Monday, March 29, 2010

Makiling's Mudspring, Museum, Jamboree Site

Two weeks ago, I took my 2 sons (ages 11 and 7) on a hiking and nature trip to Mt. Makiling’s Mudspring, about 4.3 km from UPLB’s jump off point from College of Forestry

Prior to the hike, we had sandwiches at McDo in UPLB’s gate, then bought some snacks at Ministop. After paying the minimal P30 total registration fee, we started the hike on forest trail, while marveling at the huge trees with wild orchids, few insects and birds, a large caterpillar and sounds of different birds.

We had 2 rest stops, the second one at the station 5 where a family of coconut vendor sells fresh coconut juice and meat for P10/pc every weekend. The trail is easier to follow as there are signages now, unlike my last hike on the area about 20 years ago. During the hike, we met a lot of local and foreign tourists on their way to or back from Flat Rocks, Mudspring, and Peak 2. Good thing that we did not encountered any snake, limatic or "linta".

Within 2 hours, we reached the not-so-famous Mudspring. It is one of the remaining vents left by the dormant Mt. Makiling volcano. The main crater had grown in size, and another small crater showed up on its upper left side. It now has a fence and warning signage, as a few tourist hikers were killed before when they accidentally fell at the boiling sulfuric mud.

After 15 minutes of watching the mud boil and release steams, we decided to go back and rest a bit while the 2 boys ate cup noodles on a store at the tree nursery area. The hike down took only an hour with some downpours in a summer, proving the micro climate on a rainforest. I thought of showing them the Flat Rocks where anyone could take a dip on a mountain stream, but the 2 boys are already exhausted and the trail might be slippery.

To save time, the boys decided against lunch at Palaisdaan in Bay, Laguna, and chose to have a swim at the Jamboree site instead. On the way down, I realized that we are near the UPLB’s Museum of Natural History, a converted dormitory where I stayed for a year during college. I took them on a short educational tour of the museum for a P40 total entrance fee. We saw live tortoise, preserved figures of birds, insects, fishes, mammals, fetuses of animals, and skeletal remains of a whale from Palawan.

Then, we proceeded to the Jamboree site for a total swimming fee of P100. The cold running water comes from the mountain’s springs without chlorine treatment. The place show signs of neglect especially on the shower areas, but who can complain for the cheap entrance fee? 

Too bad that a large group of students from Univ. of Makati also camped on the area, giving my 2 boys less space for swimming. After an hour, we rinsed and took photos at the Jamboree statue, before driving back home to Binan. Along the way, we have to queue at Orient Buko Pie store to buy a box of their buko pie which is the best I have experienced so far.

How to get to Mt. Makiling thru UPLB :

By Private Car

From Manila, enter SLEX then exit at the last exit. Follow the main road going to Calamba Crossing, then turn right to the corner of road going to Pansol, then Los Banos. Upon reaching the intersection with traffic light at Los Banos (also with Mercury Drug and Jollibee on right side), turn right along that Lopez St. until you reach the gate of UPLB. Turn right upon entering the campus then follow the road and signages leading to College of Forestry or Makiling Botanic Gardens.

By Public Utility Vehicles

Board the Sta. Cruz Laguna buses of JAM and other bus companies in Lawton, Cubao, or Taft-Buendia. You may also board them along their route in EDSA from Cubao southwards. Ask the bus conductor to drop you in “College”, then disembark at the traffic light intersection in Los Banos with Mercury Drug and Jollibee stores. Ride the jeepney going inside UPLB, then board another jeepney going to Forestry using hand signal of pointing your index finger upwards.

If a jeepney stops at you with that hand signal, that means the jeepney’s route is until Forestry. Other hand signals are (1) pointing left is going to IRRI; (2) pointing down means you want to go around the main buildings of the campus; (3) pointing your thumb to the right is going to Faculty that if you go straight will take you to Jamboree site. I hope I did not confuse you, hehe.
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