It was a hot Saturday morning and it was a bit raining. Joms and I met at Alabang at 6:30am for our planned hike at Mt. Makiling.
We both graduated at UPLB but we haven’t explored the whole campus yet. UPLB has the bigest land area compared to the other UP Campuses since Mt. Makiling is part of the land area of UPLB. It is composed of the lower campus where most of the of the classes are held and is at the foot of Mt. Makiling, and the upper campus where the Forestry majors conduct their classes. At the back of the College of Forestry, you will find the trail up Mt. Makiling going to Flatrocks, Mud Spring and Peak 2.
From Alabang, we took a bus going to Sta. Cruz. We paid P54 each from Alabang to College Los Baños where the jeepneys going to the campus are found. There are also other ways to go to UPLB but the Sta. Cruz bus is more convenient if you’re from Alabang. There is only one bus that will take you to Sta. Cruz if you are from there, and that is the HM bus but unlike the HM buses that comes from Cubao going to Sta. Cruz, it is not air conditioned but the ride is still comfortable since you will not pass by Metro Manila from there.
We alight the bus at Olivarez Plaza and took a jeepney going to the campus. We told the driver to drop us at the road to infirmary since they don’t go to the upper campus (you need to ask a jeepney if they will go to Forestry since only a few go there). Our hike to the mountain started there.
We arrived at the campus at about 8:30am and we started to walk up. We passed by the University Health Service (Infirmary) and to the College of Forestry and continued until we reached Forestry’s buildings. We also passed by Makiling Botanic Garden along the way. We said that we will go there after going to Mud spring but we decided that it was for our next trip there.
We reached the start of the trail up the mountain after we passed by the College of Forestry’s buildings and the New Foreha dorm. At 9am, we registered and paid P5 each for the environmental fee (i think) at the start of the trail where there is a post wherein every hiker get to sign up and register. We saved the emergency numbers posted there in case we had any emergencies. I also took a picture of the trail in case we needed it. After registering, our trek up Mt. Makiling began.
The signs on the road told us that Flatrocks is about a kilometer away while Mud Spring is about 4 kilometers away and so our hiking adventure began. We started walking up the trail. It was okay since it was only a bit inclined and you could enjoy the trees as you pass by. There were only a few hikers going up when we started our trek. Maybe it was still early at that time. After several minutes, we reached station 3 where the path branches. 300 plus meters is the Flatrocks and you have to go down a narrow path on the side of the mountain.
The path going to Flatrocks was a bit slippery so you really need to wear proper footwear when going there. Also, you need to be careful of the large roots of trees and branches along the way. It was not that difficult to go there since the path there makes it easy for hikers to go down.
After30 minutes of walk from the start of the trail, we arrived at the Flatrocks. There are large boulders there and most of them are flat that you could stand onto (it wasn’t called Flatrocks for no reason). The water flowing from the top of the mountain is blocked by the boulders (that I think came from the top of the mountain and fell during landslides or earthquake) so that only little amount of it is flowing down that area. The water there is cool and we decided to dip our feet to relax for a bit. From afar, you could see that there is a falls where the water from the top of the mountain comes (I couldn’t take a picture since it was really far away) and if you look the other side, I think that there is another falls going down the river that is connected to the river that pass by the lower campus.
It was a peaceful sight there, very close to nature. There are lots of bird sounds you could hear from afar and also, a lot of butterflies are following me. There is one that rested on my knee. It was really cool up there. It was quite disappointing though that some of the visitors leave their trashes there. There are a few trash that was left there. I hope that those people who went there didn’t leave those stuff so that many others could still see that place as it is.
After a few minutes, we decided to continue our trek up the mountain to get to our next destination, the Mud Spring. We went back to where the road branched out a while ago and continued to hike up. It was approximately 4 kilometers up before we reach our next destination. It was sure a long way up so I decided to take some pictures and appreciate the beauty of nature along the way.
At that time, hikers were going up and we were not alone anymore. We passed by small groups of people, also trekking the mountain.
The road up the mountain is not that difficult to hike. There are some areas though that was rocky and you need to find a path so that you don’t get to slip in those rocks. There were also muddy parts since I think because of the dew. The trees along the way provide a shade to the hikers. Also, you breathe in fresh forest air along the way. You could also hear birds and animals from a far. You would also pass by several lizards, spiders and insects along the way. if you’re lucky, you could see some of the birds there.
As you go up the trail, you’ll notice that the soil gets muddy and the air a bit humid. I guess it was because a few sunlight pass through those areas that’s why it was quite wet. I also though that we were getting near Mud Spring that’s why it was like that.
It was a long climb up. We rested several times on the rocks along the way. Our destination was on station 8 of the mountain. After proximately 2 hours of walking, we reached a rest area where there are stores wherein you could buy food and drinks (station 7).
We rested there and bought a buko juice. The juice was really refreshing and we were once again energized to continue our journey going to Mud Spring. We looked at the picture i took a while ago (the trail up Peak 2) and saw that we are near our destination.
Along the way there, we passed by the Picnic area wherein people could gather and have a nice bonding moment while eating. We didn’t get to explore the place since we didn’t go there for a picnic. We continued walking until we reached the camp area where the trail going to the Mud Spring is found. It was a 6 meter walk , as the sign told us going there and so, we started to follow the path going there.
It was just like the trail going to Flatrocks but this time, the path is muddy. The rocks are more slippery this time that’s why you need to be extra careful not to slip on one. We trekked the trail and after a while, we could see a brown river (I think) and we know that we are near our destination.
The Mud Springs is like a small lake. It is acidic, sulfuric and is very very hot. It is because Mt. Makiling is a dormant volcano and hot gasses from he Earth comes out there. You could see that the water is like boiling and vapor is coming up. Before (as others told me), the area is not fenced but now it was. Maybe because lots of people are going there and as safety precaution, they don’t let them near it to avoid accidents. Some say that you could boil eggs there, too bad we couldn’t try it anymore. Also, the hikers that followed us there told us that a long time ago, that was just a small spring but now, it grew larger. The sulfur and acidic water was eating up the soil around it expanding it.
We rested for a while there and when other hikers are arriving there, we decided to trek back down the mountain. We followed the trail back and back to the rest area where we drank buko juice. After a little while, we headed back the trail down. It was much faster than going up. I enjoyed it more.
It rained as we trekked down and the rocks were very slippery. I lipped a couple of times but id didn’t matter. We reached the registration area very wet with sweat and rain and our foot was covered with mud. But it was really fun. We arrived at the College of Forestry at around 1pm. It was a 4 hour trek up and as we’ve seen from the map, the Mud Spring was only halfway up going to Peak 2. No wonder you need a whole day if you want to climb it. But I think I’ll leave that for another day, now, I was quite contented with what I have achieved so far.
We took a jeepney going down the campus since we’re already tired. We went to Raymundo to look for a place to eat. At first, we wanted to eat at BatCave but unfortunately, the place was closed since it was summer. We eat at Ellen’s Fried Chicken instead. I’ve missed their famous fried chicken there. It was my favorite next to Jollibee’s Chicken Joy and it costs only less than P50 per meal. We also rested there before going back to the UPLB campus to see what had changed since we’ve last been there.
We took pictures of the campus and was amazed to see how most of the buildings improved. I was Jom’s tour guide since he graduated earlier than me and I know most of the changes that happened there. Unfortunately, it rained again and we stayed at Coop. We ate snacks there and bought a Choco Milk but was disappointed that it didn’t taste like the one in DTRI but it was still good. After the rain stopped, we went to the other places there. We went to the Carillon Tower, the Fertility Tree, VetMed Dorm and the Freedom Park where we stayed and rested. After almost an hour, we decided to go home but we need to get Irish’s Choco Milk since she told me she wanted to taste it. We took a jeep and went to Anos to buy at a DTRI store there (since we’re not sure if the one in the campus is open at that time). We wanted to buy Buko Pie but the queue was very long and so we decided to go home instead.
It was nice going back to UPLB. I already missed it since it was’t that long since I last visited it. It was also nice to have explored Mt. Makiling since you’re UPLB experience wouldn’t be complete without it. Now, I could say and brag to otheres that I’ve been there. It was never too late to do the things you wanted to do.