Lake Balanan: A lake born from an earthquake
Around 5 in the afternoon of May 5, 1925, the town of Siaton hit a 6.8 magnitude earthquake which triggered a landslide that created a natural dam, called Sampong (meaning to close). This blocked the waters of Balanan River and caused to form the Balanan Lake.
The freshwater lake resembles a figure of eight in which the narrowest point between the two main portions of the lake is only 90 meters wide.Mountain ranges served as a beautiful backdrop of the lake and it was surrounded by three tributaries in the northern part. These are the Lamarao Creek, the Balanan Creek and the Nasig-id Creek. The lake is 25 hectares in surface area and 285 meters above sea level.
It was off season when we visited the place so there were only four of us who were guests of the resort. The other two were a couple and decided to stay overnight with their tent since there is a camping site around the lake. It was said that the lake has a humid tropical climate with two seasons, a dry season from November to April and a wet season for the rest of the year.
There are cheap cottages that you can rent around if you want some barkada reunion or family gathering during weekends. A staff told us that there are a lot of guests who would come and have a picnic during Sundays.
You can also rent floating cottages so that you can spend a fun picnic with the bam while floating on the lake. This small trip to Balanan lake came spontaneously and we only came for sight seeing. So we didn't bring any food with us. And it was already 4 in the afternoon when we arrived the place, so there was a little time to explore the whole resort.
The lake was surrounded with huge trees that would serve as roof during dry and sunny seasons and the stones that piles up on the corner are filled with moss. If you are from an urban area, this place will make you appreciate the beauty of rain forests.
They also have hotel rooms for those who want to spent a night or a long-weekend staycation and as of now, they only have eight rooms.
- Room rates:
- Big Rooms - 2,000php/night (Good for 4 persons, Max. Add. 3 pax, 200php/pax)
- Small Rooms - 1,500php/night (Good for 3 persons, Max. Add. 2 pax 200php/pax)
Since there were no guests checked in, we took the opportunity to see how their rooms look like and I was amazed because it was spacious and child friendly. The glass windows are all facing the lake, so every morning you will be greeted by a very relaxing ambiance.
There are some locals who go to the lake to catch some fishes for food. We met a young boy who told us a few things about the place like him and some of his friends jump off the cliff and also catch fishes.
There was also a swimming pool filled with fresh flowing water located on the downside of the resort. Actually, it was consists of three pool, one was for the kids and the other two were for the adults.
Entrance fee is 50php for adult and 25php for children under 12 years old. This includes trekking, use of swimming pool and comfort rooms.
Here are some of their facilities rates:
- Zipline 150php/head
- Picnic table 50php whole day
- Restaurant table 75php whole day
- Conference Hall 1,000 day used ; 2000php/day overnight
- Staff House 2,000php/night (Max. 10pax, 200php add. pax)
Other activity facilities rates:
- Boat 200php/hour (good for 8 persons)
- Kayak 150php/hour (good for 2 persons)
- Triyak 200php/hour (good for 3 persons)
- Pedal Boat 100php/hour (good for 2-3 persons)
- Floating Big 250php/hour (good for 10-15 persons)
- Floating Small 100php/hour (good for 8-10 persons)
- Camping Fee 150php/person
How to get there:
You can take a bus from Dumaguete City going to Siaton with a travel time of approximately 3 hours. You can ask the bus conductor or the driver to drop you at the habal-habal station or the town maket of Siaton. Basing from my research, you can haggle with the habal-habal driver for a resonable price. 100/person is already enough for a one-way trip to the lake and always ask for a mobile number of the habal-habal driver to fetch you since there are no available habal-habal drivers on the area.
But in our case, we went there using our own transportation and the downfall of the trip is the road going uphill. Travel time from the national highway is approximately 30 minutes and you have to go through t the 10 kilometers bumpy narrow road. But I tell you, it is worth it! :)