Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Our trip to Pandin Lake is courtesy of sis’s two best friends. It was their birth month last month and instead of treating us to a restaurant, we had a refreshingly different lunch aboard the floating bamboo raft that Lake Pandin is known for. This lunch is actually sis’s idea. I’ve known that for the longest time, she wanted to experience what it was like to have lunch while touring a lake.

Lake Pandin is one of San Pablo’s seven lakes (the other six are Bunot, Cabilato, Yambo, Palakpakin, Muhikap and Sampaloc). It is more or less 2-3 hours away from Manila. It may be a bit far but it’s very much worth it, not really because of the food. You’ll find out later that the food they served us were just regular dishes you might also be serving at home. But there’s something about them being eaten with your bare hands, aboard a bamboo raft while taking in the cool breeze, the green surroundings, the trees, and everything in between  that just enhances your experience.

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Yes, we already experienced having dinner on a bamboo raft in Matabungkay beach but the raft there didn’t move. It was only tied somewhere to keep us near the shore.

The water rafting tour is organized by the wives of the fishermen in the area and is supported by the local officials. I’ve read that they have been welcoming tourists in the lake since 2006. The fishermen were the ones who build the bamboo rafts and their wives cooked the food served to tourists, they also work as the tourist guides, and paddlers of the raft.

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake
For ₱360 per person, you get a Lake Tour which lasts for 2 hours and food. You can also bring your own food and just pay ₱180 which is half of the ₱360 you’d normally pay. We chose to get the tour with food so we can maximize our experience. Here’s a photo of our bamboo raft before we get on it…

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Ykaie and I, with sis’s friends on the background…

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Food was served a few minutes after we sat down…

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

We already started eating the moment the food arrived. I was already hungry!

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

We had Pako Salad (Fiddlehead Fern Salad), topped with tomato and salted egg.

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

Steamed Rice wrapped in banana leaves and Grilled Tilapia (which I think is really smoked Tilapia)

Lunch Aboard the Bamboo Raft at Pandin Lake

They also served small Shrimps cooked in Coconut Milk. These are the kind of shrimp you don’t peel anymore, you just remove the head, antennae and the legs and it’s good to go. I’m assuming these are fresh catch because it tastes a bit sweet.

They served bananas for dessert and soy sauce, calamansi, and bird’s eye chili for dipping sauce.

We brought a cake, though, because two of sis’s friends are celebrating their birthdays. Candles had to be blown..heehee.

We also brought a few pieces of KFC because Ykaie might not like the Tilapia.

This is my plate and I went for more Pako Salad after this…

Drinks were fresh Buko Juice (Coconut Juice) served right in their shell…

Here we are being taken to the other side of the lake. The manangs use a rope to get the raft moving which I think also served as their guide on which path to take.

Ykaie and I holding one of the wooden paddles…

We managed to hike up and check out Yambo Lake which is located on the other side of this lake. When we went back to the raft, the manangs put up these souvenirs for sale. There are bead nekclaces, wallets/coin purse , hangers, and coin banks made of coconut shells. I bought one coin purse for Ykaie for ₱100 and she loves it!

Have you been to Lake Pandin or the six other lakes in San Pablo, Laguna?

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51 Responses

  1. Oh my goodness did you press my restless button. Totally fascinating in every respect. I love the story of how the men built the rafts, which gives the women an opportunity to develop a business and a stream of income too. We have tilapia in our fish markets, but it’s always fillets. It was cool to see them as fish fish—-well granted they are now dead fish. Where I live, we have shrimp too. But I had never heard of the ones that are small and you eat the shells as you showed us. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I totally enjoyed it.

  2. This post calls my name to have a summer vacation na! Is San Pablo laguna yung dinadaanan before Sta. Cruz or iba yun? I would like to have a family outing din there! The food you prepared looks very delicious.

  3. been there in Pandin before for a short trip.. though it was a little commercialized , i still find it good for family gathering .. the prices are reasonable .

  4. The good thing about it is the proximity from Manila. Most people don’t know that they don’t need to travel far just to witness such natural beauty in Laguna.

  5. will remember this when i get back in philippines i live near in San Pablo and I have cousins there! such a nice place to have some foods with families!

  6. My grandmother lives in Victoria, Laguna so we made a quick stop here but we haven’t tried the buffet because we only stayed for 3 hours. But we had a great time.

  7. What a wonderful,creative way of making the place welcoming for tourists and to probably raise money for their community! Mabuhay these fishermen wives!

    San Pablo reminds me so much of my teenage years. We used to go there every summer for youth camp and we’d be at Villa Escudero for a week. Rafting at the lake is definitely something to try out, but I was a bit scared because it was deep and I was not a very good swimmer. I didn’t get to eat on a raft the way you had though. That paco salad looks really good.

  8. Super perfect timing ang post na to. My dad wants to do exactly this at the end of May, and I’ve been wondering what the experience is like. 🙂

  9. Looks fun! I love relaxing trips like this one. The only time we got to try eating while on a moving raft was when we took our kids to Bohol. It was a lovely experience so it’s nice to know that there’s one near Manila!

  10. Hi! I’d like to go here very soon. 🙂 I was hoping you could help me with how you went about this trip. Did you have to reserve or did you just do a walk-in? Thank you!!

  11. Great post. 🙂 may contact number po ba kayo ng taga lake padin? We’re planning po kasi na pumunta yhis may. Thanks po. 🙂

  12. thank you for your post. this is very helpful. im taking my family in laguna next week for a 2-day vacation. your post convinced me to visit lake pandin. im concerned with the booking though. baka pagdating jan taken puno na ang bamboo rafts. or marami ba silang available rafts to accomodate large number of visitors?

  13. Hi ! We we’re planning on celebrating our anniversary in lake pandin . I just want to ask if there is a minimum person for the raft or is it ok if we’re just 2 persons? And also do we have to make reservations for the raft or is it available on the area? Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi, Advance happy Anniversary!. I think there’s no minimum persons for the raft. It’s available in the area. I think you can get one as long as it isn’t a busy day.

  14. Hi! Was fascinated by your post on Lake Pandin. Would like to take my Balikbayan guest there on April 4. Have some questions though, and hoping you can help me:
    1. Where do you park your vehicle, and is the parking area safe ftom possible robbers or carnappers?
    2. Can we just go there and make arrangement for river tour with lunch DIRECT with the “manangs”, or do we have to go through some office?
    Hope you can help me,.. am a female senior, and will be the one driving in case this trip pushes thru. Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      1. Well, they have a designated parking lot at the entrance of Lake Pandin. I think it’s pretty much safe because our vehicle didn’t get robbed naman.
      2. Yes, you can make arrangements with the Manangs directly. Just don’t go during peak season or you’ll have to wait your turn.

      I hope that answers your question. Thanks for dropping by.


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Hi, Peachy here!

I'm a foodie mommy living in the Philippines. I'm a mom to two daughters named PURPLE SKYE and PERIWINKLE MOONE and wife to a loving husband I fondly call peanutbutter♥. I am a foodie by heart, a coffee lover and a froyo and yogurt junkie. Learn more →






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