DIY Guide to Mt. Makiling (UPLB Trail)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

rafflesias in the philippines

Weeks have gone since I’ve been on the mountains and I wanted so bad to forest-bathe. After a derailed trip one weekend to visit Mt. Makiling that turned out to just be a “traverse” of Angono to Cubao, my husband and I tried again on the Day of Valor.

But first, the Leave No Trace Principles

Mt. Makiling can be accessed via two trails: the Sto Tomas Trail in Batangas, and the Mariang Makiling Trail in University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna. These two trails can be utilized in a single hike, with entry from Sto. Tomas, known as “MakTrav” or Makiling Traverse. As far as I know, you can’t do it the other way around. You must enter from Batangas. 

You can do a “backtrail” from Batangas while only a backtrail is allowed in the UPLB side.

The Mariang Makiling Trail is located within the College of Forestry in UPLB. It is a lovely, forested trail that are sectioned into “stations”. The trail starts at Station 1 aka the Registration Area. Here, you must write your name on the logbook, leave an ID, and pay a 20-peso registration fee.

mariang makiling trail

It is about 7 kilometers of paved road from here all the way to Station 11 aka Agila Campsite. Early on this path, you’ll see towering century-old Toog trees! You’ll also pass by the jumpoff to the Flatrocks, the picnic grounds of the Makiling Rainforest Park, and the trailhead to the Mudsprings along the way. You may choose to visit these as side trips.
toog tree uplb

Related Adventure: DIY Guide to Nagpatong Rock

Going on foot via the cemented path would take about two hours. This could be taxing as walking on pavement is entirely different than trekking on raw earth. Should you wish not to subject your ankles and knees to such abuse, habal-habals (single motorcycles) are available in Station 1 and also in Station 11 for P100 per head, per way. Biking is also another option (you must bring your own of course).

uplb trail to makiling

From the Agila Campsite (Station 11), the road transitions into an actual forest trail. This part is canopied, flanked with lots of trees and vegetation. The sound of the forests prevalent and pleasant. The trail is mostly rock-strewn, in some parts muddy (but I bet it’ll be all muddy come the wet season), and Tiger limatik lurk in every corner – sometimes where you least expect it. It’s a gradual ascent, with the most difficult assault beginning in Station 22 up to Peak 2 aka Station 30 (which we weren’t able to reach because we were pressed for time). It takes around 2-3 hours to reach the last station.

We might have not gone up all the way, but mountains are not all about summits. The Mariang Makiling Trail itself is already a delight, a reward in itself. A perfect place to get your dose of forest love. Come between March and April, and you’ll get to see Malaboo (R. lagascae aka R. panchoana) – one of the species of Rafflesia that’s endemic to the Philippines.
where to find rafflesia

Update: Came back last June 26, 2019 with Kara, and was able to reach Peak 2! Encountered lots of limatik but had a great time!
mt makiling diy hike

06:00 to 07:00 - Bus from Cubao to Los Baños Crossing Olivarez
07:00 to 07:10 - Jeepney from Crossing Olivarez to Station 1
07:10 to 07:30 - Registration, Prepare for trek
07:30 to 09:30 - Station 1 to Station 11 (Agila Campsite)
09:30 to 11:30 - Agila Campsite to Peak 2
11:30 to 12:30 - Peak 2, Lunch, Photo Op
12:30 to 14:30 - Peak 2 to Agila Campsite
14:30 to 16:30 - Agila Campsite to Station 1
16:30 to 17:00 - Wash-up, Get ID back
17:00 to 17:10 - Jeepney from Waiting Shes to LB Crossing Olivarez
17:10 to 17:30 - Wait for Bus to Cubao
17:30 to 19:00 - Bus from LB Crossing Olivarez to Cubao

HM Transport in EDSA Cubao has daily trips that pass by LB Crossing Olivarez. Signboard says Sta. Cruz. Travel time is 1 to 2 hours depending on traffic. Ask the driver to drop you off at the crossing. Once here, walk to your right to the corner of El Danda St. where jeeps to “Forestry” are waiting for passengers. It’s past Robinsons Town Mall. 

Get off at “Makiling Road”. There’s a sign that indicates it’s the Mariang Makiling Trail. The jeepney ride is only about 10 minutes.

Related Adventure: DIY Guide to Treasure Mountain

You may choose to walk the cemented path, but it’ll take you around 2 hours to reach Agila Campsite. You can just ride a habal-habal to significantly shorten this trip for P100 per head, per way. 

To get back to the Crossing Olivarez, walk or take the habal-habal to Station 1. And then walk down to the waiting shed to wait for jeepneys that will take you back to the Crossing Olivarez. From the latter, there are already buses to Cubao passing by. 

(Per person unless otherwise stated)
Bus Fare Cubao vv LB Crossing - (Php107 Php117x 2) Php214 Php234
Jeepney Fare LB Crossing vv Station 1 - (Php9 x 2) Php18
Registration Fee - Php20 (regular), Php16 (Senior and Student with ID)
Habal-habal Fare Station 1 vv Agila Campsite aka Station 11 - (Php100 x 2) Php200
Total: Php452 Php492

Suggested Budget per person: Php600

- Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- Wear appropriate clothing to avoid injury and wounds, put on some sunscreen too
- Guides are not required. I don’t even think there are guides. Just stay on the road unless you want to do sidetrips to the Flatrocks and the Mudsprings. There are clear markers so don’t worry.
flatrocks mt makiling

- Rest Rooms are available at Station 1 and at the Picnic Grounds in the Rainforest Park. 
- There are also sari-sari stores in the entrance to the park as well as in the Agila Campsite. 
- Mobile reception (Globe) is iffy from Station 11 to Station 21. 
- Guests must be back at Station 1 on or before 4PM. 

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