our review of Cusina de Sabang. Cusina de Sabang is a popular way for you to view Bunot Lake (size: 30.5 hectares and depth: 23 meters).