It’s the third and last day of the Motolite IRGP6 held at Carmona Racing Circuit. I wanted to go and watch some hot action on the racetrack but it is probably going to be hotter watching on the sidelines under the blazing sun on that Sunday afternoon. Regardless, I needed to get out and ride somewhere. Somewhere away from this hot, humid air. Somewhere distant but away from all the stress in the city. I remembered seeing a trail going up Mt Makiling in Google Maps before so I thought today’s the best day to explore that part of Los Banos, Laguna.
I got the wrong picture what’s up there.
Los Banos is a municipality in Laguna located 63 kms from Manila bordered by Laguna de Bay (N), Bay (E), Calamba City (NW) and Mt Makiling (S, SW). Mt Makiling is a potentially active volcano that rises 1,090 meters above sea level and is named after the forest fairy Maria Makiling.
Traffic can be terrible in Calamba City and Pansol area so I was thrilled to find much fewer cars on the road on my way to Los Banos. Although, there was this crazy ambulance counter-flowing on my lane. No complaints there, it’s an ambulance after all. What I find stupid is that it’s driving in a real hurry with lights flashing but NO SIREN! Really dangerous!
From the National Highway, I took a turn to Lopez Ave leading to the University of the Philippines Los Banos Campus. Understandably, I needed to secure a visitor’s pass to enter the premises.
I took the road on the left of this BSP monument marked by a welcome arch of The National Arts Center of the Philippines leading to the Pook ni Mariang Makiling (pook pronounced as po-ok is Tagalog for place). I was surprised to realize that it is some sort of a resort rather than a park. Ok, let me explain.
I saw the route up Mt Makiling on Google Maps. On the zoom level I was at that time, that’s the only place of interest that came up and I guess because of some incorrectly tagged pictures, I somehow pictured it as a park with a viewing deck overlooking Laguna. It never occurred to me that someone would really have an Olympic-sized pool at that elevation. So why did I not Google it further back then? Why? Because that would take the fun out of it. And it’s fun if you get surprised like this. Ok so there’s a pool, some huts with tables, a small bridge, more tables, and closed cottages suitable for overnight stay.
I had a short chat with a caretaker and found out that the viewing deck was in fact in the National Arts Theater. For some reason, motorcycles are not allowed to go up the trail. Cars are advised to floor it when going up so it’s probably too steep for a motorcycle to negotiate safely.
I’m not really in the mood for an impromptu hike of 3.2 kms, so I am postponing this till the next quickie ride. Besides, I still have half the trail to cover. Anyone who would like to give a teaser?