After a brief stopover at Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo, Laguna, we continued our Viaje del Sol. This time we were headed for “San Pablo’s best kept little secret” –Lake Pandin.
Environmentalist Mandy Mariño referred us to Mang Tano, president of the Samahang Mangingisda ng Lawa ng Pandin (SMLP). From the San Pablo town proper, we went on a 10-minute drive to meet up with Mang Tano at Barangay Sto. Angel.
Lake Pandin is away from the main road. From the main road we trekked a narrow path surrounded by tall plant life. Along our trail, we were occasionally greeted by children on horseback. We observed that horse dung is scattered along the trail. So we kept a keen sense so as not to step on one.
After a 15-minute trek, we sighted from atop of a hill the calm waters of Lake Pandin.
At the lake shore, we were greeted by Evelyn, vice-president of SMLP. She led us to the bamboo raft that would ferry us across the lake. The raft was about 30-feet long and 10-feet wide.
We enjoyed the scenery as Evelyn and Mang Tano paddled our raft across the Pandin. Surrounding the lake are forests of coconut trees and lush greens. Occasionally, we would hear unusual sounds from the forest which according to Evelyn are hawks and other birds of prey.
The water of Lake Pandin is so inviting that we started dipping our feet into the cold water while the bamboo raft slowly takes us to the other end of the lake.
The lake is 63-meters deep according to Evelyn. We observed a couple of fish cages. The lake is for one a source of livelihood. According to Mang Tano, they are exercising all efforts to preserve the lake. We learned that residents surrounding the lake (which are kept to a limit) source their drinking water from its center.
Pandin is the only one among the seven lakes of San Pablo where visitors are encouraged to swim. We were warned by Evelyn though that the part of the lake where we were about to jump into has “no bottom,” meaning it is so deep that our feet won’t be able to touch the bottom. But that did not stop us from not diving into the cold aqua crystal waters of Lake Pandin.
As we were ferried back to the lakeshore, the calmness of Lake Pandin made us hope for the natural beauty of the lake remains as how we are leaving it on that day.