Laguna’s San Pablo City is notable for its seven lakes that are volcanic in origin. These lakes were supposedly formed when volcanic eruptions millions of years ago caused ground water to come into contact with hot magma pushing up to the earth’s surface. Today, San Pablo is part of a 63,000-hectare geothermal reservation stretching from Mount Makiling to mystic Mt. Banahaw, a portion of which is utilized as source of renewable energy powering Luzon.
Of San Pablo’s seven lakes, Pandin is the smallest yet the most pristine. Located in Barangay San Lorenzo, Pandin is maintained by a women-led community-based eco tourism association. They ensure that tourists are well taken cared of without compromising the well-being of the lake. Tourists can rent covered bamboo rafts while fresh tilapia, pako salad, and halo-halo are staples served by the association. Aside from taking a dip in the lake’s cool water, the faithful can have a moment of meditation at the grotto put together by the locals while a nearby narrow strip of land may be trekked for a view of Yambo, Pandin’s twin lake. Pandin and Yambo have their own myth – they were lovers separated by a curse.
Visit Pandin and the rest of San Pablo’s lakes by taking a Lucena-bound bus from Manila. From Manila to San Pablo, travel is about two hours. Travelers get off at SM City and take a five-minute jeepney ride to the city’s cathedral. From there, guests take jeepneys bound for either Ilog or Nagcarlan-Liliw. After a 20-minute ride to Barangay San Lorenzo, Pandin is reached by having an easy one-kilometer walk. Meanwhile, the rest of the lakes are nearby and can be covered in a regular weekend. The largest, Sampaloc Lake, located behind the city hall, is sorrounded by 3.7-kilometer drive ideal for biking and hiking.