Los Baños Laguna Paradise
If a quick getaway from the bustling city is what you need, the small town of Los Baños Laguna should definitely be an option. A Science and Nature City by presidential proclamation, it is both a renowned scientific community and a nature-lover’s paradise. Nestled at around 64 kilometers from Manila, near the foot of the enchanted Mt. Makiling, getting there is not as tedious as going to other tourist destinations outside the metro – an average trip via bus takes only 3-4 hours.
The town is particularly famous for hosting the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and definitely is one of the places to visit when in town. Some of the landmarks in campus are the Oblation, the famed symbol of the entire University of the Philippines, the Pegaraw, a buffalo with wings like that of the Pegasus, and the Fertility Tree, an acacia tree in the middle of the university’s Freedom Park (Lower Grounds) known for harboring people, including lovers, under its protective canopy.
Some of the other landmarks within the UPLB campus are the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters, the Makiling Forest Reserve (MFR), and the Boy Scouts Jamboree site in Mt. Makiling. UPLB is worth exploring throughout most of your stay in town. Veering away from UPLB doesn’t mean Los Baños doesn’t have anything to offer anymore; Tadlac Lake, a small, scenic lake along the coast of Laguna de Bay (a lake itself), was once known for the town’s caiman population which has since been gone. Another locally famous place is Dampalit Falls, located just right after Camp Eldridge and along the road with a DPWH headquarters sign. It is not much known to the general public, so getting there is a 15-minute walk uphill. Some locals have tables that could be rented at an amount, and there is also a 20-peso entrance fee.
Los Baños is the home of the famous buko pie. There are many stores selling buko pie in town, and many of them are located along the main highway and is really accessible. Orient Bakeshop originated the buko pie itself, while other shops are Lety’s and Colette’s, and there are also those that sell it along the road.
The town also has many hot spring resorts, located close to the town’s border with Calamba. This should provide a good chance to get a dip into the water if needed. Splash Mountain, Doña Jovita, and Hillspa, among others, are just some of the places to go.
Los Baños, a small town as it may seem, is full of suprises. Besides international educational institutions, the city has as much adventure to offer. Visiting Los Baños is not only convenient, but also fulfilling.
From Manila, you could go to Los Baños by taking HM Transport or DLTB (from Cubao – Sta. Cruz) and GreenStar (LRT Taft – Sta. Cruz) and get off any point in Los Baños. If going to UPLB, tell the conductor to drop you off at UP College/Olivarez, and there are jeepneys waiting to take you inside campus.
There are a lot of hotels and resorts available if you need to stay the night. Besides the resorts having rooms for rent, the SEARCA Residence Hotel is a good place to stay in-campus.
Dining in Los Baños ranges from small eateries to classy local restaurants and finally the huge, familiar fast food chains we’re familiar with. They are just along Lopez Avenue, the main road leading to UPLB.