LAKE BALANAN,SIATON,NEGROS ORIENTAL TRAVEL GUIDE | TIPS + BUDGET
A lot of people ask, where is this Lake Balanan? It doesn’t come to our senses that this enchanted lake is just located on the island situated in the mountains of Negros Oriental.
Thanking YELLOWDOT TRANSPORT for letting us go on-board using their environment-friendly vehicle, well-trained and customer-oriented staff, and for the safe and convenient travel.
In the southern part of Negros Island, there is a beautiful lake resting named Balanan situated in the mountains of Siaton, Negros Oriental. Barangay Balanan, where the lake is situated is pretty much far from the town of Siaton and approximately 60 kms away from the City of Gentle People, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental with an estimated travel time of 2 hours. If you are from Bacolod City, Lake Balanan is 253 km away from the City of Smiles and travel time is up to 5 hours.
According to history, the Sandulot Mountains collapsed due to the 6.8 magnitude earthquake phenomenon that happened in the year 1925 which blocked Balanan river streams that raised a natural dam that soon developed into a lake. Balanan is 285 meters above sea level, having an eight-shaped lake, surrounded by hills and tropical rainforest and century-old dalakit or balete trees.
Lake Balanan offers a wide range of activities including a zip line, kayaking/pedal-boating/triak, and hiking/trekking. In terms of facilities, Balanan has its cozy tree house, comfortable hotel rooms, and a staff house open for overnight lounging, designated picnic and camping areas under acacia trees and other towering trees and conference rooms for daylight use, three fascinating swimming pools, an indigenous nipa-hut inspired floating cottage, a small souvenir shop, and a restaurant that offers a delectable meals ranging from breakfast meals, appetizers, desserts and main courses. As for the safety of every guest, swimming is only applicable to the pool – it is strictly prohibited to swim in the lake because according to the locals, there are electric eels or locally called ‘sili.’ Also, only caretakers are allowed to swim in the lake to avoid accidents. But, you can’t go without feeling the vastness of the lake, you may want to try the floating cottage to explore the mountain breeze and experience the rare serenity of the lake.
Upon reaching Lake Balanan, its atmosphere will enchant you with its freshness and calmness of air that will cure your problematic soul and forget the problems and stress brought to you by your city life. Its tranquillity will surely make you in awe! Imagine, hearing the birds chirping, the serene dancing sound leaves, the river-water rush that tickles your ears, the gentle splash of fresh air on your face and the right-out peacefulness and solitude of the place that will surely melt your heart out. What else could you possibly ask for a vacation?
Lake Balanan will surely leave a tattoo on your hearts. If you want to relax, obtain peace of mind or to savor the beauty of nature and forget the stress and strain of city life, we can affirm that Lake Balanan can soothe your soul without a doubt.
How to get to Lake Balanan?
Using public transport:
Take a bus from Dumaguete to Siaton via Ceres, you can ask the bus conductor to drop you in the Siaton Highway leading Lake Balanan.
Note: You can’t miss this on the highway, there’s a huge street sign that says it will lead you to Lake Balanan (which is 10kms away from that point)
Taking off from the bus, charter a motorbike or locally known as habal-habal. You may also get a pre-arrangement to the habal-habal driver to go back and forth.
Note: a maximum of 5 can fit in the habal-habal
Take a bus routed to Dumaguete Terminal.
Upon arrival in Dumaguete Terminal, you get a bus directed going South and ask the conductor the drop you by along the Highway going to Lake Balanan.
Upon dropping by, charter a habal-habal headed to the lake, and you may also get a pre-arrangement to the driver to get a package of back and forth.
Note: Instructions aforementioned above in the Dumaguete route is the same.
Using private transport:
Whether you are from Cebu or Bacolod, the safest route is to go first in Dumaguete City.
From Dumaguete City, follow the main road going to Siaton.
Upon reaching the town Siaton, be vigilant to look for the street sign along the highway going to Lake Balanan. Since the entrance on going to Lake Balanan is just on the road.
When you’ve seen the street sign, follow where the street sign points and in 10 kilometers ahead, you’ll reach your destination.
Note: Make sure that your car can drive on mountains since the road going up to mountains are so steep and narrow, not to mention the challenge of a bumpy and rocky road. Also, make sure to drive safely especially during rainy seasons.
Lake Balanan is approximately 253 kilometers away from Bacolod City with an estimated travel time of 6 hours using public transport and 4-5 hours using private transport. Starting from the City of Dumaguete, it is approximately 60 kilometers away with an estimated travel time of an hour and a half using a private vehicle and 2 hours using public transport.
Lake Balanan Travel, Estimated Travel Expense | Budget
From Bacolod to Dumaguete:
Air-conditioned bus – Php 380.00 for regulars and Php 304.00 for both senior citizen and student
From Dumaguete to Siaton:
Airconditioned bus – Php 60.00 for regulars and Php 52.00 for both senior citizen and student
Going to Balanan Lake – Php 50.00Total Transportation Expense: Php 490.00 (From Bacolod) and Php 110.00 from Dumaguete City
Total Two-way Transportation Expense: Php 980.00 (From Bacolod) and Php 220.00 from Dumaguete City
Lake Balanan’s restaurant offers a variety of food ranging from breakfast meals, appetizers, snacks, main courses, and deserts.
Breakfast meals: Php 75.00 – 95.00
Appetizers (Pansit, Sotanghon, etc.) – Php 120.00 – 200.00
Snack (Cheese curls, biscuits) – Php 10.00 – 40.00
Main Courses (Tinolang Manok, Isda, Friend Chicken, etc.) – Php 150.00 – 250.00; already good for sharing of two-three persons.
Deserts – Php 50.00 – 100.00
If you tend to go with a partner or triad, you can already dine for lunch with a maximum of Php 250.00. We highly recommend their tinolang manok (bisayang manok), tinolang isda (tangigue) and adobong manok. One order of the main course can already feed two-three persons!! That’s incredibly affordable. Regarding their beverages, they offer fruit juices (natural and processed), fruit shakes and soda.
Gate Fee: Php 50.00 for regular, Php 25.00 for both senior citizen and student
Banca/Baroto – PHP50.00/hour, good for 2 persons
PHP100.00/hour, good for 8 persons
Pedal Boat – PHP100.00/hour
Kayak – PHP150.00/hour
Triak – PHP200.00/hr
Floating Cottage – PHP100.00/hr
Hotel – Big Rooms – PHP4,000.00/day, max 4 pax
(Maximum additional 3 pax)
Small Rooms – PHP1,500.00/day max 3 pax
(Maximum additional 3 pax)
Additional PHP200.00/ pax
Staff House – PHP 2,000.00/day, max 10 pax
(Maximum additional 5 pax)
Additional PHP100.00/ pax
TreeHouse – PHP2,000.00/day, max 6 pax
Picnic Table – PHP30.00 whole day
Camping Fee – PHP150.00/day
Estimated travel expense going Lake Balanan for a day tour trip:
Entrance Fees: 50.00
Food (divided by with partner): 125.00
*budget expenses may vary depending on what activities and facilities you will avail in Balanan*
Lake Balanan Travel Tips
- The place is really magnificent and Instagram-worthy. If you are a social media addict, influencer or even just a user, this place will be a paradise for you since you will be having a lot of entries for your #POTD (Post of the Day) or #OOTD (Outfit of the Day).
Make sure you bring power bank for your cell phones or extra batteries for your camera and other gadgets/devices to ensure that you capture each spectacular and breath-taking work of nature.
Make sure to bring extra outfits for your OOTDs.
The most important thing you have to be prepared though aside from money is food. If you decide to visit the place by the group, you need to ensure that you have some food to munch as you wait for your order and while traveling.
- Food preparation took more than an hour when we ordered since they only have limited staff/cooks.
- If you really do intend to visit Lake Balanan, please make sure to call in Negros Oriental Tourism at (+63 35) 427 0345 to give them a heads up so they can do necessary preparations for your visit.
Visiting without prior notice was a BIG MISTAKE for us, so you better read these tips to avoid such.
- Traveling by partner, triad or quad are preferably to commute or utilize public transport to lessen expenses. If you are going together with your family or in a large group, it is preferred to rent a private vehicle.
- If you are used to city life parties, this might not be the place for you. The area is intended for people who want peacefulness. Tranquillity is the best and prominent feature of the Lake Balanan can offer to its tourists and guests.
- Since the main area is actually a lake and with the ambiance of a mountain resort, you have to bring a lot of mosquito or insect repellent to avoid insect bites. You do not want your beautiful skin to be marked by LOVEBITES (Insect Bites).
- Always obey the rules set by the management to avoid accidents and fortuitous events.
- Concerning regulations set by the management, respect the locals especially their staff!
- Their staffs are so accommodating and friendly, no need to be grumpy about it! Learn basic Bisaya dialects so you can greet or address them properly like:
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good noon – Mayong ugto
Good evening – Mayong Gabi-i
Thank you – Daghang Salamat
- And oh, one last thing, Lake Balanan is a challenging place to visit. So make sure to leave your “HIGH MAINTAINANCE FRIENDS” behind for they will just be a burden to your trip.
Best Time of the Year to Visit Lake Balanan
- Traveling during summer or the dry season will be the best for you! You’ll get to indulge in the fantastic and breathtaking image of the lake during this time of the year.
- The place is surrounded by century-old balete trees and a lot of other trees that bloom during summertime.
- It was just after not so heavy rain when we visited Lake Balanan on the 21st of October, and it made our travel quite challenging due to the muddy and slippery road.
- The rocky and bumpy road though is an add-on adventure.
What to Wear at Lake Balanan
- There are a lot of activities to do in Lake Balanan.
- From Lake Kayaking, Pedal Boating, Swimming, Hiking, Ziplining and of course Photo Shoots for your Instagram-worthy pictures.
- You can bring outfits fit for these activities:
- For Lake Kayaking/ Pedal Boating – We prefer rash guards and nylon type leggings/spandex. The area is a mountain resort type place and is rich with different insects.
- For Swimming- Swimsuit (One or Two-Piece for Girls), and Trunks or Board Shorts for guys.
What to Bring When Visiting Lake Balanan
- Enough Cash
- Underwater or Action Camera
- Power Banks/Extra Batteries
- Insect Repellents
- Selfie Stick/Pod
- Extra Clothes for OOTD
- Dry Bags and ZipLocks
- Extra Plastic Bags for your wet clothes
- First Aid/Medicine Kit
- Fun and Exciting friends! (VERY IMPORTANT- No Kill Joys Allowed)
Bringing of Kids
If you are planning to visit with the whole family, then it would be nice to bring the kids along. However, we have to keep an eye on our kids most of the time for the place is actually steep even for adults to avoid some unforeseen events that might happen. The management will not be held responsible for that is negligence as your obligation to your child.
If you plan to go with friends, it would be best not to bring kids during the visit. Remember to HAVE A LIFE outside your house.
Bringing of Cars
If you are traveling by a group, bringing a car is actually preferable for this may save you a lot in your travel expense. Going to Lake Balanan though Cars, especially big ones, maybe challenging during the wet season or rainy days. Also, make sure that your cars are amenable for mountain climbing for you to be able to reach the destination and not be hassled along the way.
Traveling to Lake Balanan via Habal-Habal
If you are traveling alone, or with a back-packing partner, it would be best to travel via Habal-Habal upon reaching the road going up to the mountain. This will save you a lot of money rather than renting a van or a car.
You can find Habal-Habal Motorcycle drivers at Siaton Main Highway before you enter the road going to Lake Balanan.
Staying Overnight at Lake Balanan
Staying overnight in Lake Balanan is very much possible.
If you are looking for serenity and away from the stressful noise of the city, staying overnight at the resort will be best for you.
Please refer below for the Lake Balanan’s room rates:
- Floating Cottage – PHP100.00/hour
- Hotel – Big Rooms – PHP4,000.00/day, max 4 persons (Maximum additional 3 persons)
- Small Rooms – PHP1,500.00/day max 3 persons (Maximum additional 3 persons), Additional PHP200.00/ pax
- Staff House – PHP 2,000.00/day, maximum of 10 persons (Maximum additional: 5 persons), Additional PHP100.00/ persons
- TreeHouse – PHP2,000.00/day, maximum of 6 persons
Things to be Cautious- Friendly Reminders When Visiting Lake Balanan
- The place is quite steep. So make sure not to wear slippery shoes or footwear. Wear rubber shoes, sandals or slippers.
- Do not overdo SELFIE. You might end up falling directly to the lake end get electrified by electric eels (locally known as SILI) and also, falling in your crushes is okay but make sure to not fall from the cliffs.
- Obey the RULES or GO AGAINST at your own risk.
- They do not have much of an activity/sports activity so make sure to bring something to entertain you just in case you get bored.
- NO INTERNET SIGNAL for both of the biggest mobile network in the Philippines.
- If you have a brand new car, it would be best to leave it on the city proper. The road going to Lake Balanan is rocky and bumpy. You won’t feel inconvenient your newly bought car for this travel.
- Same goes with your OLD CAR, leave it on the city proper (IT MAY NOT SURVIVE THE JOURNEY).
- NO TOXIC FRIENDS ALLOWED. You will definitely not enjoy the visit even how beautiful the place is.
Be a Responsible Tourist
- No Littering
- No Vandalizing
- No Smoking
- No Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages
- No Gambling
- Respect the locals
- Respect the place
Suggestions on How to Improve and Promote Lake Balanan
Generally, as a millennial student, promoting the Lake Balanan would be a little bit easier for us. With the advent of technology and its fast-changing attribute, social media has become the best platform in the promotion of the enchanted, scenic and low-key places like Lake Balanan. Major social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are most likely to promote this sanctuary since there are higher frequencies of users that spend most of the time looking for budget and unique travel places. Through microblogging using this social media application, Lake Balanan can gain potential guests (local and foreign tourists) that will surely flourish the
The place’s profitability and popularity. Some may say, social media can sometimes be deceiving. As a student, who has been to Balanan may also promote the Lake Balanan through our experience within our trip. Our experience will be a great platform in spreading the good things we had about the lake through word of mouth. They say that word of mouth is one of the most significant influencers when it comes to recommending a place to visit rather than what you see on social media. As a student enrolled in the Business in Global Economy, Lake Balanan can feast the eyes of the tourist with its capturing and mesmerizing beauty of greens. Showcasing the world its undiscovered beauty will be a head-start for its success. As mentioned above, social media can be an excellent platform for the place to be known around the globe.
Regarding the day trip, Lake Balanan can cater to huge guests. Lake Balanan’s land area can accommodate a large number of guests because there can be a lot of activities where guests can enjoy, gazebo/huts and picnic area and shady areas they can stay on for q certain number of hours. Also, concerning dining, Lake Balanan can cater to a large number of guests but note that you should inform the management before you go there to avoid long hauls of orders since there are only two cooks in the resort. On the other side of the coin, the overnight stay can just cater only to a small and limited amount in their hotel, staff room, and treehouse.
There could be a lot of potential activities that can be proposed to attract more tourists and guests. Activities such as mountain rock climbing, butterfly garden or a landscaped garden, and an additional hotel or stay-in lounging (if ever there could be progress in the influx of tourists).
Also, the road going uphill, the management can coordinate with the local government in road construction since the most concern of the tourists is the convenience going up in the mountain to witness the scenic beauty of the lake. The quality of food was never an issue for us, but as to the manpower, that can be further improved especially during peak season in which they can hire to meet their customers’ demands. Lake Balanan in its full capacity should ensure its community to hire its 95% manpower from the local community to help preserve the culture and provide employment and livelihood (regarding souvenir items or locally-made food) to the indigenous and local communities living in the area through boosting the domestic tourism.
Also, the management should also strictly enforce their current policies like “No littering,” “No smoking in No smoking designated areas,” “No gambling,” and “No vandalizing.” This should be done to maintain the cleanliness & tranquillity and practice discipline among tourists because going against those rules may pose severe threats to the community and nature itself. Working and helping collectively, both tourists/guests and the management itself, Lake Balanan will be headed in the right direction without risking its natural and picturesque beauty.
A reminder to each individual that will visit the beautiful sanctuary, please be responsible in everything you do. Protect the nature, the biodiversity living in the lake and the area, and the community living nearby.
Don’t miss out on this Instagram-worthy green paradise in the Southern Negros!
A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at Carlos Hilado Memorial State College- Fortune Towne Branch and currently taking up Masters in Business Administration at La Consolacion College – Bacolod. Currently affiliated with the TOP Business Process Outsourcing Company in the Philippines as a Production Team Leader/Supervisor. He’s been awarded as one of the TOP PERFORMING TEAM LEADER OF THE YEAR FOR 2017 and is a CERTIFIED HALL OF FAME AWARDEE at his workplace. He is currently serving as the VICE-CHAIRMAN of MBA Students. He is a social media influencer. He is now starting his own career as a blogger/vlogger on his own Facebook page. You can check him out at @PaygadongSosyal on Facebook or at Paygadong Sosyal on his Youtube Channel.
Geiczar Ross D. Real
A double degree holder with degrees in Business Economics and Operations Management at the University of Saint LaSalle- Bacolod and currently enrolled in La Consolacion College- Bacolod to obtain his Masters in Business Administration. Currently affiliated with the LEADING MICRO-FINANCE INSTITUTION in VISAYAS as part of RESEARCH UNIT. His group was awarded the BEST THESIS OF THE YEAR 2017 for the WHOLE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND ACCOUNTANCY. He was a CONSISTENT DEAN’S LISTER. He is crowned as the REIGNING MR. LCC-B 2018 for Graduate Studies. He is an elected business manager on the graduate studies to serve MBA students. He is an amateur and a starting writer/blogger on his own blog site “The Daily G”, you can check his website using this link: www.ddailyg.wordpress.com.
Gekka Kaye R. Eusebio
Attained TWO DEGREES in College, both in Business Economics and Operations Management at the University of Saint LaSalle- Bacolod and currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration in La Consolacion College- Bacolod. She is part of the LEADING UNIBANK in the Philippines. A consistent Dean’s Lister and an ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARDEE. And the BEST SPEAKER of her DEBATING TEAM in college.
Jholina B. Indac
A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Marketing Management at La Consolacion College- Bacolod. Taking up an MBA at the same school. Currently employed as a releasing staff at one of the most prestige automobile companies known worldwide.
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