The legendary, Mt. Makiling, one of the most, if not the most famous mountain in Luzon, has inspired a number of poets, writers and lyricist for a long time. It is a perfect site for hiking even for first timers since trails are from easy to moderate. The place also has picnic grounds where you can camp and enjoy nature with your family even for non-hikers and unfit individuals since vehicles can climb up to this area. Found in the locality of the famous Los Baños Hot Springs and is home to the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Mt. Makiling has three known trails. The first trail, the most popular and frequently used, is the UPLB route through the UPLB College of Forestry, another one is at the Makiling Philippine Art’s Center which you can also access via the university and the third one, the most difficult and unestablished, is the Sto. Tomas trail located at the other side of the mountain, in Sto. Tomas Batangas. The UPLB route has a well-established trail wherein you can even drive your way up three-fourth to the summit. Mt. Makiling is actually an in-active volcano. It has a "mud-spring" park with sulfuric vents, which are located near the picnic grounds. Makiling is the source of Los Baños’ hot springs. Makiling has three peaks, the highest and the usual destination is the Second Peak.
Makiling is one of the most famous mountain in the archipelago and with that comes a lot of folklore and legends about the mountain and the goddess that lives in the mountain, Mariang Maikiling. In fact people living within the towns under the shadow of the mountains has always describe the silhouette of the mountain peak as that of Makiling lying down.
One of the famous stories is about an enchanted woman who lived in the quiet woods at the foot of Mt. Makiling. The people named her Maria Makiling because of where she lived. She was a young and beautiful woman. The beauty abundance and serenity of this enchanted place complimented her rare qualities. She was kind and compassionate to the town people. She shared the full and rich abundance of her enchanted places; fishes in the lake, food and crops, fruits and trees. All were for free. People could borrow from her whatever they need, whatever they wanted. Her kindness was known far and wide. One afternoon, a hunter came by and wandered into her kingdom. When he saw her beauty, he fell in love with her and she too felt the same way for him. They met and talk everyday and promised to love each other forever. Until one day Maria waited for him but he did not come. Maria discovered that he found a real woman and got married. She was very sad and frustrated. She felt deeply hurt and realized that the town people could not be trusted because she was different from them and they were just using her. Forgiving was really difficult. Her sadness and frustration turned into anger that she refused to give fruits to the trees. Animals and birds were no more. Fish no longer abound the lakes. People seldom saw her. It was only during g pale moonlit nights that they sometimes see her.
Another story is about three suitors who intensely battled for the heart of Makiling. One was a Spanish soldier, another, a Spanish-Filipino mestizo and the third, a Filipino farmer named Juan. In the end the Filipino won the heart of Maria Makiling which angered the two other suitor. They have plotted to kill him through a fire that broke down on the garrison, which they blamed against Filipinos including Juan. They shot Juan as punishment and before dying he shouted the name of Maria. Maria went down in the mountain and cursed the two as well as the other men who cannot accept failure in love then she went back in the mountains never to be seen again. The Spanish soldier died during the revolution while the mestizo died of illness. When somebody gets lost in the mountains, people attribute it to the curse on Makiling.
The UPLB is the most popular among the trails. To go there, you can take buses bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Alight at Los Baños Junction. Take a jeep going inside the campus and ask if it will be passing by the College of Forestry. From the College, the trail is the same road vehicles use in going up the mountain. Few meters from the entrance, there is a registration point. Still further is a dry riverbed called "Flat Rocks". At the midpoint, there are some stores, picnic grounds and the trail that goes to Mud Springs. The road-trail continues three-fourths to the summit. At the end of this wide trail is the place called Camp One which is a wide field where you can set up camp. There is an un-established trail prior to Camp One which they used to go to Peak One in the old days. From camp one, an hour hike on a foot-trail will bring you to the highest point, Peak Two. It can accommodate around 10-15 tents. There are also an un-established trails from Peak Two to Peak One and the Sto. Tomas Trail.
The Philippine Art Center can be reached via the UPLB or via the DOST passing by the magnetic hill in Laguna. The Art Center trail can be difficult to follow since it is not as popular and widely used as the UPLB trail. This trail later joins the UPLB trail near Peak Two
|"The Complete Wilderness Traveler is always prepared with adequate clothing, heat conserving survival techniques, and food reserves that require no cooking."
-- Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills