It’s summer. You are stuck in your office. The air conditioned room cools your body from the summer heat. Outside, you feel the sun burning your skin and wish you were in a beach and applying suntan, but your short weekend break does not allow you for a long travel. Where can you go to relieve the stress and hot summer days?
Then I propose that you go to Los Baños!
Los Baños is a town in Laguna which means “the baths”. It is your nearest exit from the scorching heat of Manila. All you need is two hours of travel and you are on your way to a relaxing summer vacation.
True to its name, Los Baños is full of public springs and resorts lining up its highways. All you have to do is roll down the window of your car, breathe in the fresh air that is so rare in Manila, and call one of the resort caretakers flashing the “private pool” sign. You are on your way to ease that stress! But if you are looking for premium resorts, Los Baños also has Splash Mountain, Monte Vista Resort, Sun City, Libis ng Nayon, and many more which are all promoted by the Department of Tourism. Ooops! Don’t forget! Buy some buko pie before going to your chosen resort. Nothing beats submerging in cool water and eating the famous Los Baños buko pie.
Now, if you had already rejuvenated your worn out soul, why not go to some mountain trekking and explore the wonders of Mount Makiling? By just looking at the panoramic view of this mountain (which looks like a maiden sleeping on its back) will make you marvel of what this mountain holds. And your first stop in this adventure hike is the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.
UPLB is the largest UP Campus because of its upper campus, Forestry, which covers the foot of Mt. Makiling. Stroll around the campus or maybe have a family picnic in Freedom Park while indulging on ice creams, yogurts, kesong puti, and fresh chocolate milks made from DTRI. You could also visit Museum of Natural History and Philippine High School for the Arts located at the top of the campus or camp at night at Jamboree.
For a more adventurous trek, visit the so-called “flat rocks” near the Botanical Garden of UPLB. It is a clump of large flat rocks forming a ruin or cave that excites your exploratory soul. After taking a short break and washing your hands and feet in the river beside the flat rocks, climb up and boil some eggs in mud spring. It is one of the many “mouths” or craters of Mt. Makiling which is really an inactive volcano. The reason for the inactivity of Makiling is that its hot, boiling water runs down to the many hot springs now enjoyed by the locals and tourists.
Now that you have explored Mt. Makiling, enjoyed the cool, fresh air, and marvelled at the huge trees, it is now time to go down the mountain. Try the route called the “Magnetic Hill”. This hill got its name “magnetic” because vehicles are pulled up the hill when their engines are turned off. But not just metals are magnetized by this hill, even water and coconuts are found to be rolling up instead of rolling down. Because of this, locals have explained that the hill is really going down and not up as what the eyes can see.
So after wondering and wandering, maybe now you know where the nearest exit to paradise is. Don’t waste your weekend! Pack up your bags and see you at the paradise that is Los Baños.