May 13, 2010
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes (Sibulan, Negros Oriental)
The Padilla Family
I got an invite from the owners of Neva's Pizza, the Padilla family - Anis, Daphne and their 2 lovely kids, to join them for a family picnic at one of Sibulan's tourist attractions, the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao. I've heard a lot about the lakes and been meaning to go there myself, but being invited by the family who makes the best pizza in town (and they're bring lunch!), just makes things more salivating.
After turning off from the highway at nearly sea level, the road turns steep and winding until it reaches close to 3000 feet. For the serious mountain biker looking for some kickass workout, I would recommend this.
27 kms from Dumaguete, in the municipality of Sibulan, is the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park. Rising 894 meters above sea level, the twin lakes, Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao are relatively small crater lakes but go down deep. According to the boatman, they go down 90 meters. The 2 lakes are separated by a narrow and low ridge, from which a 3-level viewing tower is erected. The view is magnificent from up there. There's good carp to be fished, but one can also enjoy kayaking, swimming or boating. The entire area is forested and birds abound.
It's best to bring your own food and rent out one of the umbrella cottages by the lake. Better yet, bring your tent and camp overnight on the other side of Lake Balinsasayao. Otherwise, you can also chill out and eat on the resto deck. It just doesn't provide a view of the lake, but you may be treated to some wonderful bird watching as flocks of hornbills are known to hangout there around 3 pm.
From the main lake, you can take a boat to the viewing tower, but I would recommend taking the groomed trail on the slope surrounding the lake. Go up the tower and enjoy the view of both lakes.
ps - big thanks to the wonderful Padilla family for tagging me along!
- At the Gate: P10/person, P30/car
- umbrella cottage: P100/day (donation only for those who will not eat)
- viewing tower: P100 (to eat and relax), free for viewing only
- big bangka: P250/hour up to 7 pax
- double body: P250/hour up to 7 pax (additional P35/person over 7)
- kayak: P100/hour
- tour guiding: P300/day (surrounding lake view), P200 if less than a day, P1500/day from Twin Lakes to eco-spots of Valencia
- take a pedicab (tricycle) and ask to be taken to the jeep or bus terminal going or passing through San Jose
- tell the jeep/bus driver to drop you off the junction going to the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. This is after you've passed Sibulan proper but before you reach San Jose proper. ~30 minutes
- from that junction, it's a long uphill road. Hire a motorbike (habal-habal) to take you to the lakes. Make sure to arrange for your return. P100 one-way
Pictures courtesy of Anis and Daphne
"what birds did you spot?"
(May 18, 2010) ...can't say. I had no binocs. But there was a lot of chirping going on. Flocks of hornbills are known to frequent the place. They even named one, George, who lands on your table to eat your chips. I saw the video. But George didn't show up. 2 versions from the locals. One said George simply flew off and never returned. Another said a tourist twisted its neck. I believe the 2nd version.
(May 18, 2010) ...what birds did you spot?
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