TWIN LAKES: BALINSASAYAO, DANAO
Going to a place for the first time is always fun — just like in the recent trip we have in Dumaguete. The city proper is relatively small and laid-back, but Dumaguete offers great and amazing spots which will surely give every traveler an exciting experience. One of the spots we’ve visited recently were Dumaguete’s Twin Lakes: Balinsasayao and Danao.
Located in the mountains of the south-eastern half of 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.
Getting there can be quite a challenge. Along the way, we’ve spotted some travelers taking the Habal-habal (motorbike). Some parts of the road going to the mountain are rocky and undeveloped so am sure it would be bumpy. But if you’re traveling alone or with a partner, I suppose the Habal-Habal is quite a practical choice of transportation.
In our case, we took a private 4-wheel drive car owned by our host in Dumaguete, so that was a comfortable trip for us. But according to our host, resorts and hotels in Dumaguete City also offer a trip to the Twin Lakes.
We headed towards Lake Balinsasayao. Being one of the major tourist attractions in the Dumaguete, 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.
The Twin Lakes show no visible outlets to the sea. Lake Balinsasayao lies to the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast. Due to the limited time we have, we were not able to really explore Lake Danao, instead we just content ourselves enjoying Lake Balinsasayao. The lake seemed to me to be mystical. It looked green and seemed to be very deep. But I still opted to swim for a few minutes. I have spotted some visitors doing fishing and boating. The lake is teeming with fish making it an ideal fishing ground. Some of my friends went trekking, but I didn’t go with them as I love more the water. We went kayaking after a while.
For some who are not really into active activities, doing nothing and just sitting under one of the small huts to enjoy the view and the fresh mountain air will already be enough when you are in Lake Balinsasayao. It’s a wonderful spot also for photo enthusiasts. Unfortunately, what I am sharing with you right now are just photos from my cell phone. Lush tropical greens and vegetation blessed the Twin Lakes. Age-old trees, giant ferns and other exotic plants and orchids are among its natural inhabitants. You can spot the wild rare vines freely cling to the barks of the trees. The Almagica Tree, the tallest tree of the Philippines growing up to 60 meters tall, can still be found here. According to the locals, the Twin Lake area is also the habitat of many rare species like the Japanese Night Heron whose presence in the vicinity was recorded in the 1970s.
There is a canteen selling drinks, bottled water, and light snacks. But we brought our own packed meals for a lunch and just rent a cottage. A small restroom is also available.
How to get to the Twin Lakes
If you are traveling from Dumaguete City, the town of Sibulan is 6 kilometers away and about 20 minutes road travel time. From a certain point, you head up to the mountains, a steep and winding path, until you reach the area for disembarking. Finally, you make a short descent to the lake by way of a man-made stairway made from flat stones. The majestic and serene lake slowly unfolds before your eyes as with the silhouette of the mountains behind it.