I had been planning and pushing this weekend escape for God knows how long! Me and my friends’ schedules don’t permit and that is why it took us another year (2017) to finally drive to the South and explore some of Laguna’s hidden gems. It was very timely, actually, because I got very exhausted at work and I went gaga the week before this, which made me look forward to the weekend and got very excited to go out and have a breath of fresh air.
9:00 AM – 12:00 NN Travel to Lake Pandin
12:00 NN – 3:00 PM Lake Pandin experience
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Prepare and travel to Underground Cemetery
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM Underground Cemetery tour and photo ops
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Travel and drop by at Folcon Bakeshop and Coffeeshop
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM Travel back to Manila
Lake Pandin is situated in San Pablo, Laguna which is also known as the “City of Seven Lakes.” There are a lot of means on how to get there. It could be by bus and then take a tricycle/jeepney ride. But for us, we chose to drive our own car since we also planned to make a side trip to Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.
From the parking, Lake Pandin can be reached in roughly 15 minutes walk. You can hire a tour guide but in our case, we looked for it on our own and just asked the locals which ‘turns’ should we take. It’s easy to find, actually. And some of the views on your way to Lake Pandin were very picturesque.
According to the locals of Lake Pandin, there are many tourists (200-300) during weekends which is expected. So if you are planning to go here, consider weekdays to have less crowd. Though during our time, there were only a few groups probably because it’s pouring a bit and it was not entirely sunny.
And for only P360, you get to enjoy these seafood while on board. Yes, it will only cost you barely $10 to experience this incredible lake inclusive of lunch for 2-3 hours. There are also stores around which offers desserts such as Leche Flan, Ube Halaya etc.
We really wanted to swim in the lake, but note that you have to fetch water if you want to freshen up after. You read it right, there’s no water ready in the toilet. And since we were still heading somewhere after, we just decided to just dip our feet in the water and enjoy the experience with lots of photo op and good music.
After Lake Pandin, we then headed to Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan. It was 20-30 minutes drive away from the parking area.
This one of a kind cemetery is a actually a national historic landmark which was designed for funeral mass in 1845 by Fr. Vicente Velloc. This is also exactly where the Filipino revolutionaries met up in secret in 1896, Filipino patriots plan their battle plans during the Filipino-American war and this place was used as a safehouse for Filipino guerillas during World War II. (Credits to Laguna Travel Guide)
Before we left San Pablo, we decided to get coffee on our way back because it surely is going to be a long drive. The traffic is horrible. I googled some of the famous cafes in San Pablo and it pointed us to Folcon Bakeshop and Coffeeshop. We were just 2km away from where we were standing and so we decided to drop by and get some snacks.
It’s absolutely possible to make a weekend escape outside Manila. All it takes is some Google-ing and research and then make it happen. It’s also more convenient if you have a car since you can maximize your time. If you are planning to go to Lake Pandin, make sure to work on your itinerary because there’s so much more to see than just the ‘Seven Lakes’ in this city.