Have you ever been to a place that is so amazing that you don’t want to share it with anyone and want to keep it a secret forever?
Well, it has happened to me and I have managed to keep it to myself for some time now. But no more. Don’t ask me why the change of heart but *sigh* …here goes.
We had just climbed 150 steps up and another 150 down on a somewhat steep cliff to get here. While catching my breath, I stood looking around. Surrounded by limestone karst and water so transparent that you can see right to the bottom, the climb felt worth it already!
If you are a hardcore traveller, or a serious beach bum, you would know Philippines is one of the places which has world class beaches and some of the most insanely beautiful islands. And it was here that I fell in love, yet again. This time with Kayangan lake.
While relaxing on the platform by the lakeside, I could easily spot groups of the pretty needle fish, proof of how crystal clear the water was. I could also see the limestone formations in the blue green water and it left me in awe.
We had carried our snorkel and mask and while most had already jumped into the water, I was still contemplating whether to get in or not. After all I knew something they didn’t. So at the cost of major eye rolls from everyone, let me tell you the history behind this stunning lake.
This dreamy lake is one of the seven sacred lakes for the indigenous Tagbanua tribe. I read somewhere that for a long time spirits of their ancestors would dwell in this enchanting lake. This lake was inaccessible to tourists for the longest time. Now, for some reason, the Tagbanua tribe, after some rituals managed to transfer all the spirits to the [nearby] Cabugao lake, making this lake accessible to all visitors.
For a person who believes in such things, I was a little apprehensive about swimming in this lake. But to be honest I also enjoy these stories. After all, what is travel without a little history and a sprinkle of myth?
As usual, my curiosity got the better of me and after pushing aside the image of spirits trying to drown me, I took the plunge.
If the view above the water left you in awe, the view below, will take you to another dimension altogether. The moonscape made by the limestone formations is definitely worth holding your breath for, if it hasn’t already been taken away!
Swimming in clear blue waters surrounded by towering lime stone rock formations and underwater stalagmites is an experience by itself.
While I was busy chasing fish and reflecting on nature’s beauty, some of my friends were off exploring the small underwater caves nearby. But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Because the water is so damn clear, the lake appears shallow, which it is not. In fact, the water is very deep that you can actually cliff-dive, something which you cannot afford to miss! Now I can climb, dive and swim but jump? That too, from a cliff?
No. Thank you sir!
I am as pansy as pansy can get. I am terrified of heights and while some of my friends navigated the sharp limestone walls and made the tricky climb to jump into the lake, some of us just sat and watched.
If swimming and jumping isn’t your thing, you can just jump on a rickety raft and paddle your way around the lake and explore! Thankfully there are no ugly motorboats or hoards of tourist with beer bottles to spoil the serenity of this lake.
Just you in the lap of nature. <3
How to get there
Just to give a brief about where this gorgeous place is, Kayangan lake, can be accessed from Coron town, which is part of the Palawan province in Philippines. Apart from the gorgeous beaches, Coron is famous for two things- WWII Wreck Diving and its two lakes- Kayangan and Barracuda.
The boats dock along the bay and you need to hike approximately 150 steps to reach the viewpoint and hike down another flight of stairs to reach the lake itself. It will take you around a short 10 minute hike to reach the lake.