Los Baños… Agriculture, forestry and human development center.
If you’re not a nature lover then you will be if you come to this place. It is indeed a paradise with all the component of nature and progress, they go along together very well. LB as it was popularly known houses all about agriculture and forestry of the Philippines I supposed, other than academics and sciences. The only university here also offers courses which is all about land agriculture and nature development.
LB is a small town located in the heart of Laguna map, it lies in the valley of the mountain which we will talk about later. If I write more of the introduction, then I will get ahead of my point. I’m just excited to share with you what can be done or seen here. But I assured you that it will be fun and exciting here. I recalled that this is the nearest town from our place to have a Jollibee, a local and the biggest fast food chain in the Philippines. It was amazing that we have to travel 30-45 mins to get there and eat. Ok let me just say that the only thing I don’t like about LB is the traffic jam (not the strawberry jam which I like) at Lopez Junction, it’s been happening since forever. I feel that, the government have no other choice to eliminate the issue (or they are really not working). Since my mother or father bring me along or when I learned to travel by myself, heavy traffic has always been around. But let’s proceed with the best things here regarding the food:
Buko Pie… authentic local delight like no other, not comparable to any brand of other place. It’s actually a “coconut meat pie” sweet and tender baked into perfection! I must let you know that before anything else, I’m into promoting local tourism and patronising it’s local products but let me advise you that there are people selling buko pie along the road peddling, I suggest not to buy from them or you will be disappointed. There are stand alone shops along the streets selling this tasty pie and to mention some are Orient, Elvies and Lety’s. The taste has been maintained for good years so that people would enjoy their products. Other than buko pie, they also sell other delectable varieties like Ube, Cassava and Pineapple pies which are also popularly amazing. If you happen to pass by LB from other place while on a bus or jeepney, you can ask the driver to stop you to a shop and they will buy for you in case you don’t want to halt your trip except! Theres a long line of buyers which is very common.
UPLB… this is my favourite destination in LB as it relinquishes stress due to its natural ambiance.The first time I came was an experience, the trees are huge and they are lushly rich with with trunks and branches and as tall as the skies. This place is simple yet full of wonders, it is said that there are fairies here according to folk stories. The forest are enchanted and the main subject is a lady named Maria Makiling who’s taking care of the whole mountain: Mt. Makiling. It’s not as scary as going to so-called haunted house because I know that this place is created by a divine power from heaven. You can refer to some books for other information if you are keen. The campus are composed of many point of interest in itself, you will not run of things to visit here. My personal favourite is the Makiling Botanic Garden, in here you can find the best of flora and fauna of UPLB, this is where I have found the tallest trees and wild orchids. Streams of waters are also within the garden. The second time I came was a bit changed and rearranged because of the previous typhoon that hit Laguna. Some pass through and trails are spoiled because some trees are toppled down by the strong winds. And during that time, maintenance was going on so I supposed that now, its much better as before. Walking along the campus to get to your destination is the ideal time to relax and exercise at the same time. The trees branches will shade your way from the sunshine, and the falling leaves are just right for an amazing photo capturing. And speaking of photos, you can have the campus grounds or the arts center or the museum as the background. 10th Jamboree happened here once as a venue with all the representatives from other nations and because of this, there where also a place to commemorate the said event. If you are such an adventure lover and your stamina is strong, there’s a hiking place for you here too. Camping site are available at the foot of the mountain.
Mt. Makiling is also the source of hot spring of all the surrounding resorts in Calamba and LB. It is a dormant volcano whith no recorded eruption. It’s steams of volcanism are used on it’s geothermal plant in Macban which I have seen. A place with plenty of huge piping along and over the road. You’ll smell the fumes of sulfur, a bit uncomfortable for first timers but very common on residents. The mountain is managed and maintained by the Boy Scout of the Philippines Commission. They keep any unprecedented or illegal activities to keep it as green it is today. Eco tourism is abundantly present here.
Other things… Dampalit falls on the east side of Makiling, Tudlac lake and plenty of hotspring private resorts which you can get for more or less Php4,000 depending on the size and quality of the resort. My advice is that you book early and make a viewing prior so you can foresee how the fun would be. On your trip specially with your private cars, you’ll be greeted with guys showing private pool placards along the main road. You can also ask them for help and don’t forget to give some tips after a transactions.
PS… IRRI … an institute for rice development and promulgation of crops, where the golden rice was born. Its has been the center of rice research of the world. Surprisingly, our neighboring countries in asia has becomes the supplier of our rice in the Philippines like Thailand and Vietnam. I can’t understand what happend to our fields, farmers or the authorities why this is so. But good know know that currently, our agriculture secretary looks very hard working to make the country food sufficient.
You can go and visit UPLB by bus or jeepney, taking buses from Cubao, Manila or Pasay. Tell the conductor to stop you to Caltex gas station. From there you can take a jeepney towards UP campus. I hope you enjoy your trip as I always do.