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Riding up Lake Balinsasayao Dec 14, 2010

Riding up Lake Balinsasayao

Location: Lake Balinsasayao, Sibulan, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Lake Balinsasayao
Lake Balinsasayao is actually 2 small lakes nestled on top of the Cuernos de Negros mountain range. The lakes were formed by rain and goes down deep - one diver ran out of rope at 90 meters down without seeing the bottom. Riding up Lake Balinsasayao is by no means a feat for the faint-hearted. It's about 3x harder than our usual Calabnugan loop route. From the jump-off at the shoreline, the winding road shoots up to a dizzying 918 MASL in only 13.6 km.- that is one intense and gruelling climb. Add the sun's heat to the equation and you get a recipe for fatigue and heat stroke.

GPS track from jump-off to Lake Balinsasayao

terrain map to Lake Balinsasayao

Elevation profile of GPS track

profile map of ascent

Benchmark Bike Climbs
The Balinsasayao climb is one worthy for benchmarking. In Sagada, we have one such benchmark that begins in Dantay. Coming from Baguio, it starts where the road forks along the river - straight takes you to Bontoc and left starts the unrelenting ascent to Sagada that takes another 1 hour by jeep. To give you an idea, downhilling it from Sagada takes a whopping 30 solid minutes. A non-stop climb on a bike takes 1.5 hours.

The Ride
After a filling breakfast, Rene and I biked our way to the jump-off. We allowed ourselves 3 hours (including rest) to reach the top. Towards the end, Rene was challenged by the heat and I was challenged by cramps. We had more rest stops than we planned for. Some sections were just too steep and protracted it took the wind out of us. By the time we reached the top, we clocked our ascent at 5 hours! An elite rider climbed it in 1 hour 20 minutes. On the way back, a sweet downhill ride topping 55 km/hr was a sweet dessert.

Ending Thoughts
Whoa! That climb was one for the books and definitely a great way to cap 2010. Now that we have a better idea about the climb, I'm hoping our next attempt can shave us a few minutes (maybe hours?). In the famous words of General MacArthur, "We shall return!"

--- TheLoneRider

Many thanks to Rene for letting me use the Silver Streak bike.

    Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Rates:
  • At the Gate: P10/person, P30/car
  • umbrella cottage: P100/day (donation only for those who will not eat)
  • viewing tower: P100 (to eat and relax), free for viewing only
  • big bangka: P250/hour up to 7 pax
  • double body: P250/hour up to 7 pax (additional P35/person over 7)
  • kayak: P100/hour
  • tour guiding: P300/day (surrounding lake view), P200 if less than a day, P1500/day from Twin Lakes to eco-spots of Valencia
    How to Get There from Dumaguete:
  • take a pedicab (tricycle) and ask to be taken to the jeep or bus terminal going or passing through San Jose
  • tell the jeep/bus driver to drop you off the junction going to the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. This is after you've passed Sibulan proper but before you reach San Jose proper. ~30 minutes
  • from that junction, it's a long uphill road. Hire a motorbike (habal-habal) to take you to the lakes. Make sure to arrange for your return. P100 one-way

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Reader Comments:

"Sino ba ang nag-picture nung nakasakay na kayo sa mga bike nyo?" -- Jethro Manahon
(Jul 1, 2013) That shot was stitched and photoshoped for the motion blur :) Thanks for the kind words.

Jethro Manahon
(Jun 30, 2013) Awesome photos! Sino ba ang nag-picture nung nakasakay na kayo sa mga bike nyo? Idol na tikaw Sir! Hehe.

Michael SlyMichael Sly
(July 17, 2011) Great pics and looks great fun. I'll be in Negros in August 2011 on a MTB...would love to do a ride or two with you. I plan to ride up to the twin lakes also...looks like a good climb:)

Jan BautistaJan Bautista
(Dec 20, 2010) Wow! I dropped by Endong's shop last last week, buti may new stocks na! Found a really cool folding bike for P3,500 lang, pero in cdo! hehe. See u soon!

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