From the mountains of Valencia, a quick cross over to the mountains of San Jose will reveal the magnificent twin lakes, Balinsasayao and Danao.
If your point of origin is Dumaguete City, it will take about 40-50 minutes to drive here by car or van. The town of San Jose is located about 15-20 minutes away from the city, and the lakes are another 10 kilometers off the main highway.
The road to the lake can be tricky to maneuver, but it isn’t without its fair share of beautiful sights. During the trip, you can enjoy spectacular views overlooking the San Jose town proper, the Tanon Strait, and the island of Cebu.
Upon arrival at the lake area, I had to stop by the local tourism office situated right next to a beautiful man-made lagoon. I had to present an ID as proof of my being a Filipino citizen. This is because the rates for locals are lower than for foreign tourists.
I had to pay PHP30, while the rate for children is PHP15. For foreign nationals, entrance is PHP100 per person. Local tourists who are PWDs, senior citizens, and children below 7 years old may enter for free.
After my payment had been settled, I drove a few meters towards the parking area. Once I had parked and secured my vehicle, I proceeded to the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Restaurant. The restaurant serves meals and snacks, but visitors are also free to bring in picnic meals and snacks as well.
My purpose wasn’t to eat, though, but rather to go out to the restaurant’s balcony, which offers a superb view of the lake. The view was so beautiful that no photo could ever do it justice, no exaggeration.
From here, I started my descent towards the lake. This has to be done on foot, as vehicles are no longer allowed to access this point and beyond. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the hike.
The view at the bottom is out of this world. Small huts scattered around the lake give visitors a comfortable place to sit, rest, and eat. There are boats you can take to cross to Balinsasayao’s twin lake, Danao, on the other side. The boats can fit up to eight persons, and each has its own boat man who doubles as a guide. I honestly would have wanted to paddle myself across, but I wasn’t allowed to.
The guide takes you to a point in the lake where you get off the boat and take a short hike up a hill towards a viewing deck. From here, you can clearly see both lakes on either side. It was a stunning sight, and definitely worth the effort to get there. I was told that, while Lake Balinsasayao is the larger of the two, Lake Danao runs deeper.
Once I had my fill of the view and enough photos to remember the experience by, I returned to my boat. The boatman took me on another quick round of the lake until we returned to the point where we started our tour. Overall, this nature-trip may have taken a little extra effort, but it was well worth it, as natural wonders often prove to be.
If you want to know more about the Dumaguete sights I’ve been fortunate to see, read up on my top places to visit in the city here.
Always remember, travel enriches life. It teaches us to enjoy moments, to say goodbye to stress and embrace joy instead. Experience has taught me this, and I’m happy that I get to share my journeys with you now, too. Anytime you need help and tips finding worry-free, budget-friendly places to see, I’m here to help!