13 Best Things To Do In San Pablo City, PH

things to do in san pablo city philippines
Maria Lona
Maria Lona 
Updated
Megan Flores
Endorsed by Local Expert
Megan Flores

Full of luscious greens, this city south of Laguna, Philippines is cradled in the foothills of Mt. Banahaw, Mt. Makiling, and the Sierra Mountain Ranges. With its setting, the temperature within its vicinity is cool and relaxing. San Pablo City is one of the oldest cities in the country, yet remains one of the most sought after places for that relaxing sabbatical. Being the largest city in Laguna in terms of land area, it has various bodies of water, diverse flora and fauna, and other interesting sites of nature that lure one to wander through the City of the Seven Lakes. Read on for the best things to do in San Pablo City, PH.

1. Learn the city's history at Museo ng San Pablo

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Museo ng San Pablo City, Laguna on Friday, February 12, 2016

Located inside the Capitol Compound, Museo ng San Pablo is one of the places where you can discover the city’s rich history. Inside, you will find a wall of San Pablo’s Historical Timeline, items from traditional houses, images of notable people, religious statues and artifacts, and many other displays that showcase the city’s humble beginnings and everything’s that comes after. Paying a visit to this extensive museum is a great way to acquaint yourself with the locals’ way of life.

Museo ng San Pablo

Address: Capitol Compound, Lungsod ng San Pablo, 4000 Laguna

Website: Museo ng San Pablo

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

2. Beat the heat at Vanessa Farm and Nature Spring Resort

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Vanessa FARM and Nature Spring Resort on Monday, March 18, 2019

Going to San Pablo in the summer? Don’t miss out on all the family fun to be had at Vanessa Farm and Nature Spring Resort! This popular tourist spot is the perfect place to fight off the heat with its cold spring water. The resort features springs of varying depths, as well as cottages and barbecue grills all around for guests who wish to cook their own food. This place is not only popular with tourists but is also a go-to for the locals.

Vanessa Farm and Nature Spring Resort

Address: Maharlika Hi-way, San Vicente, San Pablo City

Website: Vanessa Farm and Nature Spring Resort

3. Appreciate art at Museo Ni Cipra II, Parque de Comida

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Museo ni Cipra Foundation, Inc. on Monday, June 27, 2016

For those who are a fan of the arts, a place to go in the city is Museo ni Cipra II, Parque de Comida. This art gallery is owned by its namesake (and artist!) Cipra Kamatoy. The building may be easily missed because of its stark white exterior but the real magic happens inside. Cipra believes that life is boring without art and that she must keep her mind busy by creating. The museum is also home to various food stalls that the foundation has invited to help boost small businesses in the city.

Museo Ni Cipra II, Parque de Comida

Address: Ramos Street, Sabang Road, Brgy. San Lucas I, San Pablo City, 4000 Laguna

Website: Museo Ni Cipra II, Parque de Comida

4. Shop and dine at SM City San Pablo

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by SM City San Pablo on Saturday, June 5, 2021

SM City San Pablo, one of the most popular commercial centers in the city, is where you should go if you’re into shopping. Not only does it carry trendy brands, but it also houses top-notch restaurants like Classic Savory, Bulalo World, Gerry’s Restaurant and Bar, and Gong Cha, among others. Family entertainment is at the core of this attraction, with entertainment centers like SM Cinema and Sportszone Game Center. The mall is also home to various banks like PS Bank and Chinabank.

SM City San Pablo

Address: National Hwy, San Pablo City, 4000 Laguna

Website: SM City San Pablo

Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)

5. Say your prayers at Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit on Wednesday, June 30, 2021

For a quiet day of reflection and prayer, take your family to the Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit. Popularly known as San Pablo Cathedral, this active church celebrates St. Paul’s feast every 15th of January. The cathedral was first built in 1714 and ended in 1721, with a Baroque architecture style. San Pablo Cathedral is the episcopal seat of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo. Hear a mass on Sundays or simply take time to visit and reflect on your day.

Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit

Address: Marcos Paulino Ave, San Pablo City, 4000 Laguna

Website: Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit

6. Stirring moments in the simplest way

Posted by Sampaloc Lake on Friday, 16 October 2015

The largest of the seven lakes in San Pablo, Lake Sampaloc is a broad shallow crater lake formed from an eruption that originally occurred underground when water came in contact with the hot molten lava. With an interesting background, this San Pablo City tourist spot is quite the opposite to its explosive history. If you’re looking for that simple celebration of a life away from the city with your family, this spot is ideal for a memorable escapade that you will remember after you get home. The calm sight of the river and the cool breeze that the place affords adds to that calming atmosphere you have always wanted to have with the whole family.

Some small stores, or sari-sari stores, have bikes available for rent. You can rent a bike for 20 PHP (0.40 USD), which is cheap to rent, but with priceless returns. You can also just enjoy some barbecue with a pleasant view of the lake. Or perhaps, just bring your favorite board games and simply enjoy the moment like all the other locals or tourists around. We don’t really need to spend a lot to have fun. So why don’t you include Lake Sampaloc in your itinerary?

Lake Sampaloc

Address: San Pablo City, Laguna

Website: Lake Sampaloc

Travel tip by Luzon Local Expert - Megan
Posted on: Nov 13, 2019

Sampaloc Lake is entirely walking distance from the city center. Going to and from on foot, you'll pass by some of San Pablo's best establishments including restaurants, cafes, and shops. Just around the lake is an eclectic mix of eateries, from small ihaw-ihaw (grilled street food) stalls to coffee shops (a local favorite is Cafe Lago located right by the lake). Fill up on some classic Pinoy food and grab a hot cup of kapeng barako (coffee from Batangas province) here.

7. Enjoy the view from different locations

Photo by @Ric Opeña #SanPabloTurismo #SanPabloCity Please SHARE Kabayan!

Posted by SAN PABLO CITY on Thursday, 28 April 2016

Apple green, olive green, teal, emerald, parakeet, seaweed, shamrock, or sea foam green, these are just a few of the gripping visions of the shades of green that are common to most untouched areas of mother nature. And you’ll see it all in this part of San Pablo. From among the seven lakes, Lake Pandin and Lake Yambo are the most visited sites. Start with a visit to these places if you don’t know where to go in San Pablo, Laguna.

To reach these lakes, it’s a 2 to 3 hour drive from Manila. You take the bus from Ali Mall Cubao, Buendia, or if you are coming from southern Manila, you can take the bus from the south station in Alabang. The fare is around 98 PHP (1.97 USD) to 127 PHP (2.56 USD). When you reach San Pablo, you can take a jeepney or ride the tricycle. Then you can jump off and take a 10-minute walk to Lake Pandin.

Seeing the rafts, which are of different sizes on the calm and still waters, will cool you down after the trip. Both lakes, divided with a very thin strip of land in between them, offers sightseers a refreshing plunge in its waters or just a natural view for capturing moments on your phone or camera. Maybe you can have a quick escape in the still waters of San Pablo.

Lake Pandin and Lake Yambo

Address: San Pablo City, Laguna

Travel tip by Luzon Local Expert - Megan
Posted on: Nov 13, 2019

Be prepared for a bit of hiking on your way to Lake Pandin (wear comfy shoes!), but once you arrive, you'll be welcomed with incomparable views. This pristine lake is tucked away just a few minutes from the city center, completely accessible by commute. Though it is the closest of the seven lakes (apart from Sampaloc Lake) in distance, you'll never find it overcrowded.  

If you're ready to spend a whole day in the lake, you can rent a raft to go out into the water. Go swimming (don't let its relatively small size fool you--the lake is actually really deep) or just hang out and bask in the sunshine as you float on the lake's emerald waters. Bamboo raft rentals also come with the option of food, where friendly locals will prepare a meal of grilled tilapia fish, ensaladang pako (fern salad), and rice for you. You can also enjoy a delicious halu-halo dessert to cool off. 

8. A view of life in the water

Photo by Aero Llanes #MojicapLake #SanPabloTurismo

Posted by SAN PABLO CITY on Friday, 29 April 2016

Palakpakin, Bonut, and Mohicap Lakes are simply not as attractive if your main aim is to look for the most beautiful site. There’s not much that you can see here, but you can surely learn about the local way of life in San Pablo. Something worth appreciating when you see the floating houses of the settlers, the fish pens, and fish cages, which life of most people in the city depends on. You can see the cultured tilapia and silver carps in these places. As breeding sites for this type of fishes, which are best when fried, you can practically see a tilapia statue in San Pablo City. If you have already eaten fried tilapia, then it’s a privilege to know the place where it’s bred. Grab this opportunity while you are in San Pablo City.

City of the Seven Lakes

Address: San Pablo City, Laguna

9. Chilly moments in Bato Springs

True or FALLS :-)

Posted by Michael Jonas Dalwatan on Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Located at the base of Mt. Banahaw and Mt. San Cristobal, Bato Springs used to be a river. This was then transformed into a spring for swimming, perfect for families who are looking for real fun in the water and to cool down from the scorching summer heat. The water here is very cold and refreshing. When visiting Bato Springs, be sure to bring mosquito repellant, and cover any food your bring. Also, take note of the slippery areas to prevent any possible hindrance to a great summer getaway. Other than that, a delightful escape awaits you in San Pablo.

Bato Springs

Address: 71 Francisco Balagtas Blvd, San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines

Facebook Page: Bato Springs

10. An intriguing piece of Philippine culture

Posted by Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort on Thursday, 20 February 2014

An 800 hectare (1976.84 acre) coconut plantation and an estate has opened its doors as a resort, offering tours to the village and a museum. It is also a great stop for food and a nice accommodation. Owned and founded by Don Plácido Escudero and his wife, Doña Claudia Marasigan, in 1872, this site was originally a sugarcane plantation. Their son, Don Arsenio Escudero, converted the plantation to a coconut plantation in the 1900s. Being a pioneer in the agriculture industry, he built the country’s first working hydroelectric plant, Labasin Dam, to provide energy to his desiccated coconut factory and the Escudero Plantation House, which he and his wife, Doña Rosario Adap, constructed in 1929.

Today, you can take a carabao cart ride, be serenaded with kundiman songs, and get to know the hacienderos (people who have large properties) through the museum. You can also enjoy bamboo rafting, or tasting Filipino foods with a dinner near the waterfalls while watching the splendid performance of the cultural dancers. Get that cultural experience in the rural atmosphere of Villa Escudero.

Villa Escudero

Address: Tiaong, Quezon, Philippines

Website: Villa Escudero

11. See brass sculptures first-hand at Carlito's Workshop

Miniature brass sculpture of three monkeys
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Norbert Nagel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you’re into art and appreciate contemporary musings in expressionism, Carlito’s Workshop is a place not to skip out on when in San Pablo. Carlito Ortega is one of the Philippines renowned modern contemporary artists who is known for his brass sculptures. Make a pit stop at his studio and catch a workshop of the artist himself and see the process behind his beautiful silversmiths. Visitors can also grab a bite to eat after the workshop and take pictures with his masterpieces displayed around the workshop. Make reservations prior to your visit and get the chance to witness first hand Ortega’s superb talent.

Carlito's Workshop

Address: Maharlika Highway, Sta. Ana, San Pablo, Laguna

Opening hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays

Contact: 0919-837-7755, (049) 562-0351

12. Stroll around Dona Leonila Park on the way to Sampaloc Lake

Doña Leonila Park Sign
Source: Photo by user Ramon FVelasquez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When in San Pablo, aside from checking out the local establishments, see the city’s local parks and gardens. On the way to the scenic Sampaloc Lake, be sure to walk around Dona Leonila Park and see the lush greenery of the stunning gardens, and towering trees surrounding the park. This historical place in San Pablo City is a local go-to and hang-out spot on lazy weekend afternoons. The park also has a platform and viewing deck for those who wish to see Sampaloc Lake. Take a few photos and savor San Pablo’s locale in the Dona Leonila Park.

Dona Leonila Park

Address: Dona Leonila Park, San Pablo City, Laguna

Price: free

13. Have one last lunch at Aurora Filipino Cuisine

Take a break from your Laguna road trip and grab lunch at the best authentic Filipino restaurant in San Pablo, Aurora Filipino Cuisine. This local go-to is a family-owned restaurant, managed by Chef Day Salonga and Gel Salonga, the brother and sister chef duo works with Chef Mon Urbano who have transformed their ancestral home into San Pablo’s most visited dining establishments. Their best selling Chicken Wings Adobo hails from a recipe dated as far back in the 1920s, along with Inalamangang Baboy, and Pancit Chami among many other mouth-watering Filipino classics. Get the best of San Pablo’s flavors in your mouth right before heading back to Manila or flying home and experience a symphony of flavors from Aurora Filipino Cuisine.

Aurora Filipino Cuisine

Address: 1488 P. Guevara Street, Santa Cruz, Laguna

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, Mondays to Sundays

Rediscover a life of simplicity

Welcome to San Pablo City
Source: Photo by user Ian Lopez used under CC BY 2.0

The heat of the sun adds up to the pressures we feel during each busy week. So chill out and take the time to enjoy life’s simpler pleasures. It sure is a luxury to have that quiet and cool escape in the City of the Seven Lakes.

Frequently asked questions about things to do in San Pablo City, PH

1. What are the top attractions to visit in San Pablo City?

Some of the most popular attractions in San Pablo City are Lake Sampaloc, Lake Pandin, and Bato Springs. Don’t leave the city without paying a visit to these memorable sites!

2. What are the most popular things to do in San Pablo City for families?

When you’re on a trip to San Pablo with your family, make sure that you swim at Vanessa Farm and Nature Spring Resort, learn the city’s history at Museo ng San Pablo, and explore Lake Pandin.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.
This article has been endorsed by Luzon local expert Megan Flores

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An educator who never believes that a doctorate degree is enough to explore a wonderful world. A mother of three who loves to bake, design and learn new things each day and an adventurer who never...Read more

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