Have you heard about the healing powers of the water in Lake Bababu? The locals of Dinagat Island are proud of what they consider their treasure and while we were trekking, our guide was telling us of stories about people being healed by its miraculous water.
Where is Lake Bababu?
Lake Bababu is a pristine lake located in Basilisa town at the western part of Dinagat Island. It’s the first destination that we went to on our second day in Dinagat Island. Going there, you have to ride a small bangka (motorized ferry) first then trek up and down to this mystical lake.
Dinagat Islands by the way is the Philippines’ 80th province and it used to be part of Surigao del Norte. This island is more well-known as the origin of the healing missionary group Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) founded by the late Ruben Ecleo Sr.
Why is it called Lake Bababu?
The name of the lake came from the Visayan words “baba sa buwaya” or crocodile’s mouth, referring to the shape of Babas Cove, the gateway to the trail going to Bababu Lake. The water here is a mix of fresh and sea water connected by a 700-feet deep cave underneath the lake.
5 things you need to know before going to Lake Bababu
Before you plan on going to Lake Bababu, here are some tips that may come in handy:
1. THE TREK. It was quite an easy to slightly difficult trek going to the lake but you have to wear comfortable footwear because the rocks could get slippery especially after a rainfall. Ropes are tied at the side of the trail so you have something to hold on to. Depending on your skill and speed, the trek may take 30 minutes to 1 hour or more.
2. BRING YOUR SNORKELING GEAR. Lake Bababu is the Philippines’ longest underwater cave that connects to the sea. It has a 20-feet deep freshwater that lies over the much heavier saltwater and they do not mix! Ever. So with that trivia in mind, you’ll sure have a lot to marvel about with what you see using your snorkeling gear. I think you have to coordinate with the local tourism office before you can start a diving expedition.
3. NOT ENOUGH SPACE. The lake doesn’t have built cottages for visitors so people have to cramp at the small rocky space that serves as a “lakeshore”. Just take turns having your photos taken if the space gets a little crowded.
4. WATER & FOLKLORE. The locals of Dinagat Island believe in the healing powers of Lake Bababu’s water. According to local folklore, the boat of a selfish fisherman was once dragged down to the lake’s abyss by a giant barracuda sent by angered nature spirits. No worries, no barracuda appeared when we were there. As the water is believed to have healing powers, you can actually bring back a few samples of the water and drink it.
5. DRONE. If you have a drone, kindly note that there isn’t a strong signal in the area so fly it at your own risk. There was a family who successfully flew their DJI Spark but mine just wouldn’t take off. Pity. I really would’ve wanted to see how it looks from above.The mystery of Lake Bababu was one of the reasons I was so keen on going to Dinagat Island. It was magical and eerie and majestic!
How to go to Lake Bababu
I availed a 2 days 1 night Dinagat tour arranged by a local agency. If you’re going to the province on a private capacity, here’s how:
Unlike Siargao, there are no direct flights from the capital, Manila, to Dinagat Islands.. Your starting point is in Surigao City where ferries are bound to San Jose, the capital of Dinagat Islands. There are daily flights from Manila to Surigao City via Philippine Airline, Cebu Pacific or Air Asia and I suggest you check Skyscanner because you can find the cheapest prices of flights there. I usually book my flights on Skyscanner because they’re reliable and they offer the best deals.
There are no direct ferries going to Dinagat Islands from anywhere in the Philippines so Surigao City is your only starting point. Travel time from Surigao City going to San Jose, Dinagat is approximately one hour and a half.
Senior Citizen/PWD 160.00
Motorcycle P500.00 with Driver
Always check the schedule as they tend to change more often or sometimes, they get cancelled due to bad weather or wind velocity. Here’s an updated schedule of ferries for the Surigao City – Dinagat Islands and Dinagat Islands – Surigao City route:
Take note that the port going to San Jose, Dinagat is located in Boulevard and not in Lipata.
San Jose, Dinagat Islands – Surigao City
6:00 am M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
6:30 am M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS 3
8:30 am M/V VINCE GABRIEL 2
10:15 am M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
11:30 am M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS 3
1:00 pm M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS 4
1:30 pm M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
2:15 pm M/V REISESCHATZ 1
3:30 pm M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
4:30 pm M/V VINCE GABRIEL 2
Surigao City – San Jose, Dinagat Islands
5:30 am M/V VINCE GABRIEL 2
8:30 am M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
9:30 am M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS 3
10:30 am M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
11:45 am M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
12:30 pm M/V REISESCHATZ 1
1:30 pm M/V VINCE GABRIEL 2
3:00 pm M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS 3
4:00 pm M/V REISESCHATZ 1
5:00 pm M/V VIEL’S LINER 1/2
5:30 pm M/V NEWS MPC ISLAND NAVIGATORS
Tour rates and where to stay in Dinagat Islands
You can book a tour at the Dinagat Tourism Office but I booked mine at Jmalls Travel and Tours via Facebook (Contact number: +63917-163-4907). For a 2 days-1 night tour, I paid 2,998 (the price must’ve changed by now) inclusive of lunch and dinner for Day 1, breakfast and lunch for Day 2, 1 night accommodation, all entrance fees, tour guide fee, docking fee, cottage fee, boat service for island hopping and environmental fees.
Other places to go to in Dinagat Islands
As I go along, I will write detailed blogs about the other places that we went to in Dinagat Islands. During our 2 day-tour, we explored Hagakhak Rock Formation, Pangabangan Resort (Blue Lagoon) Bitaog Beach Resort, and PBMA Shrine.
Find Lake Bababu on Google Maps
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