10 Breathtaking Lakes in the Philippines That Are Not Taal
The Philippines is a tropical paradise for many reasons. We have the most beautiful islands, rich biodiversity of animals, and of course, delicious food that makes international travelers come back for more. But take a closer look and you can find these oases that have much more to offer than their picturesque views. Here are 10 lakes around the Philippines with all kinds of activities—from a relaxing boat ride to heart-pumping watersports.
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Providing irrigation for the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, Lake Sebu is recognized as one of the country’s most important watersheds. Aside from its key role in the everyday lives of locals, it also serves as a hotspot for adventurers. The village around it, named after the lake, has the highest zipline in the country. The 25-second ride may seem short, but it gives you a view of the seven waterfalls in this land of the T'bolis. You can ride a native boat around the lake filled with lotus flowers while fishing for tilapia that you can have for lunch at the surrounding restaurants.
Barracuda Lake Coron, Palawan
Along with its twin, Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake is one of the many reasons why Palawan is a tourist’s paradise. The lake's blue-green water is a mix of warm salt water and fresh water trapped by the surrounding limestone, with hot salt water settling at the bottom. Yes, there are barracudas swimming in the lake but they mostly keep to themselves and stay away from visitors. The lake makes for the perfect IG photo, too!
Pinatubo Lake Botolan, Zambales
When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the summit of the volcano collapsed. It was eventually replaced by a wide crater that trapped rainwater, consequently forming Pinatubo Lake. In fact, it is the deepest lake in the whole country at 2,000 feet. It's a hotspot for bush walking but the adventure leading up to it is another thing thrill-seekers look forward to since you can drive a powerful 4x4 vehicle on the rugged lahar terrain. Remember that this lake's sulfur-laden water is not for swimming.
Bababu Lake Basilisa, Dinagat Islands
Bababu Lake is made up of both fresh water and salt water and it's surrounded by tall limestone that blocks the wind. It’s also the location of the longest underwater cave in the Philippines that connects the lake itself to the sea. Known for supposedly having healing powers and for being a sanctuary of spirits, it is a well-protected area. Experienced divers can venture into the underwater cave but you can also go kayaking, snorkeling, or even bird-watching.
Bulusan Lake Bulusan, Sorsogon
Located at the foot of Bulusan Volcano, this lake is probably as green as it gets. Bulusan Lake is surrounded by a lush rainforest that you can get a glimpse of when you follow the cemented pathways around its perimeter. You can also rent a brightly colored kayak or an aqua cycle to explore the area and maybe even go fishing. Fun fact: It's also the location of Lav Diaz' opus, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis.
Caliraya Lake Lumban, Cavinti, and Kalayaan in Laguna
This man-made lake was actually created by an engineer from the U.S. Army to provide hydroelectric power for Manila in the late 1930s. But the Americans bombed it so that the Japanese wouldn’t be able to use it. Today, it is a popular fishing spot for bass as well as a go-to destination for watersports enthusiasts with a wide range of choices from jet skiing and riding speed boats, to windsurfing. There are also a number of resorts in the area.
Lake Pandin San Pablo, Laguna
San Pablo in Laguna is known as the City of Seven Lakes, but Lake Pandin is said to be the most pristine one of them all. You can rent a bamboo raft that will take you to Pandin’s twin, Lake Yambo. While floating your way through the lake to the other side, you can also order food like ginataang hipon, grilled seafood, and grilled pork that you can eat for lunch.
Lake Apo Valencia, Bukidnon
Appreciate the serenity and beauty of nature in this crater lake in Mindanao. The famous tourist stop is a favorite because of the number of activities that you can try all day. Enjoy the lake with the whole gang as you board the floating cottage and make your way around it while having breakfast. They also have kayaks if you’re looking to go solo or you can opt for the paddle boats for two. For adrenaline junkies, they offer jet skiing and even horseback riding.
Paoay Lake Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Paoay is famous for being the site of the Marcos family’s house museum, Malacañang of the North. But the lake is also known for the urban legends surrounding its creation. Local folklore says that the lake was once a religious community that was punished because its residents became greedy and materialistic—much like Sodom and Gomorrah. Rumor has it that the residents of the town turned into fish that still swim in the depths of the lake wearing their ill-gotten jewelry and accessories. Today, Paoay Lake is slowly becoming a hotspot for bird-watching, while other activities include riding paddle boats and paddle boarding.
Lake Balinsasayao Valencia, Negros Oriental
One-half of the famous twin lakes in Negros Oriental (the other being Lake Danao), Lake Balinsasayao is named after the birds that flock to the forest surrounding it. Fun fact: The nests that these birds make are used as an ingredient in nido soup. To explore the beauty of the lake, you can rent a paddle boat, go snorkeling, and try out free diving. Make the most out of your experience and spend a night or two camping beside the lake.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.