With the scarcity of scholarly works on the area of governance on lakes in the Philippines, particularly on small lakes, and the recent notable development on the three small lakes in the Laguna de Bay region, this article examines the faces
of governance in Sampaloc Lake, Pandin Lake, and Tadlac Lake. Specifically, it explores the administrative practices and challenges in the formulation of the Master Development Plan (MDP) for each lake. The article contends that the governance of the three lakes is collaborative but centralized, as the community stakeholders are given platform for involvement and actively participates in the initiative, yet the institutional actors make the decisions on the MDP’s timeline, funding, and path forward. It further contends that the move to have an MDP only came about after some successes were achieved by the community stakeholders in each lake, and the Plan’s formulation was steered by the pursuit of ecotourism, which was in turn underpinned by: the determined efforts of the local government unit in Sampaloc Lake, the success of the ecotourism enterprise in Pandin Lake, and the change of leadership in the administrative agency in Tadlac Lake.