A glimpse of San Pablo, Laguna (Part 1)

This year I celebrated my birthday almost a month after the actual date. A relaxed weekend trip to San Pablo, Laguna was the plan and a good friend found and suggested just the right place to stay in — Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant.

What makes “Sulyap” a perfect destination? The place boasts of serene surroundings and a gallery that’s full of interesting pieces, not to mention antiques. Plus, Sulyap is a must-see if you are a photography enthusiast. You will definitely not run out of scenic views to take photos of.

Sampaloc Lake, one of the the seven lakes of San Pablo, which is a prime tourist spot, is also found in the city proper. It is the biggest lake with an area of 1.04  sq. km. and depth of 27 meters. Fish cages, balsas for rent and food carts are sources of income for the people living around the lake. The six other lakes in San Pablo City are Lakes Bunot, Calibato, Yambo and Pandin (Twin Lakes), Palakpakin and Mojicap.

How to get to Sulyap

My sister and I, together with our friends, had a hard time figuring out how to get there although we had a map. The problem was that, the map provided was a vicinity map and would only be helpful for those who were actually familiar with the area. Anyway, here’s how to get to Sulyap if you are coming from South Luzon Expressway from Manila.

Take Calamba Exit then turn left, leading to the road going to Turbina. Go straight ahead until you find a junction (fork). Turn left. From there, you will pass by two more junctions. Turn left every time. Usually, a sign pointing the way to Puregold San Pablo are located at every junction. Follow the sign. You will find Puregold on your right. Turn left where you will find Petron gas station at the junction after Puregold. There is a sign on the road leading you to Sulyap which is on your left. Go straight ahead and there you are at the site. You can view the vicinity map here.

In and around Sampaloc Lake

After we check in and catch a quick rest, we headed to Sampaloc Lake to try out the activities there. You can rent a balsa, a raft made of bamboo that can take you to the middle of the lake near the fish cages. A balsa can be rented for only P150 and is already good for five persons. If you wish to go fishing, like what my sister and her friend did, fishing rods are also available for rent for P50 each. I’m not sure if there’s a time limit for these activities but we stayed there for about two hours. Fishing inside the fish cages is allowed but you have to pay for your catch. Though more time consuming, whatever you catch outside the fish cages is free for you to take home.


Balsa for rent, balsa ride and our impromptu tour guides, Kuya Jun and Kuya Jonathan

If you ever get tired of boating and fishing or just walking around, you can always grab some refreshments here and there. A few restaurants and food stalls line the perimeter of the lake. You can also find a spacious cafe nearby called Cafe Lago. We had snacks at this cafe right before our balsa ride.

cafe lago

Cafe by the lake

For me the ideal time to go boating is before sunset. The view is just amazing. Though it rained that day and the skies were cloudy, the reflection of the mountains in the water was simply beautiful. We were fortunate to be there at the perfect time.

sampalok lake

Sampaloc Lake at sunset

As the night falls, we decided to end our nearly two hours of balsa ride with a dinner at Clydenjosh Grill and Restaurant located right across where our raft docked. The restaurant served Filipino dishes. Prices are relatively competitive, but overall the place was cozy and the food is good. Surely it was a nice way to cap off the night.


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