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.
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.
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…
Ykaie and I, with sis’s friends on the background…
Food was served a few minutes after we sat down…
We already started eating the moment the food arrived. I was already hungry!
We had Pako Salad (Fiddlehead Fern Salad), topped with tomato and salted egg.
Steamed Rice wrapped in banana leaves and Grilled Tilapia (which I think is really smoked Tilapia)
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?