The purpose of our delightfully grueling habal-habal ride to the rain forests of Sibulan was to see the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao. The rain forest surrounding the lakes is a national park and home to various species of trees, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. From Lake Kabalin-an, the twin lakes are about half kilometer away. And making a short descent to the lake by way of flat stones was a welcome change from the challenging riding terrain and brain-numbing habal-habal adventure.
The tranquil Lake Balinsasayao welcomed us with its sparkling waters and majestic mountains. We took a short boat ride across the lake to see its twin, the equally breathtaking Lake Danao (boat ride is 250 pesos for an hour). The lakes are two small but deep crater freshwater lakes rising 1000 feet above sea level and separated by a narrow mountain ridge. The twin lakes are nestled in a hollow between four mountains---Mount Mahungot to the south, Mount Kalbasan to the north, Mount Balinsasayao to the east and Mount Guidabon to the west. Lake Balinsasayao lies on the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast.
On the ridge, there’s a 3-storey tower---a great viewpoint to see the lakes. From the tower, we watched the fog descend from the mountains to the lake---it was an amazing sight. There are cottages at the banks, you can also fish tilapia and other freshwater fish, kayak and trek around the lakes. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed because of the lakes’ depth of 90 meters. A trail around the lake is for those who love to walk. I actually wanted to walk on our way back to Lake Balinsasayao's banks but my knees were like jelly after our habal-habal ride.
The narrow, rocky, winding road took us back to town. The blind curves and slopes still made me nervous but I savored the captivating scenery, the glimpse of the rural, simple lifestyle, the wind and sun on my face, and the craziness of our adventure. At the end of the day, we were exhausted but I marveled at the feeling that I have conquered something.