University of the Philippines Los Baños top University
The University of the Philippines Los Baños is one of the top universities in the country. Its 1,098-hectare campus, including the 4,000-hectare Makiling Forest Reserve (MFR), is nestled in the towns of Los Baños and Bay. The campus is known for its thick forests and its huge, green grazing lands and experimental fields, the university itself being a leading agricultural and environmental sciences institution in Southeast Asia. UPLB is a part of the town of Los Baños, but the campus is a destination in itself.
In front of the university is the Alumni Heritage Park, known to students as Carabao Park because of the busts of tamaraws in the center of the park, as well as Napoleon Abueva’s A Man and His Carabao. This park is the first thing seen upon entering UPLB; a huge concrete sign in front reads “U.P. LOS BAÑOS”.UPLB’s campus is a mixture of both academic purpose and environmental conservation. Trees line almost every pathway. Jeepneys just go to the periphery of the campus, which makes the campus very walkable and pedestrian-friendly. A famous landmark is the Oblation, the iconic symbol of the whole UP system.
Across Palma Bridge is the civic core of the university, the centerpiece of which is the huge Freedom Park. The famed Fertility Tree, a 100 year-old acacia, is there, and beside it is the Rizal Centenary Carillion Tower. Around 1 kilometer from the main campus is the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI. It has the Rice Museum, Gene bank, and many other laboratories. The Animal Science complex is also worth mentioning. In it, cattle are freely roaming around in closed plots. There is also a place here to buy fresh carabao products such as milk, sausages, and desserts, among others (Philippine Carabao Center) as well as cow products (Dairy Training and Research Institute).
Going up the mountain, Mt. Makiling is the home of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB’s forestry school. It is completely covered with trees, and it is relatively colder there than in the lower campus. Makiling Botanic Gardens is the place to go, and it is one of the many places in campus that are surrounded by nature. The Museum of Natural History is also worth a visit. It contains many specimens of certain organisms.
The main road of the upper campus abruptly ends in small trail, and the trail to Makiling’s Peak 2 (the Summit) begins. It takes around a day to get to Peak 2. Hikers must be careful of leeches as well as wild animals that frequent the area. The university also imposes strict rules on waste disposal, as the whole mountain serves as a laboratory for the College of Forestry. If you don’t want go hiking, you can take a dip at the Flatrocks, huge slabs of rock which were caused by Makiling’s last eruption of more than a thousand years ago. Going up, one can also find the Mudspring, a hole that still boils water to this day. One can boil an egg in this ‘crater’.
This place is teeming with busy students in the weekdays, but it’s also a place to unwind, relax and have a good look at nature. Getting here is by taking buses that go to Sta. Cruz, Laguna, and getting off at UP College. There will be jeepneys that will take you inside the campus. One can stay in the SEARCA Hotel in campus, and even some UP-owned dormitories allow for short-term transient residency.