Maria Makiling would be the most popular mountain fairy of Philippine mythology. The mountain located between the border of Laguna and Batangas was named after her or it could be that she was named after the mountain. Mt. Makiling rises 1090 MASL and the highest mountain feature over Laguna volcanic field. Now I hike to search a forest goddess.
Unknown to many Mt Makiling is actually a dormant volcano. Though without recorded eruption Mt. Makiling’s Volcanic features are still evident through surrounding hot springs and mud springs. MAKBAN Geothermal Power Plant also operates just South of the mountain.
MakTrav: Makiling Traverse
The hike was really spontaneous, I just saw a friend’s post looking for a MakTrav event on a certain facebook group in which I responded that I want to join since I was longing to hike Mt. Makiling since last month because my slot to an event was not counted. The original plan was to meet each other in a fastfood chain in Buendia but due to traffic they all boarded a bus and I was left alone waiting for more than 10 minutes before I decided to check my phone. A text message instructs me to board the next bus which I hurriedly did. The bus ride was quiet only few are traveling. the night was deep and the roads are almost empty. After around an hour and a half of solitary travel to San Felix, Sto. Tomas Batangas; I finally meet the 6-person group all ready to challenge the one of the most popular mountains to climb near Metro Manila.
The day was young the sun is still hiding in the east and we are still waiting for our guide to lead us traversing the mountain. I still managed to take a nap and then a tap in the shoulder signaled that we are about to begin the awaited trek.
The trail can be easily compared to Mt. Maculot for its rainforest setting. various plants and insects as well as bugs consider the mountain as their haven, but the most notable of them all was the Limatik or blood leeches. Encountering them is somehow scary but they are not really harmful and does inflict little damage unless otherwise they find their way to your eyes then its a different story since it can cause your eyes to be sore but I haven’t heard someone getting blind because of them but for now they haven’t hit first blood to me yet.
Since Mt. Makiling offers a tropical rainforest trail the hike was relatively easy, it was not hot but very humid. Trees offers shade and the grounds are wet which sometimes are very slippery nonetheless it is not dusty roped and laddered segments are actually available throughout the trail.
Personally I really enjoyed this climb most probably because It was only the six of us as we know of who climbed that day from Sipit Trail or atleast we are the first ones for the day which means we got the trail for ourselves. The most picturesque site will be the Haring Bato because it offer a panoramic view of the mountain.
We reached the Summit by noon and as expected much of the climbers came from UP Los Baños via Makiling Trail. Sipit Trail ends and the battle is only halfway; as the saying goes “To climb is optional but to go down is a must”.
Station numbers are falling down and that means we are getting nearer to the end of our trek and before we know it we already arrived at Agila Base where a refreshing treat of young coconuts awaits our thirsted bodies requiring much needed hydration.
Upon reaching the base we decided to take motorcycle ride to finish the last leg of the cement road trail then signed off a registration informing that we did traversed Mt. Makiling safe and sound. As for my search for Maria Makiling comes to an end a silent desire wants me to keep looking for her and I know she is just there watching everyone passing her humble abode. I may not meet her but I meet new friends and for now that is enough.
Buendia to San Felix (Sea Oil)- Php 109.00
San Felix to Sipit Trail Jump-off Point- 70.00 Php/3 persons
UPLB to Los Baños Proper- Php 8.00
Los Baños to Buendia- Php 120.00
Guide Fee is Php 800.00
Bring Alcohol in spray bottles; they are highly effective against Limatik.
I highly recommend wearing rash-guard since they are protection against Limatik, and sharp leaf blades.
This blog primarily expresses my experience, perhaps on my next visit I’ll show more of the said mountain but I urge you to visit Mt. Makiling. Share this to a friend who’s willing and brave to meet the Limatiks who stands as sentinel to the home of Mt. Makiling and maybe you may find the rare Raflessia and add to enchantment of Mt. Makiling.