Lake Bababu Underwater Cave System

(c)Photo: Bob Ong

Located in Brgy. Melgar, Municipality of Basilisa, Province of Dinagat Island, Lake Bababu Underwater Cave is the Philippines’ longest underwater cave to date.

Bababu Lake – the largest of four marine lakes in Basilisa town – is also a unique body of water. Although composed mostly of seawater, it has a 20-foot top layer of rainwater. These two layers of water do not mix because the lake is protected from the wind by towering chalk-white limestone walls draped in riotous foliage. The name of the lake area was derived from the Cebuano words baba sa buwaya or crocodile’s mouth, referring to the shape of Babas Cove, the inlet that funnels to a small white-sand beach where the lake trail begins.

Whether this name came from a crocodile mouth-shaped rock formation or there used to have crocodiles living here is still undetermined. Lake Bababu has an underwater channel connected to the sea, thereby feeding the lake with saltwater from below while fresh water at the top remains uninterrupted.

Lake Bababu is already confirmed as the longest underwater cave in the Philippines; with approximately 2200 feet / 650 meters of exploration line laid. A high coast to the lake adds thrill and excitement to avid adventurers and offers fine views to numerous small caves in great abandon. Greenish vegetation dominates the virginal boundary.

Lake Bababu, Surigao on Pinoy Adventures:
Richard explores saltwater marine life and even pre-historic looking fishes in Lake Bababu. He also finds a halocline where inland fresh water merges with seawater. (Date aired: July 8, 2012)

From Surigao City, board a ferryboat to San Jose. First trip leaves 6:30 AM daily and trip takes roughly about 1.5 hour. Habal-habal motorbikes are the only means of transport around town. Island-hopping tours can be arranged through the tourism office. A full-day tour of Lake Bababu and the islands of Basilisa on an outrigger boat, good for up to 30 persons, costs PHP 3,500 (price negotiable).

San Jose is a comfortable base to explore Dinagat Islands. The Bahay Turista Mini Chalet at the tourism office has accommodation that starts at PHP 500 for double A/C rooms with private toilet and shower. One can walk to the guesthouse (15 minutes) or take a habal-habal motorbike.

There are only a few places to eat in San Jose. Solomon eatery is a good and affordable choice located in the center of town, near the main pier area.