Smile Like There's No Tomorrow in Lake Balinsasayao, Negros Oriental, Philippines
ALL-TIME FAVORITE POST FROM 2011 RE-BLOGGED:
Rising above 1000 meters above sea level, hail to one of the gems of Oriental Negros' tourism. A major attraction in the region is the beautiful and awe inspiring 'Twin Lakes'. When you're going to Dumaguete, a day spent in Twin Lakes should be one of the best experiences you could ever have in this side of the world.The calmest and most serene place in the whole province was also my last destination, and i must say.. it couldn't get any better than this.
My guide was persistent that i have to pay a visit to Lake Balinsasayao because he really wanted me to see what this spot has to offer. 6 kilometers from Dumaguete City is the town of Sibulan, and 12 kilometers west of Sibulan + 20 minute scenic ride cruising along impeccable winding paths on high altitude, will get you to Balinsasayao Lake. On my way going there, i rode the motorbike yet again, and passed by such an amazing coastline. The trip was exciting because i got to pass by the national highway and see the beautiful view of the ocean and next door neighboring province, Cebu.
Lake Balinsasayao is a protected national park. Before disembarking, you will have to sign and pay a minimal fee of P10 issued by the Republic of the Philippines to enter. This fee goes to the rehabilitation and protection of the national park. Years have passed, and local hunters and "kaingeros" have continuously cut down timber. This illegal activity has resulted to an alarming rate fall of the water level in the lake. I think this issue needs to be resolved quick before this place turns into a barren basin.
Here i am finding my balance in a huge tree. (Please ID this tree if this is the Almagica "Almasiga" which is one of the tallest tree in the Philippines rising over 60 meters.)
Lake Balinsasayao is gaining popularity among adventure-seekers for its beautiful diversity of flora and fauna. From rare species of birds to beautiful and wild orchids, Lake Balinsasayao offers the richest and best ecosystem. Fishing is another popular activity here. Carp, catfish, tilapia are frequently swimming in this fresh water lake and most of the day-trippers would fish and cook their fresh catch. Likewise, you can just ask the local fishermen and buy from them. Native huts are built, where one can rent and enjoy the view of the beautiful lake while savoring a delicious feast.
If fishing is not your thing, you could rent a boat or a kayak. On the other hand, one can also enjoy the sight from the cliff by trekking to the other side of the ridge. Most people who go here have brought with them their packed meals. if you forgot to bring yours, don't worry because there's a canteen before the descend to the lake. If this was in Thailand, this place would be part of an adventure day tour - hence, a steady inflow of tourists. Let's help out the tourism industry here, shall we?!
By the way, for happy campers it's good to note that there are areas around the lake where you could pitch in your tent. I reckon it would be an awesome experience to camp out here, in the middle of the jungle and just commune with nature.
Be reminded that the water isn't shallow. A few steps from the bank, the water goes to a deep slope which others say descend up to 90 meters. But i couldn't fathom the thought of going to Lake Balinsasayao and not swimming. It's just not right! So, there i was braving the cold water and swimming, together with the little Negrense kids. What a beautiful experience!
Lake Balinsasayao is embraced by four mountains: Mount Mahungot to the south, Mount Kalbasan to the north, Mount Balinsasayao to the east and Mount Guidabon to the west. The air is cool here and the breeze of the wind makes it an ideal place to spend an afternoon. I just loved my stay here even if it was just a short while. Do you know that this portion of Sibulan is said to be the home of a remarkable number of species: 180 different kinds of trees, 113 birds, 27 mammals and 49 reptiles and amphibians, making it a national park?
If there's one thing i regret not doing, it is staying longer here in Lake Balinsasayao. It's so beautiful and calming that i forgot all my worries. All the apprehensions of what was waiting for me when i get back home, all gone and forgotten about. Meditation is a recommended activity here, and as advised - during sunrise and sunset are the best time to enjoy the 'Twin Lakes'. I always found myself weirdly smiling all the time here. It seems there are still places in the world, where one could just forget about the worries of tomorrow, and just smile, like there's no tomorrow.