Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park
I had my two Swedish friends visiting me here in the Philippines, so I wanted to show them how beautiful the nature can be in Negros Oriental. I decided to take them to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes not far from Dumaguete. We had our own transportation so the ride from Dumaguete went smooth as silk. Every time when I drive up that mountain slope of Mt Talinis I get stunned how beautiful it is.
Behind the visitors center...
Behind the visitors centers we took some stunning pictures. There is this lake which I don't know the name of which is really beautiful. The surface of the lake was like a mirror. After registration and paying the entrance fee we saddle up again and drove for another 10 minutes before we came to Lake Balinsasayao.
Walk or rent a boat
When we arrived at the Lake Balinsasayao I presented the two main options for my friends. Walk or rent a boat. We wanted to go to the watch tower between the two lakes so either we could walk the trail along the shore or rent a boat. But since we all needed a little bit exercise they decided that we would walk the trail. The trail itself is not long, only maybe around 600-700 m to the watch tower.
The watch tower
Our walk to the watch tower went well and took about 20-30 minutes. I was amazed by the fresh air and how quiet it was. We only met a few other visitors here. We stayed for a while and just enjoyed the scenery before we started going back. If you are the sporty type of person, I recommend the trail if not go for the boat.
The video is a compilation of our walk back and forth the watch tower
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park is a natural park surrounding Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao in the province of Negros Oriental, 14.5 km west of Dumaguete. Lakes Balinsasayao and Danao are two small crater lakes separated by a narrow mountain ridge. They are located on the eastern slope of the Talinis mountain range which are volcanic in origin. Lake Balinsasayao has maximum depth of around 90 metres (300 ft). The smaller Lake Danao, on the other hand, has a maximum depth of around 58 metres (190 ft).
The entrance fee to the park is P100 for foreigners and P50 for Filipinos.
A restaurant also
At the Lake Balinsasayao there is a restaurant that offers variety of dishes at an acceptable rate.
To get there:
The far most convenient way is to have your own transportation. Beware of that the road going up the mountain is very steep at some points, means slippery when it's raining. It's possible to drive your own car all the way up there but motorcycle is preferable.
With public transportation you can go by bus or jeepney to the Lalaan junction for Twin Lakes, 7.5 km from the Sibulan town or 13.5 km from Dumaguete. Around P10-15 per person. From the Lalaan junction take a habal habal up the mountain an additional 13 km until you reach the Twin Lakes. You find the drivers at the junction. Standard rate is P300 for a solo passenger and P400 for two back and forth. You will probably need to pay the entrance fee for the driver as well since after registration there is an additional distance to cover before reaching the lake. The driver will wait for you until you like to go back.
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Breakfast before hiking
Before you go hiking you need to eat a real breakfast, right? So this morning Danica went out and bought the breakfast... I usually advised her not to buy so much food, but as usual it was more than we could finish. For just around P100 we got noodles, chicken livers, vegetables, some kind of pork meat, soup and of course the mandatory rice!
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
One of the starting points for the hike is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. We had decided to make a combo, first visit the Tarsier Sanctuary and then do the hike since the hiking trail starts just behind the sanctuary. As usual we were assigned a guide who took us along some narrow trails around the sanctuary. Despite the dense vegetation I was able to spot several of the shy tarsiers and I regretted deeply that I had been lazy and hadn't brought my big camera with me. Grrr...
After tarsiers then hiking
Our main objective this day was the hiking. We easily found the beginning of the trail behind the actual sanctuary but after a couple hundred meters into the rainforest the trail wasn't that that clear to follow. We had been told it was easy to "just follow" but suddenly it didn't feel obvious. Danica was more concerned of the potential "monsters" hiding in the rainforest but I was afraid to get lost.
The rewarding view
Soaked in sweat with empty water bottles we finally came up to the viewing deck one. The view was breathtaking! We had almost a 360 degrees view over Bohol. It was worth all the blood sweat and tears to come here. A perfect spot to take photos from or having a romantic picnic or why not do both! Maybe even stay here overnight to experience the most awesome sunset and the sunrise... in that case I guess I have to convince Danica that there are no monsters hiding in the bushes beneath...
How to get to Corella
It's about 13 km going to Corella from Tagbilaran City.
Via public transport: From Sikatuna Jeepney Terminal, (This is right infront of Island City Mall) get into a jeepney bound to Sikatuna via Corella. This jeepney drops you off at Philippine Tarsier Foundation. Fare is P17.00. Tell the driver of the jeepney that you are headed to Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella. Upon arrival there is a huge signage and rough road, take it and walk for 300 meters to the research building.
Going back, just take a jeepney headed to Tagbilaran. And yes it is safe to hitch hike here. Fare is P15.00 for jeepney.
If you have your own motorcycle it's very easy to go there, just follow Google maps.
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary and the Sikatuna Tree Park
You can start your hike either at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary or at the Sikatuna Tree Park. There are two viewing decks to visit and the hiking trail connects the Tarsier Sanctuary with the Tree Park. Just follow the signs. Viewing deck one is closer to the Tree Park and the viewing deck two is more close the the Tarsier Sanctuary. Hiking from the Tarsier Sanctuary, visiting both viewing decks and end up at the Tree Park should take around 2-4 hours depending on your fitness level.
Comfortable shoes and water
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, it can be very slippery. Bring lot's of water. Plan ahead so you will be out from the rainforest before it gets dark, unless you intend to spend the night there. When it's dark it will be very hard to negotiate the trail.
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is worth a visit
If you begin your hike at the Tarsier Sanctuary you should take the opportunity to visit the sanctuary itself. The entrance fee to the sanctuary is P60. If you just go for the hike, it's free of charge whether you start from the Tarsier Sanctuary or the Tree Park.
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