It’s more fun in the Philippines, we say. We have many things to be proud of here. From our rich and storied culture to our God-given natural wonders, we Filipinos have a lot to be thankful for.
In our continuing series of the must-see destinations in the country, we’ll tour you to another hidden treasure of Mindanao: Lake Carolina.
Disclaimer: This trip happened during the last quarter of 2019 — way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
Lake Carolina: A Hidden Treasure of Mindanao
Lake Carolina is located at Baganga, a first class municipality on the east coast of Davao Oriental. It is surrounded by the Davao Gulf and is one of the towns directly facing the Pacific Ocean.
Known for its pristine and white sand beaches and booming agricultural industry, Baganga is now also being slowly put on the modern tourist map, thanks to Lake Carolina.
Like Lake Sebu and Lake Holon — which we already featured here on our Car Rental Davao blog — Lake Carolina also boasts crystal clear and clean freshwater and saltwater. It is also lush in greenery and abundant in tall grasses and trees, making it a perfect asylum for travelers who want a more laid back and relaxing expedition.
Free from any commercial development, locals and tourists can so far enjoy picnicking and canoeing here for a very minimal fee. Swimming is also allowed but do note that no lifeguards are present so you have to be very careful especially since certain parts of the lake are eight feet deep.
Photo: Jeffranz Contantinopia Legurpa
Diving is also common among the locals as I also observed, but this should be done with extreme precautions. I find it dangerous for people to climb the trees and jump straight to the lake without seeing the very sharp and jagged rocks beneath the water. Just imagine how dangerous it could be.
I suggest that before you consider doing this activity, you look for a safe spot. Ask for help from locals, they know the place better than you. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
An entrance fee of P10.00 per person (yes, only P10.00!) is required upon entering Lake Carolina. If you want to stay longer and just chill in the area, there are also cottages available for a minimal fee.
Just last year the Filipino Cave Divers (FCD) — a non-profit group whose primary focus is on “the exploration, survey and subsequent protection of underwater cave systems” in the country — had begun exploring the depth of Lake Carolina. They intend to return for further exploration. Who knows, maybe we haven’t seen the best of Lake Carolina yet.
Travelling right now is prohibited due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean we cannot plan our future trips. Once everything is back to normal, pack up your bags and explore Lake Carolina. I assure you, it’s unlike any of the places you’ve been to. It’s not just any other tourism destination. It’s the pride of Davao Oriental. And it’s a God-send especially to those who want to experience touring but cannot afford to do so.
How to Get to Lake Carolina
It’s not difficult to plan your trip to Lake Carolina. Getting there is easy and you have two options. If you prefer public commuting, you can either take the bus or van bound to Baganga at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal. A trip is scheduled daily, but you have to be there ahead of time to secure a seat. Normally, the estimated travel time for taking public transportation is three to four hours.
Keep in mind that from here you will also be taking a motorcycle or habal-habal ride upon your arrival, and that counts for another two hours of road travel.
There’s another option for you, of course, and that is to rent a car. By choosing this, you will avoid the hassle of lining up to buy a ticket or taking multiple modes of transportation. You will also reach Lake Carolina much easier and faster and you will simply enjoy your time on the road with safety, comfort and ease.
Car Rental Davao has all the units you need and whether it’s for a solo or group trip, we can accommodate you. Sedan, SUV or van — we have all these premium but cheap rental cars available for you. All you have to do is to make the booking prior to your scheduled trip.
Once reservation is confirmed, we can have your chosen unit delivered anywhere in Davao or we can also have it dropped off at the Davao International Airport. For longer car rental terms, we can also arrange special deals for you — just contact us directly and let’s discuss this with you.
And here is good news: The 1st District Engineering Office of the DPWH in February completed the two-lane NRJ Salingcomot Road, the road which leads directly to Lake Carolina. With a paved road, getting there with a car is now easier than ever!
How to contact the Baganga Tourism Office
Nenette L. Esteves
Municipal Tourism Officer
Minicipality of Banganga
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