The emerald lake glistened in the summer sun. On its shores, five or six big rafts wait for visitors. Three others were on farther side, already busy touring the guests that came from different places, perhaps from Manila and the nearby provinces.

The rate for the tour, which lasts for two hours, was affordable: P360 per guest.* That already includes a good serving of rice, liempo, grilled tilapia, hipon cooked in coconut milk and kamias, and pako (fern) in tomatoes and itlog na maalat (salted egg). What a sumptuous lunch! Of course, the perfect culmination is sipping fresh buko juice from a young coconut that Ate Sima will prepare for you.

Quietly, the bamboo raft glided as Ate Sima and her company paddled across the green water. At some point, they maneuvered a rope tied to a tree on the other side of the lake. This made the raft easy to handle as it roams the wide lake of Pandin.

* The rate is P500 per guest for two, and P1000 if you’re going solo.
** Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.