Lake Balinsasayao aka Twin Lakes is one of those places you kind of have to visit while you’re in Dumaguete. It’s up there with Casaroro Falls, Pulangbato Falls and Apo Island as one of the most popular destinations for tourists spending a little or a long while in Negros Oriental. After 8 months living in Dumaguete and 2 failed attempts, we finally made it to Lake Balinsasayao on our third go. Keep reading to find out what took us so long and what we thought of it once we finally got there.
HOW TO GET TOO LAKE BALINSASAYAO & HOW MUCH IS IT?
Lake Balinsasayao is high up in the mountains of Sibulan, just under an hour from Dumaguete City. The best way to get there is via scooter or motorbike, which you can rent for $8 USD a day. If you’re not comfortable driving a scooter, you can rent a car for $40 USD a day.
If you’d rather take the easy and organised way, you can book a tour through Klook for $33 per person which will take you to Lake Balinsasayao and around the highlights of Dumaguete City with your own guide. Other expenses to consider are the $1 entrance fee for locals $2 entrance fee for foreigners and $0.62 parking fee. There’s also the optional $5.18 for boat hire across the lake and $1.50 an hour for kayak rental. Don’t forget to bring small notes, as we had a hard time getting change for 1000 php.
OUR EXPERIENCE AT LAKE BALINSASAYAO TWIN LAKES
The first time we tried going to Lake Balinsasayao it was still closed due to the pandemic. It opened up shortly after so we took another trip up there, but turns out it was closed again because a positive COVID-19 case had lunch there the weekend before so it needed to be disinfected. We finally made it to Lake Balinsasayao on our third attempt! But even that didn’t go to plan.
Zowie hurt her foot the week before and we thought it would be alright to hike down to the lake. We didn’t realise how steep the path was from the carpark to the actual lake, and there was no way her foot was making the journey. This is where we split up – Zowie stayed at the view deck and enjoyed Lake Balinsasayao from afar, while Carson completed the journey. If you’re not much into hiking but still want to enjoy the view, the restaurant/view deck isn’t a bad spot to spend an afternoon.
There are 2 major things you should be aware of before coming to Lake Balinsasayao. The first is that swimming is strictly prohibited in the lake due to it being a major source of water for the city. The second is that you cannot fly a drone anywhere in the park. A while ago someone’s drone was attacked by a bird and unfortunately the bird died and the drone crashed into the lake, so ever since then drones have been banned. And yes, the rules are enforced.
Carson had 2 hours to get down to the lake, take some photos and get back up before closing time at 5pm, so he quickly hiked to the bottom. The path is paved the entire way with stones, but it is pretty steep and mossy. Definitely not possible for someone on crutches.
It’s only around 5 minutes from the view deck to the shore of Lake Balinsasayao, and once you get to the lake you have the option to just hang out there or take a boat to the viewing tower, kayak or hike. Carson decided to hike.
There are a number of beautiful spots along the way to the tower to stop and take in the view of Lake Balinsasayao.
After 30 minutes of walking, you’ll reach the tower. Once you climb to the top, you’ll finally see why it’s called Twin Lakes, as you take in the view of both Lake Balinsasayao and the smaller Lake Danao.
You can then hike down another 5 minutes or so from the bottom of the tower to the shore of Lake Danao. Unfortunately, you can’t swim in Lake Danao either, so it’s really just another chance to take photos.
That was pretty much the entire experience at Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao Twin Lakes. Normally, it’s possible to camp there overnight, but they stopped that during the pandemic. It’s not much of an adventure, but it is a great spot for chill picnics with family or friends.
If you don’t have that much time in Dumaguete and you’re looking for an easy day out in nature, Lake Balinsasayao is a must visit. If you’re looking for adventure and action, there are plenty of nearby waterfalls that we’d recommend instead – just scroll to the bottom for a few suggestions!
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR LAKE BALINSASAYAO
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Swimming with Apo Island Turtles, Dauin
Upper Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Baslay Hot Spring, Dauin
Secret Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin