Michell and I decided to head up to Twin Lakes Natural Park this past Sunday. I had been there once before (with a British expat named Mark), but this was my sweet little Jelly Bean’s first trip up there. We chose a Sunday because sometimes we have brownouts (scheduled ones lasting from 8-5PM) and it was shaping up to be a scorcher early. And since I had been there once before, we PROBABLY wouldn’t get lost, which is always a plus.
It’s a nice ride through the back roads of Candau-ay (our barnagay/township) and – wanting to pace ourselves (my excuse for being lazy) – we stopped for sodas along the ferry pier in Sibulan, where the RoRo and regular ferry’s do their docking dance all the day long between Negros and Cebu island.
The actual access road to Twin Lakes is one of the high points of the journey, rising 300 meters/ 1000 feet up from the sun-kissed coast. It might not seem like a big elevation gain, but the difference in ambient temperature was soon quite apparent and most welcome.
On access road up to the park.
Took a soda break by pier in Sibulan
Along the way there is a restaurant called Azalea which is basically built into the side of a cliff. Boasting a stunning panorama over one of the valleys leading up into the reservation, it was also the most tastefully decorated restaurant I had seen on the island. We didn’t stay for lunch, but we did stop on the way back down for mango shakes. Oh yeah, sports fans: There’s alwaystime for mango shakes……
The road up to the park is a bit challenging at times, having been washed out by torrential rain floods a number of times. At one point, Michell had to hop off the motorcycle while I bravely negotiated one particularly rough section. Soon, though, we arrived at the Visitors Center where we duly signed in and I paid the 100 peso foreigner fee and she paid her 10 peso Filipino/a fee.
Uh, they figured out I was a foreigner……..
Another kilometer or so and you arrive at a reception/restobar area where we parked our bikes and headed into the resto for a quick snack. Satiated with pineapple juice and crackers we then descended a steep road/trail (which was a bitch on the way back) to the first lake. Lake Balinsasayao is named after a bird who is no longer in residence there do to their particularly tasty saliva (uh, yuck) which is made into the spit delicacy known as birds nest soup.
Picnic area next to restobar.
The water was a bit high in places.
Cool upside down flower bush.
There are little picnic areas strewn along the first lake but we sauntered past them and followed a remarkably well maintained trail that followed the shore of the first lade up and around to the second lake, which is a little more secluded and serene than the first. It was a very relaxing hike accompanied by the mating calls of cicadas and nice, cool breezes that wafted through the jungle canopy. (OK, maybe it wasn’t really a jungle canopy – it just sounds cool.)
Picnic area along trail.
The trail is very well maintained – complete with banisters!
At the second lake there was a small group of students on a biology field trip, some local fisherman gathering little fish, and a German expat named Christian who was good company. Christian and I eventually slid into the refreshing lake and floated about for a bit, extolling the wonders of the Philippines, while Michell chatted/flirted with the Filipino fisherman. Afterwards, we all just kind of sat, sharing idle conversation and just enjoying the beautiful weather and serene surroundings.
Michell out on a big floating log.
The only let down was not seeing any monkeys.
Ah well, there’s always next time.
So, if you ever find yourself on the island of Negros, rent a scooter/motorcycle, pack your bathing suit and towel, and check out Twin Lakes Natural Park. It’s well worth the trip.
You can see the Wikipedia article on Twin Lakes on their site.
I also put up a two part video of our trip on YouTube: