The Bucolic San Pablo City and the Legend of Sampaloc Lake


San Pablo is known as the “City of Seven Lakes.” Although declared as a city, the presence of vast coconut plantations gives San Pablo a pastoral charm. Blessed with natural wonders, the seven lakes (not including a very small crater lake) can be accessed within the city limits. 


 Laguna’s First Important City

San Pablo takes its pride as Laguna’s first city. Formerly known as Sampaloc and San Pablo de los Montes, it was founded by Father Hernando Cabrera in 1678. It was annexed to Batangas in 1756 by Governor de Aranda but was returned to Laguna in 1848. 

The city is an important commercial and transportation center. It links the provinces of Laguna with Batangas and Quezon. Copra is a major industry. World-class coconut processing companies sprung from its many surrounding coconut plantation including the world’s largest Franklin Baker Desiccated Coconut Factory. Recently, San Pablo has become the leading manufacturers of jeepneys as well as AUVs and minibuses. 

At the heart of San Pablo City is the Cathedral. Established since 1586 under Father Mateo Mendoza, the present building was built in 1714 by Father Francisco Eloriaga on a foundation laid down by Father Juan Labao in 1680. 


The Legend of Sampaloc Lake

Included in the Viaje del Sol itinerary is a tour of the fabled Sampaloc Lake. The tour can be arranged through environmentalist Mandy Marino.

Sampaloc Lake is the largest of the seven lake of San Pablo. The lake is one kilometer across and twenty seven meters deep. A four kilometer paved walk way encircles the lake. It is dotted with fish pens and cages for the bangus and tilapia cultivation. 

A special variety of water hyacinth used for sandal and hat weaving is also found floating on the lake. 

Several restaurants are found along the shores while the silhouette of the legendary Mount Cristobal forms a mysterious background on the east. 

Sampaloc Lake is the nearest and most accessible from the city. It is also has the most popular legend. 

According to the legend, the 105-hectare lake was once an orchard of tamarind trees which bore the sweetest fruit in the land. It was owned by rich yet childless couple. The tamarind orchard was fenced and guarded by a fierce watch dog. 

Once day, an old woman begged the couple for some fruit. Proud and unkind, the couple turned the old beggar away. But the old beggar warned the couple not to be selfish. And when the inhospitable couple let the guard dog loose to dismissed the old beggar again, the old woman’s haggard looks melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. Fearful for what they have witnessed, the couple tried to apologize but it was too late. As punishment, the enchantress sent a storm that brought heavy rains throughout the night. 

The next morning, a vast expanse of the water covered what used to be the couples tamarind orchard. It was said that through its clear waters, the dark mass of tamarind trees still rooted to the sunken ground, could be seen. 



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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. On Sept. 19, 2009, I made my first entry in this web site about my father, Cesar Gesmundo. Sadly, he passed away last Nov.21, 2012. His last wishes was to have a last tour of San Pablo City, to drive around the plaza, palengke and of course Sampaloc lake. This only shows the impact of this wonderful city icon in the lives of many San Pablenos. Tatay has passed away with bountiful good memories of this place.

  2. It’s really very nice to be back were you grew up and reminish all the wonderful times you had specially when your house is a couple of blocks from the legendary lake. Well, i’ll be back soon, Very soon!

  3. Napakaganda ng Lawa ng Sampaloc sa Lunsod ng San Pablo. Gusto kong magbalik-tanaw sa aking mga karanasan noong ako’y musmos pa lamang. Ako ay nagtapos ng elementarya sa Paaralang Elementarya ng Ambray at ng sekundarya naman sa Dalubhasaang Laguna (Laguna College). Maipagmamalaki ko ang mga magagandang tanawin at preskong hangin sa ating lunsod. Ngunit nakalulungkot lamang na ito ay unti-unti ng nasisira nating mga San Pableño. Nawa’y ang mga makababasa nito ay matauhan at mapaisip na iisa lamang ang ating Inang Kalikasan, at kung ito ay masisira, mahirap na itong ibalik muli sa dati. May mga bagay na hindi na natin maibabalik gaya ng mga nasirang relasyon kaya sana ang mga kabataan, huwag padalos-dalos sa pagpapakasal. Dahil ang kasal ay isang sakramento na kaloob sa atin ng Diyos at hindi parang kanin na iluluwa mo kapag napaso ka. Hindi biro-biro ang buhay. Mahirap ito. Pag nagkaanak na ang isang dalaga at isang binata sila ay may pananagutan na bilang mga magulang. Bow.

  4. How I wish I could walk around the lake again. Miss ko na yong tambayan ko sa sampaloc lake noong bata pa ako.

    Yana mabasa ito ng mga classmates ko sa Central School batch 1980-81.

    Dito na ako sa Tacloban City naninirahan!

    I love San Pablo because I was born here, raised and finish my elementary education at SP Central School.

  5. […] Laguna attractions Traveller on Foot- Sampaloc Lake Home | Tourist Destinations | Famous Delicacies and Products | Festivities | Gallery | […]

  6. dito lang may salitang “SALAW”=)

  7. sir just gonna ask a permission to take the pictures you post..just for the purpose of my goes to you..salamat kapwa sanpableno

  8. I have always been proud to be a native of our beautiful City, and I look very much forward to
    my annual holidays and homecoming. Having grown up around the vicinity of Sampaloc Lake, I always
    remember the times and fun spent in the area…

    Viva San Pablo …

  9. I wish I saw this blog post earlier. Check out my photos of Sampaloc Lake, I’d like to go back and catch the lake with a clear blue sky and a clear view of Mt. Banahaw.

  10. ahehheh malapit n ako umuwi sa probinsya ko!!! mis ko na mga lake at maligo sa PANDIN LAKE!!! ahehhe

  11. It’s so wonderful to feature an icon from San Pablo City which is my birthplace. It has been part of my life and can only remember good memories with families and friends. My father Cesar Gesmundo,retiree with some medical condtions spends his everyday life in Sampaloc lake raising roosters, he finds peace and tranqiulity in the place.
    Yes, I have heard about the legend of Sampaloc lake and I have told the same stories to my 4 children.
    Mabuhay po ang mga San Pableno!

    Alice- ( Australia)

    • As parents, we should let our children know our heritage and traditional stories Alice. Let’s make them proud to be pinoy!

  12. Hello!

    Never thought that we have something like this in San Pablo. This one is beautiful


  13. My mother grew up here, and she keeps on telling us about their lives in San Pablo City, especially Sampaloc Lake, I would like to bring her here again, I am very much sure, she will enjoy it, but I really dont know how to go there, it’s supposed to be a surprise for her, since she will celebrate her birthday on September 15, 2009

    • Bringing your mother to the place she grew up is really sweet Myrna dela Cruz. JAM buses stationed in Cubao and Buedia/Taft Makati can take you to San Pablo in less than 2 hours. Sampalok Lake is very near the plaza. You can ask the local for directions.

  14. well, i missed that place! i was born and raised to that city! missed all my peps!!! but ill be back very soon…

  15. Sampaloc Lake: A breath of fresh air! You can spend a nice weekend morning-jogging,biking,a little of site seeing and chillin’ by the lake-and we do these when we’re in SPC 🙂

  16. ang ganda ng ating bayan ano?syempre proud ako tga rito yata ako……..

  17. very nice city,taga rito yta ako,,,we must proud

  18. well its very nice 2 see the city that i grew up hehehe!!

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