We’ve always talked about going to Lake Pandin but it was only two Saturdays ago that we finally did. And it was a good decision to head out of Manila and venture to San Pablo in Laguna for a much-needed nature trippin away from the concrete jungle. I’ve heard about Lake Pandin from some friends and thought, it could be a good easy-breezy day trip. Imagine, a two-hour raft ride with a picnic lunch of fresh food prepared by men and women from the community. And it was. The 10-15-minute walk from the parking lot to the lakeshore was a good appetizer for our lunch of rice, grilled tilapia and chicken, fern (pako) salad with salted egg, butter garlic (mini) shrimps, bananas, pineapples and coconut water! A bit of swimming here, a bit of jumping there, a lot of eating and more of chatting — such a chill time! And baby-friendly too! I fully recommend for y’all to try going to this trip (except during really rainy days as the trek path might be too muddy/slippery) not just for the good lunch and scenery, but also to support local ecotourism at Lake Pandin.
It was back in August 2011 during my VSO Bahaginan preparatory training when I first set foot on Lake Island. About 1.5-2 hours from Cubao (due to daytime traffic), this secluded and serene place is perfect for the purpose that it was built — a seminar and conference / retreat center. The Lake Island compound, in Binangonan, Rizal, is surrounded by lush trees, manicured grounds, flowering plants and of course, the calm man-made lake. All of the sleeping quarters are made of native materials — wooden walls and floors, bamboo beds, furniture and pillars, and nipa leaves for the roofing. The food served is always a delight, in its simplicity and freshness. Some of my favorites, I’ve been here three times (this photo taken in February 2014, 3rd visit), are the fried tilapia (pinaputok style), ensaladang camote tops, and the minatamis na saging! So, if you’re a group of friends or family wanting a relaxed and quiet weekend or a company looking for your next team building venue, consider heading out to Lake Island. 🙂
The first dam I ever saw in full in my life is Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija. This photo was taken in 2009, back when having a 3.2 megapixel Nokia phone was the in thing. 🙂 Pantabangan Dam is a multi-purpose dam / water reservoir that’s used for hydroelectricity generation, irrigation water for farmlands, and household water supply. I think it’s also used as catchment basin (or reservoir) for rainwater. Its water comes from two sources, I just can’t remember their names. (Help from NIA colleagues please!) When we were there, the Pantabangan Dam and it’s water (after the spillway — it’s not a slide!) was so still and it’s mostly green colored, which I am guessing is either a reflection of the trees, or moss. Either way, I found (actually find) it really beautiful. >
I wasn’t born yet during the Marcos regime but stories have of course reached me through history lessons and personal discussions among family, friends and colleagues. What I didn’t know, however, is that there existed a Malacañang of the North, located in Marcos’ Ilocandia (Ilocos) stronghold, apart from the President’s Mansion in Baguio. And that, behind the imposing facade of the Malacañang of the North awaits in peace and serenity the Paoay Lake. It’s probably one of the biggest man-made lakes…ever. The Paoay Lake was really a beautiful sight and it was really calming and relaxing, just staring blankly at it. I recently watched a video on the Paoay Lake Regatta happening in June — maybe something for you and me to see! It was in 2011 since I last set foot in Ilocos Norte. Perhaps it’s time to return!>