Lake Bensis: The Secluded Lake in the Mountains of Cebu

Lake Bensis or also known as “Lake Pingganon”, is a lake situated in Brgy. Loay, Toledo Cebu. It is just near the road of the community but it’s secluded enough that you would have to take a look beside the road to see it from above. Well, there are some points of the community where you can see it but on a road standpoint, you can’t see it right away.

Lake bensia

As the local says, it is named Lake Pingganon because this lake is in claimed to be at Sitio Pingganon, Brgy. Sinsin, Cebu. But it is well known as Bensis because of the surrounding structure looks like benches. The lake was a mining pit but was abandoned and turned into a cleaner beautiful lake.

The lake hosts a fishery and managed by a cooperative. Fishing pens are situated at a side of it along with a floating hut which you can see from the campsite. I tried to get into the floating hut but the local didn’t allow me. However, some of my friends were able to get in there. So maybe it depends on the face? hahaha! (just kidding)

I went here twice with my friends and the beauty of the lake still makes me mesmerized. We went from a day hike which started at Sitio Napo, Brgy. Guadalupe when we first visited. It took us 6-7 hours to be at the lake. On the second try, we hailed a motorcycle from Tabunok Market straight to the Lake. It took us 40 minutes to get there from the market but costs us P100 each. This time we camped.

Camping Experience


Photo by: @laagan_warriors

The campsite is not that wide which is elevated beside the lake. However, there’s a bigger space at a top of a nearby hill but I’m not sure if it’s allowed to camp out there. We were lucky that our group was the only campers that weekend.

Nanay, the local who was handling the log book told us that the campers on the previous week were so loud, and drinking a lot and the campsite was so dirty when they went out. She prohibited us from drinking liquor and asked us for a donation to clean up the campsite and the restroom.

It was just a simple camp out with my friends whom I was with during my Mt. Talinis Revenge Climb. We had sumptuous food, friendly talking, a little bit of laughter (we actually had a joke where when someone starts to laugh out loud, someone has to make a gesture like turning a volume down to control the noise haha that was funny)

We drank some brandies and played King’s Cup and we finished our socials at 9 PM. Sounds too early right? Yes, we don’t want to disturb the locals sleeping and resting in the floating hut near the fish pens and from above. We also want to enjoy the serenity of the lake while the stars shined bright. Some of us had they’re catching up talk, while I went inside the tent earlier because I am a sleepyhead.


Swimming at the Lake

Morning has come and we had to prepare our breakfast. The sun was rising and the rays were hitting the campsite quickly. Our plan was to take a dip into the lake and enjoy the good company. It was around 9 AM when we started our swimming. We went far from the fish pens (because it smells bad) and enjoy the water.

Lake bensis

Lake Bensis is crystal clear deep! I could see my feet below but I couldn’t see what’s beneath which is kinda creepy. Since it is fresh water, my body feels heavier and I couldn’t stay longer floating in the middle of the lake.

Luckily, my friends were able to hail the raft from the fish pen (with a tip I guess) and we were able to sail through the lake. One of my friends even brought a lifebuoy so he can enjoy more the lake.

Lake bensis

We didn’t stay too long because of the heat of the sun. We went back to the campsite and broke our camp.

It was past 11 when we exited the Lake. We weren’t able to say goodbye to Nanay (the local who handled the logbook) because they had Sunday Church Service. We went out and looked for motorcycle taxis going back to Tabunok.

How to get there?

Surely, the easiest way to get there is to ride a motorcycle taxi from Tabunok Market (RD Pawnshop). It would cost P80-100 (2 pax per motorcycle) and would take around 40 minutes. Before taking up the ride, make sure you ask the following questions because all drivers tend to ask and take you even they don’t know the destination:

  1. Ask them if they’re from Pingganon
  2. Tell them you will go to Lake Pingganon and drop you off to the Church
  3. Look for a bigger motorcycle (Some parts of the road are elevating and dirty. You don’t want to endure the pain for 40 minutes because of the small space.

You may also hail a motorcycle taxi going back to Tabunok.

The other way is to hike. Since it is just beside the road and can be found in the maps, you can take whatever route you would want. In our case, we started from Sitio Napo, Brgy. Guadalupe then went up to Babag then went left to Bocaue Peak down to Bonbon, went up again to Bitlang, then went through Brgy. Loay and poof to Lake Bensis.

Check out this vlog to see the hike experience to Lake Bensis!

Important Reminders:

  1. There’s no water source available, so please bring enough water for your consumption – drinks and cooking.
  2. Currently, there’s a restroom available inside the church but please clean as you go.
  3. Please practice Leave No Trace especially in the campsite. Do not leave your trashes anywhere. Bring it to your home because the community doesn’t have proper waste management as of this day. They won’t be able to take care of your trashes if you leave them.
  4. During camping, please control your voice especially at night. Remember, there are locals living in the floating hut (near the fish pen) which is just beside the campsite. Please be respectful to the locals and other campers.
  5. Please be careful when you go for a swim. The Lake is very deep and there are no lifeguards available around the lake.
  6. Take NOTHING but pictures.
  7. Kill NOTHING but time.
  8. Leave NOTHING but footprints.

Thank you for being a responsible traveler. 🙂


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