Sunday, December 23, 2012

Balinsasayao Twin Lake Natural Park: To Be at Peace with Nature at Dumaguete

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"In the mountains of southern Negros Island, 12 km west of the town of Sibulan, Negros Oriental peacefully lie the captivating Lake Balinsasayao and its twin lake, equally breathtaking Lake Danao. One of the major tourist attractions in the province, Lake Balinsasayao is a protected Natural Park, home to an expansive ecosystem and great biodiversity.

The lakes are two small but deep crater freshwater lakes rising 1000 feet above sea level and separated by a narrow mountain ridge, situated in a hollow between four mountains, Mount Mahungot to the south, Mount Kalbasan to the north, Mount Balinsasayao to the east and Mount Guidabon to the west. Lake Balinsasayao lies to the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast" - Dumaguete Info

Next in our itinerary was the visit of the Balinsasayao Nature Park where the famous Twin Lake is located. At the Visitors Center was where you have to register and pay for the very small entrance fees.

A topographical model at the Visitors Center shows the location of this park and also the Twin Lakes.

There were already a few huts available here where you ca also have a picnic amidst nature and the calmness of the lake.

I took a picture of the Philippine flag that was proudly raised beside the center.

A few more minutes in the van took us up into the Restaurant Deck...

There were a few souvenir shirts but were not really of good design....not worthy of my eccentric taste. A few pasalubong were also available...but that's it...Nothing special. I would suggest they do something about this....wasted marketing opportunity.

The view of Lake Balinsasayao from the resto deck was magnificent already...There was a  lot of greenery!

From the main lake, you can either rent a boat taking you to the viewing tower or take the groomed trail on the slope surrounding the lake. It is a must to go up the tower (though it seems to be already on its way to falling into pieces so be extra careful) and enjoy the view of both lakes - Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao.

We chose to take the easier yet enchanting boat ride. It is with awe how the boatman was able to row the boat with all ten of us as weight.

But before we could get to the boat, we had to walk down - used the rock stairs - towards the lake. It was a steep hike downwards - but the harder part was later when we returned from the trip.

Our driver wearing the orange shirt was carrying a box containing some bottled water and our snacks for the day.

Several blue and orange life vests hung along the stairs

There was a huge carved sign with the words Oriental Negros Philippines Lake Balinsasayao hanging on a wooden post.

Huts are available for rent. You don't need to worry about the cost because they are really affordable.

Since there were nine of us, the boat we used was rectangular shape and blue in color and was named "Queen Ellinor" - fitting for a larger group.

Apparently there was a smaller boat for smaller two or four maximum.

You can see the roots from the trees. Believe me it looks a lot better in real life.

The many hats we wear - different personalities, different backgrounds, different point of views ....yet we all were equally pleased with the beauty that we are seeing right now. Nature is indeed remarkable!

The boat took us to the stairway of native-style pavilion on the narrow ridge separating the two lakes. The excitement inside was from getting off the boat and into another hiking adventure.

You need to climb the tower to see a better view of both lakes. Again be very careful, as the viewing tower is almost at a dilapidated state and needs much maintenance to make it last longer.

A view from the tower lets me see both Lake Balinsasayao and the smaller Lake Danao - both were wonders of nature - so tranquil and solemn.

The popular "kawayan" or bamboo is always the favorite material for constructing structures in the provinces.

The stairs to the upper portion of the tower is a bit steep but manageable

We now proceed further down going to the other side where Lake Danao is located.

We see a few timbers that were swept by the floods ad washed to the shores of the lake. The boatman says that logging is no longer allowed in the area, but I'm not really so sure if that's accurate. Some men just don't ever learn to respect nature and the consequences that results when we take nature for granted.

We somehow encouraged our boatman or "taga-sagwan" of "bangka" (boat) to open up and to tell us his life story. He said it was a difficult life. The work was hard and very rare (they don't really have a lot of visitors), and they just live off a small percentage from the boat rental.

We asked him to smile for the camera. It's amazing how he could smile but somehow you could still see a hint or glimpse of the poverty he is experiencing. At least he is doing a decent work, unlike otehr people in Metro Manila who will shoplift, snatch, rob, swindle and even kill for a living.

So its finally back to where we started from....took the same path back, and then across the river again with the same boatman.

Time to hang the "floaters" again....

We had this delicacy as a snack. It was similar to the "bibingka" back in Metro Manila. We were informed that these were cooked by an elderly couple who sells them for ony Php 10.00 a piece. It was newly cooked that morning and was wrapped in foil to preserve its warmth.

After the short merienda or break, we now followed the same path upwards towards the restaurant deck.

We took one last look of the Restaurant Deck and too a few more pictures from different angles while the sun was not as bright as it was earlier. But if I had a better camera, I could have taken a lot better pics.

Thank you for another wonderful opportunity to visit another interesting and fascinating tourist attraction of Dumaguete. It is unfortunate how many of our countrymen would prefer visiting tourist spots of other countries when they haven't even been here yet.

Let us support our own tourism movements to help our country.

Let's make it a point to prioritize a tour of any part of our country rather than going overseas.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi. I am planning to include this in my itinerary in dumaguete. How many hours should be alloted for this destination? (travel time back and forth, walking, boat ride). Will 3 hrs suffice? Thanks.


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