San Pablo City, Laguna is the City of the Seven Lakes. In this small city south of Manila, you can enjoy some picturesque views of the lakes together with the nearby landscapes and mountains. This is one of the best places near Metro Manila for a quick weekend get away.
The most popular and largest among San Pablo’s 7 lakes is the Sampaloc Lake. The Sampaloc Lake is also very accessible for tourists. In fact it is situated just below the San Pablo City’s City Hall. Along its banks are various restaurants, hotels and other commercial establishments.
The Sampaloc Lake has provided a lot of living for the townsfolk of San Pablo. Its fresh water is suitable for fish culture farming. Some of the fishes grown in cages and fish pens are Bangus ( Milkfish), Tilapia, and Carp. There are also a lot of wild fresh water fishes that you can catch like Hito, Dalag and some fresh water shrimps.
Ang Alamat ng Lawa ng Sampaloc (The Legend of Sampaloc Lake)
Based on legends, during the old times, there was this rich couple who owned a large piece of land in the area where the lake stands now. In the middle of the property, within the vicinity of the couple’s yard stood a giant Sampaloc Tree (Tamarind) that bears very sweet fruits.
To test the couples generosity, Bathala (God), disguises himself as an old beggar and came to the couple’s house to ask some food and some sampaloc fruit. But instead of having mercy to the old beggar, the couple shooed the beggar away in some unrespectable manner.
Bathala got angry by the way the couple treated him, thus made the sky rain for days on end. The rains caused a lot of flooding, and when the rain finally stopped, the flood water concentrated only on one spot and that spot is the land of the rich couple. Up to this day, some believes that the Sampaloc Lake is that area where the giant sampaloc tree once stood.
How to get to Sampaloc Lake
From Manila, just take a bus bound for Lucena via San Pablo City. Most San Pablo bound buses have bus terminals in Cubao and Buendia/LRT. Fare is around 127 pesos for air conditioned buses and travel time is around 2 hours. Just ask your driver to drop you in front of theSan Pablo Medical Hospital.
From there you can take a jeep going to the city proper of a hire a tricycle. If you decided to take the jeep, ask the driver to drop you at the San Pablo Central School, from there the City hall is just around 300 meters away. Fare is only 8 pesos.
Migratory Birds Feasting on the bounty of the lake
Just a caution for those who want to take the tricycle, San Pablo Tricycle drivers are notorious for over pricing. If you are in a small group of say 3 to 5 persons, it is ok for you to pay the driver 10 pesos per person to take you to the City hall. For 1 to 3 persons you can haggle for 30 pesos, beyond that, I suggest you take the jeepney instead.
Names of the 7 Lakes of San Pablo City, Laguna
Sampaloc Lake is the most popular among San Pablo City’s Lakes. But unknown to others, San Pablo has a total of Seven Lakes, earning it the title City of 7 Lakes. Here is the list of San Pablo’s 7 lakes:
- Sampaloc Lake
- Bunot Lake
- Pandin Lake
- Yambo Lake
- Palakpakin Lake
- Kalibato Lake
- Muhikap Lake
Sampaloc Lake Fish Pens
Where to eat in San Pablo City?
Aside from trekking and hiking from one lake to another,San Pablo City and its nearby towns are great destinations for Foodies and Food Bloggers alike.
The city of San Pablo is a city filled with students, so looking for a decent place to look for affordable food is not that hard to find.
Sampaloc Lake View Deck
For those who want to eat Tapsilog, I suggest you eat first at Joel Town before riding the jeep bound for the city proper. Just ask around in the San Pablo Medical Hospital area for directions in where the place is located for it is inside the subdivision of Joel Town. They serve great tasting Silog meals. My favorite is Liemposilog with Chop Suey. There are also a lot of tapsilogan and restaurants serving student meals in the area of Laguna Collages, just 2 blocks away from the Sampaloc Lake viewing deck.
Prosperity Restaurant is also a famous restaurant in where they serve good pansit. They have a branch near BPI just across Jollibee and another one in front of the city’s market.
For those who want some pasta and some cake, try Folcon Bakeshop and Restaurant. They have a branch just a block away from the San Pablo Cathedral. If you want to go to their main branch, just tell your tricycle driver to take you to the place called 7up a few blocks away from SSS.
There are also a lot of restaurants at the bank of Sampaloc Lake. I haven’t personally tried eating there so I honestly can’t recommend any. There are also some who offers dining ala floating restaurants, in where you can dine on top of a bamboo raft.
For those who have some extra time to spare, you could head out to the town of Liliw to eat at Café Arabella or Chef Mau. You can also do some slipper shopping while you are there.
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